Monday, September 14, 2009

Romantic Rim to Rim Getaway

We made it! And I mean the trip around the canyon in the shuttle. Picture twelve people crammed into a fifteen passenger vehicle that has gone around the canyon with lots of other stinky hikers all compressed in the vehicle and you can imagine the smell. When I first sat down, I felt nauseated from the smell, which really says a lot for me because, after all, I spent five years in the burn unit, so I have bad smell experience. Fortunately, the driver, who had a rotund belly and I prayed that the heart attack would wait until I was out of the vehicle, was a speedy driver, so the trip took four hours instead of the advertised five hours. We ate dinner at the historic Grand Canyon Lodge, the only lodge on the north rim. The food came out a little too quick, leaving Kevin and I to wonder if it wasn't sitting under the heating lamps. It was okay, but the view was fantastic. The above picture is in the lobby of the lodge. I thought a mule statue was so fitting for this canyon. We went outside and took some pictures:

It was at this point that the bats came out and were flying a little too close for me and I high tailed it back to the Western Cabin that we were staying in. They should have named it Spider Lodge instead. I was not happy when Kevin says "Look at that spider! It's humongous. It has all these colors." Being the good husband that he is, he removed it. With my hiking pole. There was another spider in the bathtub in the morning, but I had already decided the next time we go, we are not staying in the rustic cabin.

The shuttle was due to leave at 5:15 or 7:15 am. Neither one was a good option since, one was too early and the other too late, so we opted to walk down the two mile road to get to the trail head.

Yep, that way to the trail head. It was chilly at the top, probably 50 degrees. Brrrrr! That's why I'm wearing my jacket. But we warmed up quickly then we had to find a place for it.

This was my view the whole descent. I mean Kevin's backside, which at one point asked if his pack made his butt look big. Not likely to ever be a problem for him. Don't worry, he gets me back(side). We saw a funny squirrel that we tried to get a picture of that was dark brown and had a super bushy white tail. No, it wasn't a skunk.

We hit the first look out point where one can take pictures or bird watch: We chose to keep going and not look for any birds. It was a lot of downhill, and because the grade is relatively steep (average is 21%), we ran most of the way down because gravity takes over. Fine by me, as I was trying to achieve a PR for the trail. That means a personal record. I know, I've never done it before, but I wanted to set the bar high for the next time, or just so I could brag to my friends who would then look at me in amazement at the physical feats I am able to achieve. But then again, most of my friends have already achieved their own PRs for other things that I will never do. I digress! These are a few of the pictures that I took on the descent.

Kevin and changing leaves. We don't see this in Phoenix. We had to stop.
The tunnel of love!
This is a good example of my downhill view. Kevin way ahead propelling me forward. It's because of him that I was able to finish as quickly as I did. If he hadn't kept my forward progression, I would not have done so well. It is an analogy for our marriage as well. Not that I intend on finishing our marriage quickly, the forward progression, I mean, toward a goal with him being the example and catalyst.

It's kind of blurry but Kevin took this picture of us trying to get the waterfall in the background.

I tripped several times trying to keep up with him. No falling, but I knew that I was going to lose my right big toenail after a couple of hard hits to the toe.

We made it to Phantom Ranch in 3 hours and 45 minutes, which included a fifteen minute break. I will do the math for you. That's four miles an hour with a twenty pound pack. Not bad. Next time will be faster.
We have now started our ascent and this is Kevin's view. I heard that Emily! I changed my clothes at Phantom Ranch because they were soooooo sweaty. I started feeling like I was getting heat exhaustion, so we stopped in the shade as we were going through Devil's Corkscrew so I could cool down a little. Talk about frustrating! I really wanted to push forward, but I was a dutiful wife and listened to my husband. If you stop and rest, it will help you go further for longer. He's right, as usual. It was hot, the temperature at Indian Garden said 108 degrees, but I think the added seven miles from the south rim trails only hike made a difference in my level of exhaustion.
Me at Indian Gardens (pronounced In-jun Gardens if you are from Idaho). No mules! That was the best part! No mules on the trip out that I had to try to pass up. After here, I got my second wind and Kevin told me to push ahead. I did, of course, because I really wanted to do it in less than nine hours.

Storm rolling in! Only got sprinkles.

Almost there! A couple of stories from the trip. One was a woman who was so impressed with my feat that she took my picture to put in her journal. The other is, I kept seeing bare foot prints on the trail as I was hiking out. I could not believe that someone would hike in bare feet. Then I came upon the man, and I said You're the one hiking without shoes! He said that his friend's had broken, so he gave him his shoes! I told him he was a wonderful man.

This is a list of the casualties: All toes except the 2nd toe on each foot and left little piggie. WARNING: The following image may contain content offensive to sensitive viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.
That is not a strawberry on my toe, it is a blister, which I popped. Fortunately, I was prepared and did not let the blister juice squirt all over, like it did in Myrissa's car one time.

As soon as I got out a little ahead of Kevin, I went to the General Store and bought a bag of Oreos and INHALED 3/4 of the bag in about five minutes. No joke. AND THEN, when Kevin and I went to dinner a short while later, I ate almost all of the bread from the bread basket. It was very tasty corn bread, but I could not believe how hungry I was! That night I slept for ten hours! Another amazing feat!

In the morning, we had a tasty (the best of all three GC meals) breakfast at the El Tovar, then a couple of pictures.

That's me pointing to where we had come from. The canyon to my right is the North Kaibab trail and then if you look down by my hip where there are trees, that is Indian Garden and Devil's Corkscrew by my waist.
Kevin having some "alone time" with the canyon.
This is where we stayed on the south rim:

We came home through Sedona and even stopped at a trout farm for some fishing. Talk about fun! One of Kevin's fish he caught.

Sedona storm coming!

It was a fabulous trip, even if I am sore in my hips, quads, back, and my chances of a pedicure in the next year are zero, and I feel like I've worked a night shift. That's a weird feeling when you slept ten hours the night before. I think our next Grand Canyon trip will be North Kaibab trail in and out in one day, which is 28 miles round trip. Am I a glutton for punishment? Looking for any excuse to get away? A champion athlete? Maybe all or none of these, but I do know I am looking forward to the next round.

And a big shout out goes to Grandma for babysitting the children AND keeping them alive (big bonus). We are very grateful to her to allow us these indulgences and allow us some together time.

My PR for a Grand Canyon rim to rim is 9 hours and 30 minutes with two and a half hours worth of breaks, which is seven active hours for a speed of 3.42 miles per hour. It will be broken.


  1. Oh yes sista it WILL be broken - - BY ME!!

    W h a t ? {Me ?! . . Emily? If so...}

    I like the ass-ent {I mean ascent}photo.

  2. Ummm ya - FYI - you have to read * MY * SWEET blog today. Have you ever seen one of those?!?!

  3. YEAH GIRL! Way to go! see you tomorrow :)