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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.