THE GRAND CANYON: (There’s a great book they sell in all of the gift stores here, “Death in the Grand Canyon”). So naturally we wanted to hike through it, Rim and back up to Rim.
We arrived to a full park and the only campsite we could get was in the back country, at a place called Widforss Point. The 5.5 mile hike took us to an amazing spot that overlooked the canyon and we placed our tent right on the edge of a rock outcropping. An amazing sunset (we got the eclipse version) and an amazing sunrise!
Feeling strong and excited, we hiked out in the morning and began our journey down the North Kaibab Trail (we lucked out on a permit for one night only; others we talked to had made reservations several months in advanced and many still never got their permits). We hiked the 7.2 miles to Cottonwood Campground, ate lunch, and stashed our packs because this was where we got our camping permit for. Next up, because we only had one day, we hiked the next 8.4 miles to Ribbon Falls and the Colorado River! The hike took us through beautiful canyons, past Phantom Ranch, and all under a 100 degree sun…sizzle, sizzle.
With night coming fast we had to get back to Cottonwood Campground. Michy was feeling good and so was I, but about 3 miles into our hike back my chest began to hurt, hmmm. Well, only one way to go. Back to camp. So we hiked and hiked and hiked. Thankfully, the trail had entered into evening shade, the cicadas were chirping, and a nice breeze came every once in awhile. Did I mention, I was also having some shortness of breath. Obviously my first instinct was…Heart Attack. But, with no existing heart conditions I quelled my hypochondriac-like tendencies and continued on; Michy leading at a nice slow pace that I could manage. (Don’t worry mom, I had plenty of water, food, etc.) Eventually, at around 8:30pm we arrived back in camp: 34 miles and 20 hours later. I tried to eat, but couldn’t. I drank some. But then, my head swirling, nausea coming on fast, I collapsed into the tent, moaning like some weird, demented lizard. What was up? I’m healthy? I’m in shape? Yes, I think, but let’s not forget that cool book I saw at all the gift shops. I was exhausted and dehydrated. I was a bit worried. Michy was too. Seven hours of rest/sleep later I felt much better and we packed up and shlogged the 6,500 feet out of the canyon. Victory Gardettos, Chips, Naked Juice, Chex Mix, and a Fat Boy Ice Cream Sandwich were in order. So…the moral is…drink more, get more electrolytes, and don’t underestimate the Grand Canyon! It is beautiful, but it kicks butt.