Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 3 and 4 in the Grand Canyon – Beamer to Tanner to Campsite and Out

After our oatmeal breakfast and hot tea, we packed up the tents, loaded our packs and were on our way by 9am.
I took multiple pictures from our campsite at different times of each day.  This is my favorite picture.

Today’s goal was to head back and hike partway up the canyon wall breaking up the trip for the climb out.  Total miles would be about 8 miles depending on where we camped.  The three miles back to the Tanner Rapids was pretty easy.  Since we were staying above the red wall in the middle of the canyon, we would be dry camping, meaning there is no water available.  We would need to carry all the water we would need for the rest of the hike, dinner and breakfast the next day. Water weighs 2.2 pounds per liter and John carried the bulk of the weight (thank you John), carrying about 5 liters or an extra 11 pounds of weight.   We found a great spot to off the main river to take a break, eat our lunch (which at that point we didn’t have much food left) and pump water.
Break by Tanner Rapids before starting up the canyon wall

 It was definitely colder, but relatively clear, and I had extra layers on to stay warm.   One thing while hiking is keeping a balance of staying warm enough but not sweating.  When starting hiking, like with running, you want to be cool at the beginning because you’ll warm up.  After that though, you don’t want to sweat too much because it is harder to get warm later when the clothes are damp.  I did sweat enough that once we got to our camp site I took off my bottom layer to try and get warm.

We didn’t know exactly where we would camp that night but we had three options.  One of the factors that we had to consider was two other hikers that we saw at Palisades.  We thought there was a possibility they would be headed out also and could already be at a camp site.  We didn’t want to shoot for the last site available (about 6 miles from Tanner), have the hikers already be there and be forced to finish climbing out that night.  The girls decided on the middle campsite, splitting the distance to travel.   We were fortunate there was no one at the second site and we set up camp.  It was FREEZING cold.  It was 4pm and we were counting down the minutes until we could start dinner.  While sitting under the shelter of a rock overhand and  losing feeling in our toes because of the cold, we heard “Hello”.  The two other hikers had come up and needed to tromp through our site to get to the water they had stashed on their way down into the canyon.  They were hoping to stay at our camp site but since we were already there, they continued onto the next site.  I wonder if they made it there before dark fell.  We never saw them the next day so they either left early the next morning or continued the climb out.

At 4:30 I couldn’t wait any longer.  It was so dang cold and windy that I wanted to eat so I could climb into my sleeping bag.  My toes ached, no they hurt with the cold.  Our gourmet instant meal was Jamaican BBQ chicken, which was actually pretty good.  Dessert, on the other hand, was horrible.  There is a rule for all meals that it can only be one step…add water.  Maybe, two steps is ok…add water to one ingredient and add water to a second ingredient.  I completely blew it buying the hot apple cobbler.  The night before we were laughing that Scott and Michele had a multiple step dessert and they were suppose to cook their fudge brownie in a skillet.  They opted for a non-bake/cook version making a fudge pudding instead.  When I pulled out the hot apple cobbler, I had to admit to having a worse step dessert than theirs.  My dessert needed to add water (that’s an ok step), then boil for 10 minutes (bad step), in a separate bowl (separate bow!….bad step) mix the cake, then put into a greased skilled and cook 10 minutes.  The dessert was failed from the very beginning.  Knowing Scott and Michele’s dessert was good raw, John and I opted to do the same.  It wasn’t good at all and I don’t recommend trying it at home. 

Shivering, John and I climbed into the tent and sleeping bags at 5:40pm.  It was a feebly attempt to get warm but helped being out in open air.  After a couple hours we looked for the toe warmers, that are supposed to keep warm for 6 hours and that helped.  Most of the night I was balled up trying to stay warm and kept waiting for daylight to get up and start moving and hiking.  Finally it got light enough to get up, eat breakfast and get moving.  Later I found out that it was 8 degrees on the top which would make it 10-15 degrees where we were camping. 

I didn't get many pictures the last day because my camera batteries were about dead and the message on the camera was "battery exhausted".  Me and the camera were both pretty tired...or "exhausted."

The  final trek up and out of the canyon wasn’t too bad and only took about 2 hours.  It was still cold but at least we were moving and staying warm.  Once on top, we took a couple pictures, drove to Desert Tower to check out their gift shop and get some hot chocolate.  Next stop…Mather Camper Services for the best 8 minute hot shower ever.

Overall it was a great trip.  Before the next back packing trip (which isn’t scheduled yet) I want to get a new backpack and reread this blog post.  I want to be better mentally prepared on how challenging the canyon is.


Anonymous said...

really enjoyed your blogs about your trip. Thanks for writing it all down


Tina at Gotta Run Now said...

What a once in a lifetime trip!