Why, yes. Yes, I do still exist.
Like most human beings I know, intimidating tasks are sometimes hard for me to start. This is especially true when said "intimidating task" is a hobby-related task, like this blog. You know, it's a project that I should do because it'll be great once it is done, but I don't really have to do it. Anyway, that's how I felt when I realized that Adam and I took over 200 pictures when we hiked the Grand Canyon back in February (yes, I realize it is August). So, it has seemed like quite the undertaking to cut that down to a reasonable number of photos to post here without going overboard.
Well, here goes nothin....
On Sunday, February 16, 2014 (the day after we hiked Juniper Peak), we drove down to Flagstaff, Arizona. We did a little sight-seeing at Wupatki National Monument, where we walked around 800 year old Pueblo Ruins, but our main objective was to hike as much as the Grand Canyon as we could on President's Day (Monday, February 17, 2014).
|Wupatki Pueblo @ Wupatki National Monument|
|It was a little chillier than my Las Vegas acclimated body was used to|
Okay, here's where I should insert my disclaimer. Given the short days and the extreme elevation that you have to climb to get out of the Canyon, it is STRONGLY recommended that you NOT try to hike all the way to the Colorado River in a single day. Even when the days are longer, it is ill-advised to do this hike in a single day because the temperatures at the river are remarkably warmer than they are at the rim. In fact, throughout the pictures below, you'll notice that I slowly remove articles of clothing on the way down and put them back on as I ascend back to the rim.
Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, I'll tell you that we did hike the 16 miles round-trip to River Resthouse and back to the rim in one day. Yeah, I know... But, in our defense, we hike a lot and we brought quite a bit of food and water and, importantly, we brought our headlamps and spare batteries, in case we ran out of daylight.
In addition, we knew the mileage and elevation at several major landmarks. With this knowledge at our fingerprints (I literally wrote it on a piece of paper from the hotel and carried it in my pocket), we could make a decision when we got to Indian Gardens whether we thought we could make it safely to the river and back up to the rim before dark. The mileage was also good for our morale as we made the trek up the thousands of feet from the canyon floor to the rim.
We quickly trekked past (and through) the first landmarks, including the fun little tunnels. It was chilly during those first few miles and I was wearing every possible layer.
|See that trail on what looks like the bottom of the canyon? Yeah . . . that's not the bottom . . . Not even close . . .|
The hike past Indian Gardens leveled out considerably and the landscape was much more desert-like than the landscape at the Rim. And, it was considerably warmer. I shed my jacket and my long-sleeve.
Originally, we had planned on hiking out to Plateau Point. However, we didn't realize how early we'd arrive at Indian Gardens. With the Colorado River a mere 3 miles away, we couldn't resist. The trail from Indian Gardens to the river, like everything on your way down to the river, was lovely. Although, it was a bit intimidating to look at all those switchbacks and to think about how much "fun" it was going to climb back up them.
I'll spare you the details of the climb back to the rim....they're not that pretty. It involved putting one foot in front of the other and a little bit of cursing. There were some spectacular views though....I'll let the images do the talking (because most of the ascent was a blur of exhaustion and dreams of junior bacon cheeseburgers from Wendy's).
I can't wait to update the blog with all the adventures I've had since Grand Canyon. There are a lot of them and each had more incredible sights than the last!!!