On Friday morning, the forest roads through the golden aspens and green pines to the Bill Hall trail head were surprisingly busy. We came across groups on horseback, which required us to stop the car as to not frighten the horses, a convey of hunters causing a traffic jam and a full parking lot at the trail head. We started on the trail at 10am and had 9 miles in front of us before getting to our camp site at Tapeats Creek.
|Christina, John, Mark, Michele and Scott at the trail head ready to head down|
The number of miles is almost meaningless while hiking. You could have a 5 mile hike that takes 5 hours or a 6 mile hike that takes 3 hours. It's all dependent on the terrain. I struggle with this mile concept on each hike because a 5 mile run, even with hills, is a piece of cake where a 5 mile hike in the canyon, leaves me wiped out.
|Mark poses at the top|
One of the amazing things about the Grand Canyon is how the terrain changes. I've hiked the south rim a couple times now but noticed the change more on the north rim. One minute we'd be in the pine trees with brown/grey dirt, next minute the trail has prickly pear cactus, then the trail changes to red, and then green from the kaibab shale and there is even beach sand by the Colorado.
From the Bill Hall trail we got on the Thunder River trail, I guess. I'm not as familiar with the various trails we were on or weren't on. The Thunder River trail was originally constructed in 1876 when rumors of gold (what else would cause people to climb on edges of mountains) but the current trail was created in 1926.
|On the esplanade all the rocks looked like mushroom rocks.|
|These rocks didn't look like mushrooms and us girls nicknamed them Boobie Rock.|
These pictures hardly do Thunder River any justice. The waterfall came pouring out of the side of the mountain and it was very lush and green through the valley. Thunder river is the worlds shorts and probably steepest river running only 1/2 mile from Thunder Cave to Tapeats Creek.
At this point we are almost to our camping spot in Tapeats Creek but there were still about 2 miles to go and steep downhill. I was pretty darn tired but didn't want to be a Maggie. Maggie was a hiker we read about in another trip report and we all vowed not to be like Maggie who curled up under a rock and refused to go further. She was ill prepared for the trip and a bit of a whiner and complainer too. I was NOT going to be a Maggie. This stubbornness would remain with me the whole trip. It's always important to me to not hold the group back, to carry my own and be strong. The last mile I was stumbling, my legs were shaking from fatique and I wanted nothing more than sit for a bit but there was camp to set up and water to pump.
|Our tent site|
|The creek had lots of water and was moving fast.|
|View from our site|
I leave you with this picture of Michele's feet. Michele has a magic backpack...it weighs practically nothing and yet she carries a ton of stuff. She never ceased to amaze me the things she'd pull out and how prepared she was. She did however, forget her flip flops so on the way up to the GC, we had to stop at Flagstaff, much to the dismay of Scott who wanted no dilly dallying and wanted to get up to Jacob's Lake timely. At the dollar store in Flagstaff Michele found these cute, functional flip flops. Notice she even has her Injinji toe socks...she's always prepared!