Grand Canyon Adventure

29 Apr

This past week Emily and I packed up the car and took off up north to the Grand Canyon for a few days.  Our initial plan was to hike in the first day, then spend the middle day trail running on the Tonto Trail and hike back out the way we came the last day.  Emily even got us a great campsite right on the Colorado River for two nights to use as a “basecamp.”  While what actually happened differed quite a bit from this plan, we ended up having a really great time.

For those of you who know Emily and I, it will not be shocking to hear that Day 1 we arrived to the park a bit behind schedule.  We had a 10.2mile hike in to the campsite on the Hermit Trail, which is a bit older and less defined than some of the other park trails.  After some quick packing in the parking lot we hit the trail at 4:45pm.  With sunset looming at 7:15pm we made haste down the Hermit Trail, trying to do our best to soak in our gorgeous surroundings while hiking fast.  The steepness of the trail slowed us down a bit, but we were able to knock out almost 9 miles before we were forced to don our headlamps.  At this point we had made it to the last section of trail to the campsite and thought we were in the clear.  No such luck.  It took us close to an hour to go the last 1.2miles due to cairns placed few and far between.  The trail was along a wash, which kept us constantly guessing if we were just following a wash or actually headed to our campsite.  When we could finally hear the Colorado River our luck turned.  We were able to see a light ahead and followed it down to the site where we surprised a solo camper who probably thought she had scored her own campsite by that time of day!   Since it was almost 9pm by now we set up our tent quickly and made some decent potato soup from a mix before crashing out.

When we woke up on Day 2 the skies were clear, but we knew the weather forecast had promised thunderstorms all day long in the canyon.  We ate some Cream of Wheat and dried fruit and hunkered down the tent to keep dry from the rain.  I wish I could say we then hiked/ran tons of miles, but in truth we went back to bed.  And napped.  All.  Day.  Long.  In the tent, in the sand by the river, on a rock bed Emily made next to the tent…we slept.  And it was wonderful.  At 6pm I finally forced myself awake to make some mac and cheese so we would have some energy for our next day’s adventures.  Afterwards we immediately went back to bed and slept 10 more hours.  Maybe a little bit of a sleep deficit there?

Day 3 was my birthday and I couldn’t have been happier to wake up deep in the Grand Canyon listening to the rapids of the Colorado.  It was amazing.  We packed up and set off on our reconfigured hike- a 17.1mile trek out of the canyon using the Tonto Trail we had hoped to run on and the Bright Angel Trail, which is one of the most popular in the park.  It was a blue sky day, our legs felt great and the Tonto Trail was unbelievable.  Rolling singletrack all the way to the Bright Angel.   We got to get some climbing in the last few miles of the trail, when we took on the 3,000ft ascent out of the canyon.  We went slow and steady and made good time for such a long day.

Though there were fewer “Lessons Learned” on this trip, it was definitely a great opportunity to use all the gear and start working out the kinks in our food menu.  We are finding that the things that sounds great in the grocery store don’t actually sound great on the trail.  All we really wanted to eat was dried fruit and energy chews.  Unfortunately, there aren’t enough calories in either of those things, so we are going to have to put a lot more effort into finding things we actually want to eat in the backcountry.  Any suggestions are welcome!

Here are a few extra pics from the trip:

Colorado River View

Colorado River View from the Tonto Trail.

Jen using the least private privy ever....

...with Em by her side.

Canyon view hiking out Day 3.

Desert Flowers in bloom.

One Response to “Grand Canyon Adventure”

  1. Jim Wentzel May 11, 2012 at 3:42 am #

    Nature is a giant toilet! These pics are lovely and inspiring, and sorry I am so late to the game on this post. What an amazing journey you guys are having in AZ. How can you recover from waking up to these views (not to mention all those hikes up in Washington)?

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