Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Grand Canyon

Well, we went.

We left early Friday morning and drove down to the Grand Canyon North Rim. It was a pretty long drive. We met up with most of my family, some of my cousins, my uncle (who was leading the hike), and a bunch of people from his ward. There were 38? total hikers.

We stayed in the cabin-things at the North Rim...and got up to meet everyone at 4:30 am* for breakfast and then to start the hike. We were divided into groups for the hike, and my uncle gave someone from each group a walkie-talkie radio thing so that we would all be able to communicate. The groups became really fluid, though, because everyone hiked at different speeds.
J and I hiked together for the whole thing. At various times we hiked with a bunch of other people--my youngest brother (10), a group of teenagers (including my 16 and 14? year-old bros, a cousin, and the cousin's friend), my youngest sister and one of my bro-in-laws, Jess and my dad, my cousin who is older than me, his mom, my uncle leading the hike, my mom. J had some problems with one of his legs, so we had to take it slow. My youngest brother had short legs, so he had to take it even slower.

(Dad, me, Jess, J, and my cousin's friend; at the rest stop before Cottonwood Something, which was like 6? miles into the hike.)

The hike was 24 miles long, which is Very Long. J and I finally finished at 1:40 am on Sunday. I did really well until about mile 21 or 22. By then it was 11:30 or so, and past my bedtime, plus I was exhausted. We started taking a lot of breaks. But they were short breaks, anyway. We eventually made it out. We were the penultimate group out. My mom, her sister, and her brother (leading the hike), plus my little bro were the last group. They got out at like 2:30 am.

(Me with J; at Phantom Ranch! Which is this camping place at the bottom of the Canyon, on the South Rim side. It's neat though, because it has a store. And good bathrooms. We met up with a bunch of our people here.)

I want to forget Arizona exists. I don't even want to read anything about the Grand Canyon again. For the past couple days Jess and J and I have been So Sore. We hobbled in to a gas station for the bathroom, hobbled in for fast food, and J and I hobbled yesterday at his parents' Memorial Day BBQ, and hobbled when we went to get the chicken coop. We look handicapped. Seriously. We look super awkward. Stairs are way too intense for us. Thankfully, I'm feeling a little better today. Hopefully my billions of tiny tears in my calves will repair and become super-amazing muscles.
(In front of a sign saying don't try going all the way back down and back up because you'll probably die. Me dying.)

Aside from making me hate life, the GC hike was interesting. I think we all sort of thought the Grand Canyon was like, desert. Not so! There are several different like, eco-systems in the Grand Canyon. At the North Rim, the GC seemed like a forest. At the South Rim it was desert. For the flat part at the bottom, a river ran down the middle. It was pretty. There were a lot of pretty rocks. And pretty land formations.

Hiking from rim-to-rim in less than a day seemed super-intense to us, but there are actually people who do really fancy things-- J and I were by ourselves when we got to the first fork in out trail (towards the bottom of the North Rim) and we didn't know which way to go. Sooo, we stood there for a minute and waited for a guy who was coming from one of the opposite directions. We told him where we were trying to go, and he pulled out his map and helped us out. So he headed up the North Rim, and we headed down... AND THEN! many hours later, when we were starting up the South Rim, he passed us in our direction! I told my mom and my uncle that he had helped us earlier in the day, and he was going the other direction. He explained that he was doing a rim-to-rim-to-rim: he had started at 2 am from the South Rim, he went to the North Rim, and then all the way back to the South Rim again. Holy smokes! That would be a 48 mile hike! In one day! He finished way before us, too. He said he was looking forward to getting home to bed.

I guess other people run from rim-to-rim, too. They do it in like 4-5 hours. (!!!)

We met other amazing people, too. Like this one guy was doing a rim-to-rim and he was 85 years old.

Anyway. We're glad to be done.
(At the trail head on the South Rim. The end of our hike. I gave this hike two thumbs down. Don't I look like a great hiker, though? Notice: headlamp, hiking pole, hiking shoes, CamelBak, light jacket.)

My cousin took a ton of pictures** so he probably has some better ones than I do and I haven't gotten them yet, but I wanted to post a few anyway.

[Also: Paley missed me. Maybe she has abandonment issues because she was left at the shelter before. When I got home, she purred very loudly and meowed a whole lot, while purring. She wants to be with me constantly, and is very very cuddly. I think she stopped eating while I was gone, because she had food left over. Poor cat. Our California trip is going to be even longer.]

*4:30 is one of those hours that you should know exists only in theory, and never because you actually have to be awake for it.

** like, thousands, I'm pretty sure.


MamaErin said...

Emily, I applaud you for hiking the Grand Canyon. I thought I was a tough cookie for hiking a 10-ish mile hike round trip in Colorado (Horse Tooth Peak) a few years ago... and came out very sore from it. I could NEVER imagine doing a hike of that magnitude. One day I would like to hike PART of the Grand Canyon. Because if I did the whole 24 (26?) mile hike that you just described... I really WOULD die.

And when did your brothers get to be so old?! I remember the day Brandon was born!

Emily said...

Erin - Thanks! It was long. And about my brothers--I know! Supposedly Jason is starting to drive. What? And Brandon is hilarious. He's in 5th grade. He uses the word "technically" a lot and it cracks me up.