Catching Up Volume 1 – The Last Sites & Sounds of the Kaibab

23 October 2011 in Trails/Hiking, Traveling

 

Sorry we’ve neglected our post(ing) for over a week now, but here’s a brief summary of the last twelve days. We’ll post more in-depth blogs in later days.

rim to rim, South Rim Grand Canyon, North Rim Grand Canyon, North Kaibab Trail, South Kaibab Trail, trail runningOctober 12 – This was the eve of my solo rim-to-rim of the grand canyon. I was filled with a mixture of fear and excitement. One overpowering the other every hour or so. When the nerves crept up I had to remind myself that a week earlier a 69 year old couple did a rim-to-rim in a day. They didn’t run it, but I didn’t have to either should I decide halfway through that I had over estimated my abilities. I could always hike it. Of course there is also the fear of doing something like this alone and what I’d do should anything happen, a fall, a sprain, a broken bone, rattlesnake, scorpion, tarantula. But that night we went to a ranger program at the lodge called “Death in the Grand Canyon”. This could have pushed my nerves to the max and made me bail at the last minute, but instead it eased my nerves. I learned it was too cold for any of the poisonous dangers and the heat dangers. So as long as I was careful and didn’t push myself too hard I’d be fine. Right?

October 13 – I don’t put much stock in luck so in my teens I took on 13 as a lucky number in the face of all of the bad luck it can reportedly bring. So today was my lucky day! I awoke at five in the morning and had a hearty breakfast consisting of a large bowl of generic Rice Crispies, a scone and a half and some trail mix. Then I took my preloaded, make shift pack consisting of a small, glorified fanny/running pack and a cheap school backpack pinned together. This would keep part of the weight of the backpack off of my shoulders and provide easy access to my energy gels (Starbursts) and my ipod. So I kissed Lindsay goodbye and I was off. I won’t go into the details here, I’d like to write up a longer post, but I did much better than expected and the first 2/3 of the way was easier than I thought it would be. I ran the first 7 miles in 1.5 hours, the second 7 miles in 1.5 hours, and hiked the last 7.5 miles in just under 4 hours. The first 7 miles you descend one vertical mile in elevation. The next 7 miles are rolling hills. And then you ascend just under a vertical mile in the last 7.5 miles to get out. That was the trying part!

Lindsay joined me for the last 1.5 miles to the rim providing sandwiches and much needed moral support. Then we saw a little of the South Rim and headed to Flagstaff where my mom was flying in the next morning. There we had awesome Thai food and cocktails, then slept in the back of the truck on a side street.

Travel with Monkey, Maloneys Pub, Flagstaff nightlife, drink specialsOctober 14 – We woke up earlier than expected and in a little rougher shape than we would have liked. The night before we found a 1-2-3 drink special, which I’ve never heard of, but I guess it’s pretty common. It was rail drinks and domestic beers $1, call drinks and imported beers for $2, and premium drinks for $3. Needless to say, after two months in the woods we were ready to let loose a little. Anyways we picked my mom up at the smallest airport I’ve ever been to. She actually got to walk across the tarmac and board the small plane via those stairs you see in old movies and pictures. Then we headed off for the South Rim.

Here we gave her a quick tour. It was all my legs could bare after my run. I was hobbling  around like a zombie with two wooden legs and a tick. Then we headed up to the North Rim. This took a little longer than expected and by the time we got there we were all exhausted and just grabbed a pizza from the cafe at the lodge, wolfed it down, and hit the hay early.

October 15 – After a breakfast of pancakes we took my mom over to the lodge and gave her her first view from the North Rim. We also took in the two afternoon ranger programs, one on geology and one on the California Condor. Both were excellent. Lindsay and I had seen them before, but with different rangers. There were similarities, but also a lot of new information. That night we made mexican pasta and had an illuminated ring (our phase to avoid saying the “F” word, “fire”, we decided it brings rain if you say it).

Coconino Outlook, Coconino Overlook, North Kaibab Trail, North Rim Grand CanyonOctober 16 – This was our last full day at the North Rim and it was bittersweet. We had began to consider it our home and the rangers an extended family, but we were also excited to show my mom some other parks and to begin our Californian adventure. In the morning, after a homemade scone breakfast, we hiked to the first point on the Kaibab, Coconino Overlook. This is probably my favorite spot in the whole park. It gives you an amazing view of the Roaring Springs slot canyon. Here we spent the better part of an hour taking it all in one last time. Then we headed back and had lunch. The afternoon was spent packing and readying for the next days departure. We also made some cookies to give to the rangers as a thank you for all of their help. Around three we hunted down each ranger and said our goodbyes and then drove my mom out to Cape Royal, a beautiful view point about 45 minutes away. That evening we made fry bread pizzas, had another illuminated ring and went to bed.

October 17 – We awoke early and packed up all of the loose odds and ends, of which there are fewer this time around. We accumulated a few new things and my mom and her luggage, but somehow it all fit better this time around. I think we’re a little more organized than we were the first time we left. And so we pulled out of the North Rim for the last time and told ourselves it’s not “goodbye”, it’s “see ya later”. So we headed north, bound for Zion National Park with a quick stop in Kanab to stock up on groceries for the week.

Zion National ParkIt takes about three hours to get to Zion, but it’s a beautiful drive. We arrived there just before noon and lucked into a spot in the reservation only section, meaning we’d have hook ups (electric and water). We had lunch and then we went just outside the park to Springdale to get my mom a room. Although we insisted she was welcome to stay in the Scamp and we could just tent it, she wanted the comfort of a room some nights. And probably felt like she was putting us out even though we didn’t mind. She also had good luck with her lodging and found a room at a little motel for $50/night. It was actually not connected to the main motel, but was a little duplex down a side street. So it was quiet and she only had one neighbor. Well several if you count the cats that lived next door. And I do mean “next door”. Next to my mom’s room was the motel owner’s house and between the two was a to-scale model of the owners home where several cats lived.

After getting her settled we took the shuttle bus through the park and hiked a portion of the Narrows trail. Zion is a beautiful park and one of my favorites, but I’ll get into that another day.

It’s hard to summarize a day in a paragraph or two and it’s probably a lot of read if anyone’s actually reading this still. So I’ll post these in four day chunks until we catch back up.

For those interested in our current whereabouts, today is October 23 and we will be leaving Vegas early tomorrow morning and heading to Joshua Tree National Park.

23 October 2011 Trails/Hiking, Traveling

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