Grand Canyon 2015 – part 1

Hike the Canyon he said. It’ll be fun he said.

The way the camping works is that you have to book the campsites 4 months in advance.
So I went to work on Jan 1st to book for May. Yeah, turns out I don’t know how to use a fax machine, so the fax did not go through, so we missed out. (It’s 2015, who uses fax machines anymore?)
Right, apply in Feb for June then. Got it! (Note, just to be clear, if we missed this one, I was not going to try again for a few more months since its just too hot in the Canyon over July/August).

To both build some base fitness and to test out our gear, we did a few day hikes around Temecula, started off with short hikes and built it up to a max of 14 miles.
We figured if we can do that sort of mileage comfortably, we should be good for the 10 miles a day we planned to do in the Canyon.

First big mistake was in my rush, I looked up the wrong weather station for the forecast.
I knew the average temps can be high at this time of year, but they can also be pretty reasonable. The station we all were looking at on the kitchen computer showed it would be reasonable.
Yeah, only, as I said, it was the wrong station… so we took an extra layer of clothes for the cool nights we were expecting….. Did not really need those extra 5 pounds, but hey, we had nice pillows…..

So, off we went.

It’s about a 7-8 hour drive to get from Temecula to the Canyon, but we travel well as a family (well, the three of us that were going) and it’s good that Terry can share the driving, so mixing it up gives someone a nap in the back seat and it’s all good.

There is not a lot to see along the way…..

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But we fill in the time talking about nothing of value…. Bit like the view really.

First night was in a motel closeish to the park entrance…. That was the second mistake (please, do me a solid and stop counting them now)…. I thought I booked a hotel closer to the park entrance than the one I actually booked at. So rather than a 5 minute drive to the park, it was more like 45 minutes.

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Thankfully there were some nice ‘critters’ (as Freddy calls them) to look at on the drive in.

Once there, we need to find a park at our exit point and then catch the hiker express bus to the entrance trailhead.
Our plan to do a big horseshoe loop was sound and pretty similar to the one Lloyd took me on last year. I enjoyed it so much with him that it became the foundation for the family hike.
Enough to say that because of the longer drive we missed the last express bus and had to catch the regular shuttle bus line. (Thats mistake 3 for those of you no longer counting).
The reguar bus stops at every. Single. Stop. In the canyon, so rather than taking 12ish minutes, took around half hour.
So, not only are we ‘running late’, but now we are really running late…. Why does it matter? Because the South Kaibab trail is renown for not having any shade and being brutally hot in summer.
(Note, its zero comfort at this, and well, frankly any time, but at this point, we did not know we had been looking at the wrong weather station and had no idea just how hot it was going to be at the bottom of the canyon in just a few hours).

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So there we were, all fresh faced and waiting for the bus….hehehh

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After the long frustrating bus trip, we finally got to our jump point. Last minute gear shuffle, wet down our hats (it was already warming up – at around 7am) and off we go.

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Freddy liked the first bit. Not too many logs (aka, steps), in the shade and the view is fantastic.

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You really need to get into the Canyon to get a feel for it.

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The deeper you get, the more amazing it is.

If you recall last years trip, I took a selfie stick and a GoPro and took way too many photos of me in the Canyon.

Well, this year, the GoPro stayed home and I just used my Note 4 smartphone. It was a bit of a risk since I have not taken any photos with it before we left, I just had to hope that the camera was up to the job.
Still, I just could not leave that selfie stick at home…..

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So there we leave you for now…. Hiking into an ever hot Grand Canyon…….

Click here for part 2.http://thebaldgeek.net/index.php/2016/01/02/grand-canyon-2015-part-2/