Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Turning 30 and the Grand Canyon

Hooray! I have made it to 30 years of age! To celebrate we went out to dinner and had a few drinks in Payson, Arizona. A bit of advice to people who may be passing through: don't look for a big night out in Payson; I just don't think it's got the goods. I'm going to be celebrating my 30th over the coming months as we meet up with friends along the way. So, if I'm coming to a town near you, be ready!

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!


Diane said...

I love it! You write beautifully. It's so great to hear from you and to know that you are off on a new adventure. I can't wait for you and Rohan to get to Vancouver. Yay! We'll have so much fun exploring together. No cheap generic tequila, though. :)

I look forward to reading more. Take care and see you soon! xx

Kelly King said...

Happy Birthday!
What a Great Frog picture!
Kelly King

Anonymous said...

Wonderful photos and story and SO GLAD to read the comment 'Plummet to our death we did not'. Always take care Love to you both Carol

Anonymous said...

Ding Dang! Love the jump shot, was that our 10th try? lol.. I wish I was sitting in the back of the van in my comfy spot.
Thanks again for the adventure, I had an ding dang awesome time!
Much Luv and safe travels Cta!