Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It Draws Us In……

Monday, April 9, 2012 – We hiked down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon…..


On more that one occasion, we have been asked “Why?”….. “Why would you want to hike all the way down?” I gave this question serious thought….and I am not sure that I have any clear answers……beyond the standard…”Because it is there….”
When you are looking down from the rim of the canyon, you see a kaleidoscope of images and colors….and it is difficult to take in the scope of the whole canyon…..it is just too vast…..But there is something about this Canyon that draws us in…..
We have sat at the rim looking down….…..and we think “We want to go there”. (This photo is overlooking Indian Gardens Campground (the green area) on the Bright Angel Trail and on out to Plateau Point)
From the rim, you occasionally get a glimpse of the Inner Gorge and the mighty Colorado River (which doesn’t look so mighty at this distance) and wonder, “Is it really possible to go there?”
Then you see a trail leading up from the river….”Yes, you can go there”…. and the idea is born……
We have hiked the Grand Canyon with our kids in 2004. It was an awesome experience that we have treasured, but we have wished that we had had more time to really experience the bottom of the canyon. In 2010, we hiked to Indian Gardens and Plateau Point (halfway down the canyon) with our friend, Becky, and we knew that we would have to hike to the bottom again……
We set out in the early morning sunlight and cool temperatures, with packs on our backs….. planning to hike down the South Kaibab Trail, spend two nights at Bright Angel Campground at the bottom of the canyon, then hike up the Bright Angel Trail, spending one night at Indian Gardens, half way back up.
When you hike, you get a completely different appreciation of the canyon……
Details become more visible, with the vastness of the canyon as a back drop…..This is Cedar Ridge on the South Kaibab Trail.
The trail ahead of you can look pretty daunting…….
But up close…..it becomes ‘do-able’…..
We hiked well and strong…..this time, our legs did not seem to take the punishment that we had remembered from 2004. All along the way, we thought about how much we had enjoyed sharing this trail with our kids, and how we hoped that we can share this, again, and other experiences with them……
The view of the Colorado River and the Inner Gorge…..means we are getting closer…..
Just a really steep set of switchbacks before we cross over the bridge……note the river rafters in this picture…..(Hmm……another way to see the canyon…….my mind starts working…….)
This suspension bridge looks kind-of scary, but feels pretty secure……At any rate, by this time, I was just glad to be down all those switchbacks and almost to our campground.    : )
We hiked the 6.7 miles down in 5.5 hours…..and this time, we were not completely worn out…calves not nearly as sore…and my toes fared MUCH better.
So – what is it that draws us…..partly, the challenge…..and the lessons learned on the trail that seem so applicable to the rest of life…..
And the experience……the stunning scenery…….and knowing that you are included in the 1% of those visitors who hike to the bottom of the canyon……
But, I think it is simply this…..Fred and I have always enjoyed seeing the world ‘on our feet’……
And there is no better way to feel a part of the Grand Canyon, than to wear it on your feet……

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed the hike. Glad you made it okay... but color me just a little green with envy (I know I'll probably never be able to hike all the way down).