Kevin took this picture and told me that he got his mad self portrait skills from JT (Justin Timberlake-and he's not kidding). So I had to try out what I had learned from the person who learned from the master.
Not bad, right?
How many pictures do we have like this? I'm going to say a dozen. On to the North Kaibab! We did not see anyone for almost six miles! And the two people we saw snuck up behind us. I almost had a heart attack. I was worried about getting attacked from behind after Susie told me that the trail is rampant with murderers and rapists (she told me this to discourage me from hiking to the top alone if anything happened to Kevin). We stopped at Cottonwood Campground for food and refill water. It was eerie that there wasn't anyone. This is us in case you have forgotten what we look like when we are hiking:
Hey! Where's me? Oh, that's right. Potty break.
Keep on keepin' on. Up to about this point there is very little incline as it runs along the river. After we get through this campground it starts heading up. I chose to listen to General Conference on my iPod. Which I was very glad that I had that thought because I don't really need motivation music, and besides, I am a little sick of listening to it right now, so I filled my spiritual cup as I drained my physical cup. There was a terrifying moment on the trail. No, I didn't slip off the side. We came across this:
FIRE!!!! In the Grand Canyon!!! One of the Natural Wonders of the World! Oh, wait. There are guys in yellow jackets that seem to be tending the fire. And it is very controlled. Thank heavens! I was worried that I was going to have to activate the emergency system, but more importantly, HOW WERE WE GOING TO GET TO THE TOP OR BACK AGAIN IF THERE WAS A WILDFIRE?!?!?! So, my thoughts were selfish, but glad that this was not a wildfire, but a controlled burn. Keep going.
If you do a Rim to Rim to Rim, this shot is obligatory as proof that you made it to the other side.
Back down. This part gets tough because your toes have gotten relief from the going up and now you are going back down with a steeper decline. I could feel my right two toes were getting blistered, but kept moving. Here's me by Ribbon Falls:Two things that you could learn from this shot. #1 Hiking poles are ESSENTIAL. I mean it. They reduce the effort on your legs by 30%. #2 Compression socks are ESSENTIAL. This was the first time I have worn them on a hike and I could tell a difference.
He said he wanted a picture of him for the kids in case he didn't make it out alive. So once we pushed on, I kept thinking about how selfish I was for asking my husband to do this with me. I had to stop that, so I counted again. The moon was full so it helped light the way. I was so happy when we got to the 3 Mile Resthouse! Only three miles to go! We still had three miles to go? Ugh.
Onward. Now instead of counting, I tried predicting how far we had gone and kept saying in my head: "We've only got 2.9 miles to go, we've only got 2.9 miles to go" and then when I thought we had gone a tenth of a mile, I changed it to "We've only got 2.8 miles to go" etc, but I hoped that I was underestimating how far we had gone, and when we came up to the 1.5 miles resthouse and I had in my head that we still had 2 miles to the top, I was elated! Kevin saw the emergency call box and commented that it looked really good right then. Still going up. This part is such a mental endurance challenge that I can't even describe it. You know you have to keep going because you can't pull off to the side of the road and motion to the medical response team that you're feeling lousy, you have to get out! And I could NOT have done it without Kevin, nor would I have wanted to, despite the fact that I thought he may not make it. But when we saw the sign for the Bright Angel Trailhead, I don't think I have ever had that much relief or love for my husband. WE DID IT!!!! Truly an amazing bonding experience. And here we are at 0230 in the am:
We got back to our room and surveyed the damage, which was great. I had chaffing on my shoulders from my pack, two blisters on one foot, two toenails sure to go, sore backside, but that shower. That shower! And then the bed. And the sleeping in. Nice.
We were beat up, battered, but definitely closer as a couple, so for that, the experience was truly once in a lifetime. That is, until Kevin told me three days after the hike that he would do it again. Wh-aa-at? Yep. He says he'll do it again and wanted to know if I would to. Of course I would, dear.
P.S. Siblings: This trip is NOT the one that we will be taking for my 40th birthday. Mom said there was no way she was going to allow it. Ours will be the much easier 17 mile hike.