Tuesday, April 26, 2016

First Half of our Hike Down the Grand Canyon

This is the beginning of our Grand Canyon hike.  I should give a little background history on this.  We first made a trip out west as a family in 2007.  That was when I first looked into the depths of the Grand Canyon, in person.  So much to see, so vast, so immense, so overwhelming.  I was in no shape to even hike down the trail to the first switchback, so I was content to just look out over the rim.  But secretly, starting at that point in time, I have always wondered what it would be like to see the Canyon from the bottom, to see what all of this looked like, looking up instead of looking down.  That became a secret goal of mine, although I always wondered if I would be able to complete it in reality.  I think I mentioned it, in passing, to a few friends back then, but never really talked about it.  Fast forward to last year, Jackson and I were walking on the Greenway, here in Morganton and I mentioned my dream to him.  He encouraged me and really made me believe that it was possible.  So all of our plans started after that walk.  And we have been training for this day ever since, training and planning.  

So here we are at the South Kaibab trailhead, probably around 8:30-9:00 AM on Tuesday April 12.  It was chilly so I had several layers of clothing on, and  pack full of water, snacks and accessories to keep my feet in shape (tape, moleskin, band aids etc). I have hiked enough to have a reasonable assessment of what my feet might need.

The above pictures are on our way down, just the initial descent.  The following pictures are from Ooh Ah Point.  This is where our guide starting really feeling ill.  Which in turn dragged our day out.  He started vomiting behind some rocks, then spent time on the satellite phone contacting the company and trying to arrange a replacement.  So we spent about 30 minutes here waiting.  I can't blame him for being sick, but it does get your spirits down when you are all ready to go and have to stop so close to the beginning, so far from the destination.

At this point we have reached Cedar Ridge, which is only about 1 1/2 miles into our hike down.  Our guide was still feeling ill.  And after contacting his company a second time, we were informed that we would be waiting here for two additional hours for a replacement guide.  So we waited at Cedar Ridge for about two hours and twenty minutes in total.  Another bust.  I just wanted to keep hiking, I was feeling good and the temperatures were creeping up.  These pictures are at Cedar Ridge.  Oh I guess I should mention that there are no water stops on South Kaibab Trail.  So all we had was what we carried.

Phil had the foresight to bring a deck of cards, so we occupied much of our time playing cards.  YAY for Phil!!

Awesome views all around! So different from the top.

Here you can see some of the trail we will be on as we descend.

Dallen spent his extra time reading.  I think he completed two books on the round trip.

The pictures below are from our lunch stop, Skeleton Point.  Awesome view, of course Phil sits as close to the edge as possible.  We met up with our second guide here, so we spent a little time here talking and eating before continuing on.  

In the photo above you can just barely see the Colorado River, yeah, we still have a long way to go.

A raven waiting for scraps of food.

I am going to divide up our descent here, just so many photos to share.  But here you can see more of the trail down.  More switchbacks, and out in the bright sunshine.  It was getting hot by this point in time.  It always looked, to me, like the next section of trail was so far off, like it would take hours to get there.  But the decent is steep so it really didn't take as long as I thought it should.


LaDonn said...

Pam, this is awesome. I love your pictures and your commentary. What a great thing to do as a family. We were at the canyon many years ago when our kids were pretty young, but through your blog I feel like I was there again. Thank you for sharing!

Pam Genant said...

I am glad you are enjoying the pictures, and thanks for reading my blog. Have a wonderful day! ~Pam