We'd picked up our friend Rosita the day before my birthday and the day after we drove to the Grand Canyon. The next morning we were up bright and early and heading out for a hike. With three litres of water, sandwiches and snacks stowed away in our backpacks we were on the trail by 8:00. The morning was chilly, but the sun was shining.
We chose to descend on the Bright Angel trail. By the time we got to Indian Garden, four and a half miles down, my calves were already complaining. Too bad for me because we weren't even a third of the way through our 15 mile hike.
About five miles in we moved onto the East Tonto trail. This trail was relatively flat, lined by scratchy little shrubs and cacti. We got to see both Prickly Pears and Claret Cup cacti in bloom. The blossoms are only open for a couple of days a year, so I felt pretty lucky. Bright reds and pinks stood out against the relatively colorless ground.
Along the Tonto trail we came upon an oasis. Even way down in the dry canyon, frogs have found a way to make a life for themselves.
Walking along and watching my feet to ensure I didn't trip over rocks, it was easy to forget where in the world I was. Each time we paused for a rest or I stopped watching my boots the grandeur was overwhelming. Soaring canyon walls and deep valleys were all around. At certain points one misstep could send you plummeting to your death.
Plummet to our death we did not. After 11 hours of hiking we hauled ourselves up the last hill of the Kaibab trail just before dark and onto an awaiting bus. We all made it, but it was llllooonnnggg haul. Had we known it was going to be so long, perhaps we would've chosen a different route. As with so many of our travel experiences, it's something I'm glad to have done, but I'm not sure I'd do it again.
From the Grand Canyon we dropped Rosita off at the airport. Last night was a bit lonely without her. She sure did make a good travelling companion.
Our next stop is Apache National Forest on the Arizona/New Mexico border. Then to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico where we'll be "wwoofing" at our first farm! More to come soon!