Blogs with photos will ensue at some stage.
Blogs with photos will ensue at some stage.
At very late notice, Lloyd, the guy from work that took me into the Canyon for the very first time all those years back, had to bail his trip of a life time (you have to book 2 years in advance). At such late notice, his fully paid trip was non-refundable, so he asked if I wanted to be him for 8 days.
There is zero signal of pretty much every kind at water level of the Colorado River, so I will be out of the loop for about 8-9 days.
This page here is the best description of the mob I am going with and about the trip, if you only look at one thing, flick through this page;
This page has a lot of the nitty-gritty about the trip prep and stuff;
I have a few blog posts on auto pilot, so you will not miss me at all.
I got rained out.
Home after 2 days rather than the planed 4.
Hey, I still hiked 28 miles of the Canyon, pretty sure I am going to lose both big toenails. Exciting stuff….
On the upside, the trip report will be quicker to write…..
Super busy at work.
Busy at home getting our water filter/softener sorted.
How busy? I forget the last time I had a nice cool refreshing glass of Vodka.
Yeah, I know, woe is me.
But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel…. In a few days I take off 4 days for hiking in the Grand Canyon!
Back on Jan 1st, I was up at midnight faxing my hiking application to the National Parks Service.
Broken hearted when it was rejected…. No space they said… I had applied for 2 people in the usual (aka popular) campsites.
Not to be deterred, I had 2 weeks to reapply, so I grabbed a map and planned out a solo trip….. Since I was on my own, I could go a little further, a little deeper and forgo a few comforts…. No staying on the beaten path, no staying at the usual camp ground….. So I did.
Yah! I was accepted this time around.
So. We have the usual training at Opto today, which I teach. Then tomorrow is a half day for me. Around lunch time I will head off and drive 7.5 hours to the small town Tusayan just outside of the Canyon. We have a motel room reserved.
Up at o’dark thirty the next morning and hike in. In my (slightly) overweight backpack I have everything that we will need (hopefully) to keep myself alive for the next 4 days…. Oh, and some camera gear… of course….
It will be very different going solo this year, my first time doing this. It means that I have to have everything in the one pack. Last year, we could split it all three ways.
Oh, and I will have you all know that I have been watching the weather for the correct location like a hawk. Super excited (and VERY relieved) to say that the weather is looking almost perfect. Hot and clear (there might be some clouds some days – hope they clear as I want to take some astro photos).
Anyway, sorry the blog has been bumping along the bottom for a while now. Got a head full of stuff that I just can’t figure out myself, so really can’t blog about any of it…. It is so full it is just crowding out everything else. Hopefully 4 days in the Canyon will bring some peace and quiet.
[And yeah Matt W. I hear ya, I will do my best to blog about said adventure in less than a year this time around!].
While Freddy was doing better with my bigger sized hiking boots, the heat and miles from the previous few days had taken a toll, the plan was for me to go on ahead, Terry and Freddy would just go at her pace, I would drop my pack off at the car, go back down and carry hers out of the Canyon for whatever distance remained.
As planned, we got up super early (and were were not the first ones to get up and get going, seems most of the campsite had the same idea), packed what was left of camp (we packed what we could the night before) and headed off around 4:30am.
The first thing of note you come to is the south bridge over the Colorado River.
The phone struggled in the pre-dawn light, but here we are…. Freddy does not like bridges….
Terry was doing a great job helping Freddy. This is just one of the few small creeks that flow down in the many canyons.
The views are really different going up the valley compared to the South Kibab trail.
There is more water, more shade, and it is just well, very different.
Even though I was heading up as quick as I could, I still grabbed a photo or two. It is just an amazing place. So humbling due to its size and timelessness, you feel so small and insignificant it is wonderful.
We had packed about as much of Freddy’s pack into mine as we could, so it was heavy going, but I love the feeling of exertion, the feeling of the air getting thinner the higher you go so really did not mind. The hike out goes from around 2500 feet to 6800 feet. It is pretty solid climb!
As we got closer to the top, the number of people really started to ramp up.
It was both annoying since most of them did not know that that the uphill hiker has the right of way and bemusing since a lot of them were not dressed to be as far into the canyon as they were…. It was downhill for them at this point and very few people feel any effort walking downhill.
So there they are in their skin tight jeans in high heels with makeup and perfume to the max, laughing and carrying on, having totally no clue that they are at 6000 feet and the air is real thin. As soon as they turn around and have to walk uphill, things were going to get really breathless for them!!!
Even more sobering is coming apon the guy that was laying down with a few National Parks guys giving some pretty serious first aid to him and arranging via their radios an air lift out for him…. There was nothing I could do to be helpful, so we pressed on.
At the car, I had a quick refuel with some non-hiking food (mmmm, real food), swapped some clothing layers and headed back down without my pack.
Before long, I met two familiar faces, grabbed Freddy’s pack and grabbed a photo.
Here we are again really close to the top.
Even with no pack you can see a tiny hint of, ahh, effort in Freddy’s face. Use that to try and imagine how much people were struggling to hike up after their giggling downhill goof off.
[Side Note: The National Parks people do a great job. You can not stop people from going down, so they just have to manage to pick up the bits. A job that I really would not be very good at with all my excellent people skills and all. To be a little fair, some random people stopped to ask me how much further it was to such-and-such look out or so. I was happy to explain it to them – the rest of them were just ticking me off big time!].
So there you have it.
One last look at the view from the top. You can clearly see the trail we had hiked up that morning.
We pretty much used everything we carried. The extra layer of clothes (to keep warm) were clearly not needed, but were used as a clothing change, just to feel a little better.
The jet boil stove is fantastic.
We never used the water filter.
We ate all the food we took.
Here is the last of the Strava pace notes.
It is a really good climb out. You can see the double dip I did when we went back a ways to get Freddy’s pack.
My milage for the whole trip was pretty much spot on 40 miles, 63 clicks. It worked out to be pretty much spot on 10 per day.
Terry did around 30, and Freddy 20.
No question that my heat training in the months leading up to the hike paid off. Big time.
Freddy said she would do it again if we could take 5 days and stop in more places that are closer together (ie, not so many miles each day).
Hike the Canyon he said, it will be fun he said…. And it sorta was.