As you can see, my vibrams are well used. That's because I LOVE them.
Last minute ... literally, last minute - I decided to join the family on a Grand Canyon adventure. We'd been planning for months to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back up again. But as the Vegas summer got hotter and hotter, I bowed out. Heat and I don't get along. And the word is that the canyon walls reflect the sun and the temperature reaches upward of 120 f. It hits 80 at home and I'm a wimpy whiner. Something about my body (I inherited from my mother, she inherited it from her mother) ... our in-house temperature regulators don't really work. Hit a certain temperature and our heat rises exponentially. We become flushed and nearly unable to function. Sweating doesn't cool us off like it should. Anyway, Friday morning came and it was time to get the family packed for their grand adventure. One of our daughters had been sick - really sick. I didn't want to send her on this hike. So it was either we both go, or we both stay. If Sierra went, I needed to be there with her. I woke up early, donned my vibrams, and headed out to fill the car with gas and buy some last-minute camping food. When I got home, Brad called the Canyon and found that this weekend was unseasonably cool. Rather than reaching 120 degrees, it should only be 102. Call me insane, but that sounded cool to me. Sierra and I scrambled to pack, and before we could double-think it, we were all off to the Grand Canyon!
We met up with Trevor and his 5-year-old son, Jace, parked our cars and hopped on the bus that would take us to the South Kaibab Trail. My husband is an outdoor genius. He reads a lot, but also instinctively knows a lot. So we were well prepared with sunscreen, neck coolers and water. Lots and lots of water. Oh! Let me say here that even though Brad really does know best when it comes to outdoor activities, we disagreed strongly on one point. With the hot desert sun, Brad insisted we wear long cotton pants and long-sleeved cotton shirts to protect our skin. He knows how horrible a sunburn can be on a hike like this. My only stipulation was this: I promised to slather as much sunscreen on me and the girls as often as he wanted ... but we would dress down. I was the only person I saw the entire 3 days in a skirt.
But really ... it might look goofy, but without a doubt I felt the breezes better than anyone!
So, back to the hike: It was about 5pm when we began our descent. I was interested to see all the day-hikers ... lots of people head to the canyon and hike an hour or so down, then back up again. Me? If I weren't fulfilling a bucket-list wish, I'd just enjoy the view from the top! Especially with this thought: doing the easy part first, knowing you have a steep incline waiting for you ... ugh! That's too hard on my psyche!
The South Kaibab Trail is SPECTACULAR! That's one reason why Brad chose this route for us. From the top to the bottom, the beauty is indescribable. Our plan was to do the easy part (going down) in one evening, camp at Bright Angel Campground on The Colorado River, then take two days to hike back up. We did follow the plan, but it wasn't exactly as smooth as it sounded. First of all, going down really is the easy part, but "easy" is relative.
The first hour or so we took a kazillion pictures. There were so many places to stop and gaze at the magnificence before us. I couldn't help remembering Robert Service's poem, The Call of The Wild. Particularly the phrase: "Have you gazed on naked grandeur where there's nothing else to gaze on, Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore?" That describes every step down the South Kaibab. With a heaven-sent breeze, and the rim temperature in the 70s, we were very comfortable. And in my vibrams, I didn't get the toes knocking against my shoes and bruising me under my toenails. We have at least 2 members of our family with purple toes who will soon be minus a couple of toenails! As we descended, the temperature got warmer and our stops for water more frequent.
(to be continued)
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad