Our Grandest Adventure

Grand Canyon North Rim Lookout Point
  For many people around the United States, and even for some across the globe, the Grand Canyon is a must on people's lists.  Whether you decide to hike down a mile or two, hike rim to rim, or just enjoy the scenery, there is a lot that one could do for a few days worth of time.
Cactus flower in the Grand Canyon
  Last Tuesday, May 31st, we went to test our limits at the Grand Canyon's North Rim, beginning with the smaller, 2 mile hike down to a rest stop.  What was quite discouraging about the trip down (and eventually up) was the amount of mule feces and just all around stink.  The good parts about going down along this path were the view, which was simply amazing, as well as the ability to rush through the messiness since it was all downhill.  Once you got to the rest stop, equipped with bathrooms, this was where the mules would turn back and go back up.  So basically from then it at least smelled much nicer.  Everyone decided to meet up after a tunnel, marking our splitting point.

  There were only 7 of us that decided to try to finish up the whole 10 mile trek down to Roaring Springs and then back out of the Grand Canyon.  The rest of the way down was starting to get hot and as we went, people would pass us or we would pass people along.  What we didn't realize was the people going back up were quite serious when they kept saying that at least we weren't on our way up yet (oh but we soon realized the weight of those words hours later).  The view was very beautiful and I really did not expect to see a waterfall along our hike!  The waterfall was feeding Roaring Springs and was our marking point for a while to see how far we had left.  We started our hike just around 8 am and at around 11:30 am made it down to Roaring Springs, most of us doing pretty well.
View near Roaring Springs, looking up
  Once we stopped at a nice picnic bench near the spring, we ate some of the Cliff bars that we had bought on sale, 10 for $10, the day before. We drank our water, also refilling our bottles at a highly pressurized water faucet.  It was quite interesting to watch everyone turn it on for the first time since it sprayed everywhere!  A few people took naps as Kristen, Whitney, and I attempted to find the nice little place to walk in the spring.  That fell through, however, when we ran into a large pit of mud, sadly turning back.  We rested up a little until we decided to brave the trek up, although I doubt any of us were truly ready for what was in store for us on the way back.
My friend on the way back to the rest stop
  We began our ascent at 11:45 am so that we could get back as soon as possible, starting off as fast as we could, going 10 minutes and then stopping for a few in a shady spot.  This system did not last long at all and we soon split up.  The hike was extremely hot and thankfully we had refilled our water bottles!  By the time I reached the bridge, which marked me at just under a mile to the tunnel, I waited for Whitney who was not far behind.  We then proceeded to do a happy dance and then again split up to trek up to the rest stop.
  Once at the rest stop, we were quite short tempered and it was not helped by the mule riders joking that they would be back at the top before we would.  The only thing keeping our smiles on our faces was the fact that we kept telling ourselves that we actually walked the whole way and these people only rode down half of it.
Nearing the top, wishing I was already there
  Of course we still had to go back up through their mule's leftovers and this was probably the worst part, and again we split up to go at our own paces.  You don't realize it on the way down but when you are out of breath and sucking in air on the way back up the last stretch, you really wish that it was cleaner air!  Sadly we were sucking in awful air and smells, making the last 2 miles nearly unbearable.  Needless to say, when I was singing along to Solomon Burke's "Cry to Me" half wheezing, I had no shame that there were people near me, looking at me like I was crazy.  This was because if I didn't keep some sort of motivation, I would stop and never get back up!  Struggling up the last part of the trail felt like near death and I had been close to giving up even getting up the last few steps until I saw Mrs. Dawn who was cheering me on from the top, waiting in the car to drive me back to our room.  I was finally there!  I finished the whole thing just before 4 pm, which took longer than I had expected.  Slowly, everyone made it, but there were quite a few cases of elevation sickness holding people back.
  Looking back I believe most of us would gladly do that again and I believe our next adventure will be the rim to rim hike.  Once you start, there is a need inside somewhere to finish the whole thing, which I hope to do someday.  This was an experience of a lifetime and I can gladly say that I only left the Grand Canyon feeling quite accomplished as well as extremely sore!

Maegan Smith

1 comment:

Dr. Troutman said...

Kudos to you guys! I've made that hike myself and it's no easy feat. Remind me to tell you about my duct tape story sometime...