Grand Canyon. The mother lode of all canyons. You know what they say about the first steps leading to the rim where nature reveals itself- the immediate reaction, the apparent shock-awe that inevitably come along. We were well read on the subject of the “first sighting” and excitement was palpable among us as we took the necessary steps. Man, the whole package that Grand Canyon has to offer doesn’t just give a good right punch, it does much more than that, using a three punch combo and a roundhouse kick (Chuck Norris style) and a knee up to our groins. Yup.
We read it somewhere that the 95 percent of people who visit Grand Canyons never venture out of the South/North rim. Balls! Not happening to us. We decided that it would be totally off the hook, Chuck Norris awesome if we hiked down to see the massiveness of Colorado River at work. However, there are dangers of journeying into the valley of death. 1) Sun is an absolute beast, obliterating any opposition or clothing layers 2) water is almost nonexistent on the trail that we would be undertaking 3) did I mention the sun? What put us off was as we were getting our permit to descend down the Canyon and sleep at a campground, we came across a poster. On the poster, posed a healthy girl running the Boston Marathon. The line blared out, “Could you run the Boston Marathon in 3 hours?” A sub header read “she did” and the following information told us that she didn’t bring enough water and food and died while hiking down the Grand Canyon. Needless to say, we took precautions to ensure such a fate shouldn’t befall upon us.
It was strange sensation, to hike downhill to reap your reward. We were accustomed to start our hikes climbing upward, our lungs heaving, to reach the lofty heights of the peak, along with it, the panoramic views. In this case, our “reward” was the ancient Colorado River, and the views from bottom out.
The hike down began cheerfully enough as we all were in good spirits and made steady pace, however, as the sun crossed the P.M., it bore heavily down on us. Nonetheless, we plugged on. The switchbacks of the canyon were brutal, with the edge of trail hanging precipitously down.
As we pushed forward, we were finally rewarded with the view of Colorado River. By gods, it was majestic. The river is the biggest reason why we have the Grand Canyon, as it essentially shaped the landscape that we learned to worship. The Grand Canyon itself is a tribute to Colorado River’s sheer persistence, every year the Canyon is deepened by the thickness of a single paper. Less than a millimeter for seven million years and behold! The wonders of nature and time, indeed.
It was truly gratifying to be finally able to plunge into the icy depths of Colorado River, the master architect.
As we dillydallied around, talked about the wonders we saw en route- two huge ass rafts with around 10 people on each made their landfall next to us. Before I proceed, to be able to raft on Colorado River as it courses through the Grand Canyon are one of the most coveted experiences an adventurer could have. To obtain an independent permit is almost impossible, thus many people decide to join on rafting outfitters. Back to the point, we were stunned to see pork limbered, pale faces, and double chins people step off the raft. They contribute nothing to the expedition, sitting thorough the sheer magnificence of Grand Canyon (the whole 277 miles of it) while their guides handle things from A to Z. They had something that we didn’t. Money, moolah, greenbacks, and more money. The indignation we felt on our part could be compared to how the pure mountaineers felt when they saw people that had no place on a mountain being dragged up to the peak of Mt. Everest. Money. It served as a harsh reminder that money does really make the world turn.
We lingered around a bit at the bottom of Grand Canyon (we couldn’t obtain a permit to sleep there- we had to hike 4 miles uphill to other camp) it was brutally hot. Don’t believe me? Just check this picture out! I didn’t believe it either.
As the sun made its way toward the west, the air got cooler and it was time for us to embark to our camp. We crossed the Colorado River via a bridge, and it was one awesome sight. The trail slithered near the river for a half mile or so, along with the softening sun- it served as the most beautiful and tranquil sight I have ever beheld. As we reached our camp (the uphill hike was strenuous to say the least), to our chagrin, it was chiefly full. Luckily for us, we found a nice family who agreed to share their lot with us, as we conversed using primeval sign language, we discovered that the family planned to wake up 3 a.m. to get an early start and to avoid the bastion of heat, sun. We discussed and agreed that it would be prudent on our part if we woke up 5 am and make some headway to reach the top of GC before the sun could toast us. However, being the geniuses that we are, we dozed till 6:45. BAM! Everyone, I mean, everyone in the camp (it was full remember?) was gone. Late at 6:45 a.m.? Pretty weird, huh? We made our way upwards, and the sun came out grinning. It was like he was saying, “You thought you would out-smart me, pal?!?” and grinned even harder. In total, we hiked for 16.5 miles (first via South Kabib trail then Bright Angel)
Grand Canyon has left us mesmerized and wanting. Until the next time, folks!