Back from the Grand Canyon!!!
Trip Start May 23, 2009
8Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon
South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon
We left for the Grand Canyon from Tucson around 10 am in order to pick up Tim at the airport at noonish.... and somehow made it on time. I'm still not certain how that happened considering how slowly dad drives. Then drove around Pheonix Airport for about an hour trying to find the rental company place without accidentally returning the car (believe me, that's harder than it sounds...) in order to add Tim as an additional driver. The car required stuff to be loaded on the roof BEFORE Tim was even picked up... imagine how it was after. So, with all of us crammed into a Ford Explorer, we headed off towards the Grand Canyon. We ate at "Western Spaghetti: Great Italian Food" (dubious) where we were served by a cowboy-dressed server and surrounded by Italian versions of Western movie posters (rather surreal). Anyhow, after some "Italian" food, we all went back and struggled with packs for a bit, arguing generally about whose packs are heavier, etc etc, then bed.
Wake up at 4 am, throw everything in the car (dad was about to just throw the duffels on top without even tieing them down until I pointed out that it would last all of 5 minutes) and head out to the South Kaibab trail head. After much concern about whether or not our car would get towed where it was and much grumbling about who was taking too long and whatnot, we finally headed down the trail as the sun was rising, making it to the first plateau by about 6.45. The trail was made of basically red dirt and logs to prevent errosion, but they were placed ever so slightly too far apart, making pseudo stairs that were just a little less than 2 human steps apart. add to that that many mules had been down the trail before us, causing what amounted to half-pseudo-stairs (a pseudo stair inside a set of pseudo stairs denoted by the logs) in some areas. Overall it was rather annoying, not to mention wearing on all joints involved, leading to the flair up of mom's old ACL injury and my MCL to become slightly loose (aka I think I might have harmed some connective tissue in there), leading to the gradual diminishing of pace the farther along we went. We finally made it to the campground at around 11 am (check it: 6 hours! not bad).
At the campground there was much fuss and bother about which campground we were supposed to have versus which one we wanted. The original reservation was that we would have 10 people in our group, but as it ended up we only had 6. The 10 people=we needed a group site, but for 6 people you need only one of the regular sites. As such, we first set up at one of the regular sites, then took it down and moved to another regular site, and then finally set up at a group site. The rangers caused a bit of a fuss among the group: we were trying to find an alternative route to get mom out, because of her knee (we worried that the climb out would cause a very serious injury), but there was no way to get her out on a mule, boat, etc. So after food cookage, Ibuprofin takage, and stream soakage, pole buyage, etc we all headed off to sleep.
Wake up the next morning, 4 am again, after nightmares of ringtail cats, pack up and head up the bright angel trail. This trail fakes you out for about the first 2 miles, where you go up for a little bit and then back down so that you lose all the altitude you gain. It started raining about halfway up, which was a nice relief from the constant heat (even though it got cooler as we went up). We made it all the way up to the 1.5 mile point before Keith, Tim and I broke off and basically double-timed it to make it to the top then go and get the car to pick up the rest of the group at the trail head. We then went back into town for the most welcomed pizzas we've ever tasted, then headed on to Flagstaff, where we promptly jumped in the jacuzzi, filthy clothes and all (boy the hotel staff lovvveeedd us). Recuperated with the option of sleeping until noon, but didn't actually end up sleeping past 9 am (even dad... something about the fact that we were used to waking up at 4 am...).
An addendum to the hat story: when we loaded up our packs, it turned out that the back of our necks weren't even visible with all the crap that we were carrying, so we tried to take them back. After all that, they weren't returnable.
Anyways, instead of weaving in the pictures, I'm just going to upload all of them (there are like 77 of them) and let you guys work out what goes with what part of the story. (I'm tired, it's 3 am here.)