Grand Canyon

Trip Start Jan 06, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday, April 21st

When we got to the Grand Canyon it took us a little while to get to our camp site. I don't know if you know this but the Grand Canyon is almost 200 miles long.  The welcome gate to the canyon was 26 miles away from our camp site, which meant even though we were technically there we had a ways to go still.  We finally made it to our site and realized we had about half an hour before the sunset and started to get really excited about the idea of seeing it over the rim of the canyon.  If you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon, you know that there are shuttles that can take you everywhere.  We had to take the blue shuttle to the visitor’s center behind which sat Mather’s Point which is a really good place to view the sunset.  We got off the shuttle with less than 10 minutes until sunset and the race to get to the point was on.  Our bus driver told us the point was directly behind the visitor’s center and we got off the bus with a family of four heading that way as well.  I don’t know who’s to blame (but I’m pretty sure we set out to follow them) but somehow we got to the wrong side of the visitor’s center and ended up having to race back to the other side to get to the point.  No worries, after running through some trails, jumping some rocks and dodging some people we made it.  It was a fantastic view.  I believe I took a million pictures, most of them the same thing; I just couldn’t stop snapping away. 

Friday April 22nd

Jared, Shannon and I woke early today to try and catch the sun rise and then hike the canyon.  I miss set my alarm for 3:30 instead of 4:30 (the sun was scheduled to rise at 5:47 as if you can schedule a sunrise).  The 3:30 alarm woke the whole RV up and then we tried to sleep for another hour before actually getting up.  This process just made me cranky.  Haha.  We got up at 4:30 and after a slow start we headed on the blue bus to the visitor’s center to get the orange bus to Yaki point which the brochure said was one of the top places to see the sun rise.  We were really holding strong to that 5:47 time line and it was a little touch and go whether we’d make it in time, or whether we’d have a wasted effort.  We made it just as the sun was coming over the cliffs and the view was spectacular.  After taking another boat load of pictures, we moved on to the South Kaibab Trailhead to hike the canyon. 

We had met people at the Carlsbad Caverns who warned us that all hikes down in to the canyon are way easier on the way down then the way back up.  We figured that we would hike down until we wanted to stop and then turn around and head back up. They don’t recommend hiking all the way to the bottom and back up in one day since it takes so long and is a lot harder to get back up then you realize on the way down. We took our time getting down, stopping for many photo opportunities. A nice lady took a picture of the three of us at the OOH AHH point which was about 0.9 miles down. We then continued on our way to the Cedar Ridge stop that was 1.5 miles down. Parts were pretty steep on the way down so we decided that we didn’t need to head down any further. It took us about an hour to get down to the Cedar Ridge spot. We decided to hike out to the edge of the canyon at this location and have a snack. We also figured why not have a cigar break since how many times will you get to smoke a cigar in the Grand Canyon. We hung out for a while relaxing and then began our journey back up. The information given to us estimated that the 3 mile roundtrip hike to Cedar Ridge and back would take about 2-4 hours. We figured that since it took us an hour to get down it would take us at least an hour and half to get back up, since this is the much harder part of the hike. Surprisingly we made it back up in 45 minutes. One lady on her way down told us we had a good pace going and apparently she was correct. We did have to stop and rest a couple of times on the way up but like I said we still made it up in 45 minutes. I was very impressed with us. On our way up we also learned some hiking etiquette from a fellow hiker.  He was waiting at one point for all of us to pass and on my way by I said thank you.  He informed me that he should wait out of the way because we are the ones doing all the work on the way up, so the people on the way down shouldn’t get in our way. I totally agree with him since it was kind of annoying to have to move around people coming down when we were all out of breath on our way up. So on future hikes we will keep that in mind.

After finishing up with our hike we caught the orange bus back to the visitor’s center. We called dad while we are on our way to see where him and mom were. He informed me that they were to the left of where we watched the sunset the night before and that he had climbed out on the rock he saw a guy on the night before. Luckily he talked to me about this guy the night before so I knew exactly where he was. We made our way over and we all climbed out on the rock again for some pictures. We were all very impressed with dad’s climbing skills especially since he was recently informed that he needs a knee replacement. He is waiting on the knee replacement until it gets really bad though. This trip probably didn’t help anything. After climbing back up to where mom was sitting we continued to walk the rim trail. This was a really nice flat paved trail, which is good for mom and dad and their bad knees. (Mom has already been told she will need knee replacements too. We refer to her knees as the bad one and the shot one.)  We did however climb out on some more rocks and this time mom came with us. We got some great pictures of mom and dad out on the rocks with the canyon in the background. After walking for a while longer Shannon, mom and I decided that we were ready to head back for a nap. Jared and dad decided to walk on further because Jared wanted to check out the lodge and houses closer to the west rim of the canyon. Us ladies had a fantastic nap while they were out for a couple more hours.

We decided to play some games in the afternoon after everyone was back. Dad killed us all in Uno and I won in the game of Life.  After games we had mountain pies for dinner.  Mom, dad and Shannon have never had them before. The pizza ones went over great as did the dessert ones. We all ate tons of them and had some drinks. We had our awning and light set up and were the life of the campground. All the people around us wanted to come chat with us. Luckily dad loves to chat.
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