Jan 25, 2016

Hiking: not so lame after all?

About six years ago Devon and I attempted to backpack a portion of the Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota, failed, and officially proclaimed we hated hiking. I've held onto that belief since then, with small confirmations through lame day hikes I was forced to attempted in the interim since our proclamation. However last week I took two other hiking-haters with me and we went for the Grand Canyon. It just seemed like something one should do. 
Hiking the Grand Canyon in one day is strictly not advised by the Park Service. We reasoned that since Marilla has done it before, Mitch is a Search & Rescue professional, and I call myself and ultra runner sometimes, it wasn't a ridiculous undertaking. We thought it would take between 6 and 9 hours, and it took 8. A full day but reasonable.
It was 5 degrees F when we left in the morning (frozen fingers!) and there was packed snow for a few miles on the way down Bright Angel trail. Winter at the top, spring at the bottom. That's what 5,000 feet of elevation will do for you.
A view from the top taken later by their parents (above). 

Snow gives way to excellent hiking conditions mid way down the canyon (above). We are beginning to take off layers a few hours in. We are happy to see only about 10 people in the four hours it took to reach the river. The rocks keep changing color on the way down and the trail is never boring.
We criss-cross the river on two foot bridges just for fun. By the time we reach the river I already know I'm going to have to admit I enjoyed the hike. It was absolutely amazing to hike down into the changing terrain and see the river peak up out of the canyon.
All day we were in the classic Arizona conundrum: sweating in the sun but freezing in the shade.
After a quick lunch at the river it was up, up, up. Marilla and I are rounding the bend in the photo above; Mitch straggled behind taking pictures because otherwise he would have been too bored with our hiking speed (which I thought was phenomenally strong!) The ascent did seem to take forever but the South Kaibab trail was gorgeous. The views of the canyon were better than on the way down.  We knew we must be getting close to the top when we saw people who were fashionably dressed and even smelled of perfume: you know they haven't been hiking long. And we made it out around 4PM. I LOVED this hike!

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