Our morning in our luxurious Las Vegas hotel grew longer and longer, as did our desire to never eat again after indulging (as most do in one way or other in this city) in a breakfast buffet. We finally got on the road and drove to the Grand Canyon. After a great deal of repacking in a pizza parking lot , we entered the park. With the alarm clock set to a very early hour, we could not bear to actually pitch our tent. We really did make the jeep our home and went to sleep watching the classic movie, Titanic, to get us pumped for our hike. The next morning we rose and invaded a lovely lodge set up for those people "less hardcore" than us and attempted to freshen up and fill the 12 gallons (maybe an exaggeration, but, parents, we were overly cautious about the water warning) of Nalgenes
. We set off all excited from parking lot E and took the two buses to our trailhead. The amazing difference about this hike was that the reward, the view, was at the beginning and the end. The experience of seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time is unable to be put into words. You realize all the years you have seen pictures they also were unable to share the natural wonder's size, beauty, and awe. We hiked from the south rim via the south kaibab trail. The Canyon changes with the sun along the trail. As we went deeper and deeper the canyon greeted us with unique land formations and vibrant rocks shining in the afternoon sun against the red earth. The trail steeply and quickly plunged into the canyon and had us thanking the Lord we were descending on this trail composed mainly of closely arranged steps. We found ourselves near the bottom where we were rewarded with the sight and sound of the Colorado River. We settled in to our campsite at about one and spent the afternoon reading and sleeping along the river with our feet dangling in its cold water. It is amazing from campground to campground the vibe that is received from its host and inhabitants. This place was full of the more serious hikers and those eager to learn quickly invited us to the bat program. The class was led by a very excited Ranger with not only zeal for life, but for the bats. After the "informative meeting" the ranger handed out backlights and we searched for scorpions. Their exoskeletons glow neon green when exposed to the special lights
. It was freighting how many we found. In the Canyon, there was no need for the rain fly on our tent and we slept with the most amazing sky draped over us. The 5:00 morning came fast and we repacked and headed out in record time. We hoped to dodge the intense heat of midday. Our hike out would be longer, but less strenuous. The path leads us quickly over the river using our headlamps. It was invigorating to walk across the rapids in the dark surrounded by the seemingly empty canyon. We made amazing time in the first half of the hike, but we slowed with the sun and the endless switchbacks on the second half. We were blessed by a day hiker that shared dried pineapple and a laugh. We made friends through the shared pain with people from all over the world. One couple waited for us at the top to see us finish. We were overjoyed to be finished and talked of nothing else but ice cream, because that is what you get if you hike the whole way (right Mr. Howard?). We again loaded the park bus transportation, but had to apologize for our smell this time. Ice cream became a reality and we drove to Prescott, Arizona where we would spend the next couple of days. Gretchen's mom, Joey's, brother and their lovely family lives there. We were welcomed and had a wonderful and restful time there.
The Grand Canyon finally came. Our whole trip has been determined by this location, this date to hike the grandest canyon of them all. How many people have we told about our time line and the adventure that had us at light speed? We are not sure. Was it worth it? Good question.