Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Trip to the Grand Canyon

So as you know from my previous post, I went to the Grand Canyon to celebrate the bachelorness of Brad who is getting married in September. He had several choices of party locations which included Vegas, a cruise, and the Grand Canyon. Brad chose the Grand Canyon so he could have a grand time (sorry). Allow me to say we came, we saw, we conquered.

The first day (Friday May 29) was spent gathering supplies and driving:

View Directions to Grand Canyon Unified District (Grand Canyon National Park Headquarters) in a larger map
That night we stayed at the Fairfield Inn in Williams, AZ. The next morning we gathered our gear (we had packs, tents, sleeping bags, tons of food and water, etc) and began our venture towards the GC.

Apparently you need to make reservations for a camp site months in advance. We didn't, so that means we had to show up the day of and try to get a site. We were all pretty nervous about such an event. Because the touristy trails fill up quickly. So quickly in fact that there were at least 50 people in there (the permit acquiring place) trying to get a camp site for September! We had to get a number and wait in line and hope that everyone in front of us was trying for a Sept spot.

After some finagling we got ourselves a camp site. During the wait I read various posters they had about Canyon safety which included:
1. A girl who ran the Boston Marathon who died in the canyon. Apparently it isn't smart to go in there with a liter of water, a powerbar, and an apple in the middle of July during over 100 degree days. It also isn't smart to assume a trail is 15 miles when in fact it is 27 miles. Just some things to keep in mind.
2. Did you know dilution is the solution? It is when it comes to peeing in a river. Pee in the Colorado, not in little creeks.
3. You can also enjoy the view while you pooh! I always thought poo was spelt sans h, but apparently in the grand canyon people poop little cute bears who like honey. Just saying.
We assumed the worst situations (really hot temperatures) and so we each brought nearly a gallon of water for the hike, which is perfectly fine because I don't want to die before I complete the Boston Marathon. I'd also like to run the NY one too (not really). We also bought the all-important trail map for... $10! What a rip-off! Of course after paying for this item the ranger helping us said that the mileages on the map weren't very accurate. Great investment!

Here is a free version of the trail map for you all to see. I marked where we hiked, just follow the mile markers around to follow my path. There are several things you should know about the map:
1. It isn't as flat as it looks. Nor is it as small either. I would say multiply what you see to about 10000 times larger for the approximate scale.
2. I highly suggest you look at the satellite view to get an overhead real view of where I walked. Then try and compare it to my pictures (see below).
3. Most of the trail is downhill (or uphill depending on which way you are going). They are both pretty difficult directions to go in.
4. By the way, the path we chose is no tourist path. Most of the trail was marked either difficult or extremely difficult. The easiest the trail got was moderate because I was walking around a cliff edge. The extremely difficult part was both a cliff and really hard, so we got the best of both worlds on that one.
5. If you will notice... we kinda went in a circle and then went back up. The reason for this is that between miles 2 and 3 there is a fork. Going to the east trail was pretty much a cliff (the extreme part) and we decided not to do that going down with our packs on. Instead we saved it for the way back up.
6. Between miles 4 and 5 (another fork) we kinda lost the trail. So we intelligently got off the trail we were on and branched out to find the other path (to take us to our destination). I awesomely recognized a vibration noise to be an angry rattlesnake and intelligently decided to walk away from the trouble. We then found the path.
7. Right after mile 8 is where we turned around. Where the trail meets the creek is where we camped for the night. That area was called a wash because I'm assuming during flood times the area gets washed away. Walking around we didn't see how anything could be a flood plane, but when we got to the camp site we realized why.
8. After going up pretty much a cliff face (from the fork between miles 8 and 9 to the fork between miles 9 and 10) I thought the strenuous part was over. The very end (also the beginning) turned out to be near impossible and basically I was exhausted.
9. Upon reaching the top we then drove the 6 hours back to ABQ. Awesome.

The camping part of the trip was fun and happily I didn't almost get frost bite. In fact I wasn't cold at all and I got a mostly refreshing night sleep, or however much rest you can get sleeping on the floor in the outdoors. After reaching the top of the canyon I had an image in my head of how awesome I was. I owned that canyon and I would like to share my sentiments with you (warning: explicit image following):

You can find my photos from the trip here and Brad's pics here.


Anonymous said...

you are ridiculous

Mom said...

so you wish:) anyway...I love the pictures

Dad said...

At a boy son... a chip off the old block... :} was that Grand Canyon or Grand Candy One. (smile)

I am glad you made it back safe...
and good move with that rattler...

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