Monday, August 15, 2011

Hiking the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim

Or: Why I haven't been quilting for a couple weeks. 

Anyone who reads Pedal Faster, don't bother...this is the same stuff as over there

It all started with an airport debacle that wasn't properly documented. We waited on this curb for probably 20 minutes while we were on the phone with our ride yelling "no WE're at the right terminal!" Turns out we were in the drop off only lane, and they were in the pick up only lane...which was across the airport and much less busy. Possibly because of a power-tripping crossing guard who made sure we knew we were not as important as the 300 or so cabs he let by first. Hmph. 

Eventually, we made it to camp. No pics of the ride because I slept through 90% of it. Actually, there are pictures of that. Aren't I precious?
Thanks for that, Devin.
Apparently, while I was sleeping the apocalypse happened. I might've been awake for this actually...there was some discussion of why we were driving directly into what looked like a tornado. No such luck. My vacations are so boring.
Finally, we made it to the North Rim campground and set up camp. I'm taking pictures to document the trip while Nick's working.
Devin thought the pay phones were quaint and hilarious.
Natch, we saw the edge of the canyon and walked towards it. Why wouldn't you?
It was seriously dizzying being that close to the edge.
Just a preview.
Hey look, I'm reasonably photogenic when you can't see my face full on! Nice!
Keeping it classy at camp, drinking a Fat Tire for my homies.
I was very worried for that sandwich's well-being.
Boys making fire. Sort of.
Hanging out at camp. 
All packed up and ready to roll.
The before shot, when we're all smiles.
First couple shot!
There was a lot of this.
We came down that! And we weren't even a third of the way down!
No perspective on this makes it look smaller than it was.
There, you see that black blob at the bottom? That's Devin, who's about 6 feet tall.
Being the slow kid, I wound up with a lot of "this will look epic in a montage" butt shots of the boys.
Devin was behind me some of the time.
Definitely not a tourist.
Made it to our first camp!
And Devin felt like 7 miles with 40 lbs on his back wasn't enough of a workout.
Then the apocalypse.
The water is colder than it looks, but it felt so gooood.
The park services had put big rocks (not these, other ones) in place to make a little swimming hole. It wasn't deep, but it was wet and cold so we jumped in and cooled off for a while. Wonderful.
Then we made like literate lizards and read by the pool.
Think of it as nature's ice bath.
There were a ton of these crazy caterpillars, and they kept dropping from trees onto our tent. It was weird.
And thus ends day 1.

Day 2 was supposed to be the "easy" day with a flat 7 miles. It was actually really nice...we got to camp in about 4 hours and were in the shade most of the time. 
Starting out the day right...with pasty legs and unflattering shorts. Yeewoozah.
Sunrise in the canyon is a dramatic event.
Nick, clearly a morning person. Is this owling?
Woah, river crossing!
There was a side hike (immediately after "Asinine Hill") to Ribbon Falls, which was spectacular.
The rock was hollow on the inside. I think it wasn't eroded so much as formed...bizarre.
From behind the falls.
Wider shot.
Artsy water shot (Devin's handiwork).
Candid couple shot, courtesy of Devin.
Foraging on the way back.
Action shot!
Closer to camp than we thought!
Happy couple!
Then suddenly...this. much for roughing it I guess. This is Phantom Ranch, where the slackers sit on their high horses down into the canyon and then dine in air conditioning and tell people they've been to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
It's rough being at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, but someone has to do it.
I feel like this needs to be made into a charicature.
Possibly this one too. Aren't I...special? Also, that orange thing is my poncho. We left all our food in ammo boxes (seriously) to go take a dip in the river and when I came back a squirrel had eaten THROUGH that poncho because it was sitting on the (sealed) box! Those canyon squirrels are no joke.
Oh look, there's one now!
Nick is unconcerned. Those white things are the boxes we had to use to keep critters out of our jerky. No joke, folks.
Seriously, the heat hit him the hardest I think.
Overlooking Willy Wonka's death river (aka, the Mighty Colorado).
This was pretty much the afternoon. It was 124 in the sun and 108 in the shade. And 75 in the river.
Seriously, it was hot. And at the bottom of the canyon we were still nearly 30 times higher than at home.
It was like a little hot tub, but the opposite.
Here's the view from our private pool.
At 8 o'clock, they let us lower class citizens into the fine dining hall, and we had ourselves a beer.
I tried to get in on the picture, but succeeded not so much. Best mule Tecate in history though. 
This kid and the faces he makes because he thinks I'll take fewer pictures...
Couple shadow!
Willy Wonka's river of death in the morning light. Still terrifying.
No big deal, just some epic scenery.
5 miles into the hike and we're at Indian Gardens. That thermometer read 70 when we got there and by the time we left it was above half an hour. Frightening.
That's the trail we hiked up!
This. Is not funny. With 40 lbs on our backs and over 5000 feet to climb, this might as well have read "you're going to die".
Preparing for the death march.
I bonked HARD mid climb, and couldn't keep my body temp in check. Nick was kind enough to get my goofy hat wet so I could keep my head a little cooler (and look more awesome, duh).
It was seriously gorgeous. We ended up resting every 10 feet or so because we were all bonking hard and getting really winded from the altitude change (seriously), which meant we got to enjoy the epicness of what we'd just done.
The clouds made for some really dramatic shadows.
There was a shocking amount of greenery on the trail. I just didn't expect that at all.
I mean really! Who'd want to grow here!
We did not avoid the mules at all. In fact, most of the way back up was covered in mule excrement.
The trail away from one of the water stops.
Seriously, who's sexier than me on a backpacking trip, huh? No one, that's who. Giselle, eat your heart out.
First "holy crap, we were just down there" moment.
Dev's good with a camera.
Almost there!
Seriously, it was practically paved on the last bit.
Shockingly, no hand rails.
Made it!!

1 comment:

Wendy said...

So, THAT'S where you've been!
Jealous! ...only, kinda. =-)
Looks like it was awesome in many ways.