02 October 2011

Travel Journal, Grand Canyon Day 3

Lauren's Journal: July 20, 2011 - Wednesday

This morning many of us were up before the coffee call. After a bit of morning yoga, we packed up camp, and loaded the boat before hiking up the canyon to the ancient granaries. I notice that everyone seems to have settled into camp life well, and the mood is quite easy today. The hike started in the sand, and ended up climbing several hundred feet of stone 'stairs.' I kept thinking back to the Great Wall in 2008, and Andrea's harrowing experience. I kept thinking about that on the way up, and also the horrors I read in the Death in the Grand Canyon, and when the guides start talking about people 'rag-dolling' down the mountain, I start getting nervous. Thankfully, my ankle held up without anything more than a little stiffness, but the hike probably did it some good in the end.

The hike's intensity and the heat increased in relation to each other. As the hike got more intense, so too did the heat. The hike quickly became what we referred to as 'The Death March." We were all sweating, guzzling water from our packs, and I was definitely panting, but the reward of the spectacular views of the river and canyon made it all worth it in the end. A few people had to turn back part of the way there, and though I'm not sure how I managed, I did make it to the top, and the view from there made it all worth it.

We took a break while sitting at the granaries, and some people climbed a few extra (perilous) feet to peer into the granary. I was nervous about that, especially since touching the stone there is verboten, and I was still having horrifying images in my head of rag-dolls falling of the canyon.

Coming down was much easier, especially since the temperatures cooled very quickly. The river is truly life-giving, and I was surprised by how much I missed it such a short amount of time. I think after the heat of the hike, we were all feeling relieved to be back on the water. Once we were back on the water, today seemed to be all about singing through the rapids (a trend that would continue until the very last day of our journey). The group appears to be gelling more, and getting comfortable with each other. This is really turning out to be an amazing trip, and I am so glad I could come!

The lunch spot was nice, with little bits of shade everywhere, and plenty of things to explore while we waited for the Azra crew to prepare lunch.  I wandered around a bit and met a spiny lizard who was quite curious about what we were doing there. Judging by how much he liked to have his picture taken while doing push ups, I'm sure this little guy spends a lot of time in the company of and examining humans. In addition to the Lizards (which became our most photographed animals on the trip), this lunch spot also included a beautiful array of stalactites (on top) which looked like white soda straws hanging from the limestone rock face.


The Lunch today was Roast beef on whole grain bread with horseradish mayo, German mustard, avos, tomato, and Havarti cheese with dill. I don't normally like roast beef, especially not in sandwiches, but this was delicious! I ate my fair share (and more) of the cookies, and following Penny's lead, made apples with peanut butter, dried cranberries, and pistachios. When I felt stuffed later, I certainly knew why.

After lunch, I played Euchre with Luchs, Kelli, and Jones. We cut the game short to get back on the boat, where we headed for the Little Colorado and where Captain Dave had a great surprise in store for us!

On the hike, we saw this collared lizard who popped out from under the rock to watch us as we walked by. As we rounded the bend of rock along the riverbed, we could see the water changing into the prettiest, alkaline blue water.

When we arrived at the starting point, we were instructed on how to put our life jackets on like diapers so that we could flow down the river like this:
After this, we felt exhilarated! Many of us flowed down the shallow, lazy Little Colorado rather than hike back. It was a welcome and relaxing time back to the rafts before we headed to make camp for the evening.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

amazin stuff...just came across your blog when googling grand canyon...all the more excited to go there :)