Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Grand Canyon- Day Two - Boulder Dash

Looking back maybe we should have taken the boiled over oatmeal as an omen of the day in front of us.  Mark, who hadn't been backpacking since he was 15 gained the nickname Greenhorn when he created a science experiment and boiled over his oatmeal.

After breakfast we packed up camp, heaved up the packs and groaned of discomfort. Shoulders, hips and the onset of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) felt the effort from yesterday's hike. We happily walked our way down the creek occasionally looking where we could cross the creek.  We heard the trail on the east side of the creek was easier than the west side but we saw no dry crossing and thought the west side wasn't so bad.  That would all change (play sinister music here).

We traversed along the upper trail on the west side and looked down at the creek and the Colorado.  
Tapeats Creek

The Colorado River was muddy brown

The song Ye'll Take the High Road and I'll Take the Low Road ran through my head as we discussed the trail, upper and lower route.  We wondered how the people hiking below would get up to where we were, which obviously was the correct trail.  We gazed upon the people in the rafts and discussed our friend who would be taking the same 15 day river rafting adventure next year.  We trod happily along on our nice trail until the trail took us on a ledge.

After the ledge, a dead end into a boulder pile. In an hours time, we only went maybe 1/4 of a mile and it was a lot of work working the way down with the pack through the boulders. Only at one point was I scared that I would need help. I was trying to climb back up to a ledge, my left foot was solid, my right foot was sliding, I couldn't move my right foot to another rock because the ground was unstable there as well.  The rocks I grabbed with my hands were falling apart and I considered dropping my pack. I wasn't on the edge of a cliff or anything but I would have been pretty scraped up had I not pulled myself out of that.  It's not like I had a strong arm reach out and grab my pack like Michele had when she hung balanced on the edge of the cliff (or so the story goes).  That was why I wanted to go DOWN but everyone wanted me to go UP to get to a different spot.  A couple minutes later I had another altercation but this time with a bush. Needless to say, I was happy to be down and back on a trail.

You can see John on the right in the yellow shirt scouting out the trail.
After the boulder dash we welcomed the flat beach walk close to the river and stopped for lunch in the shade.  We still had about 2.5 miles to go to reach Deer Creek and our campsite.  

Nothing in the Grand Canyon can be truly easy and the next stretch proved no different.  It was straight up and in full sun. In the morning when I filled my water, I only brought 1.5 liters because if I only used 1.5 liters the day before on a 9 mile hike, then 1.5 for a 5 mile hike would be plenty. I wasn't counting on us taking the scenic tour, adding extra distance or the full sun of our hike. I ran out of water about 15 minutes before the end of the days hike so I suppose it was perfect timing.

At the top of one of the many hills, I looked down and saw a green valley and my heart skipped a beat in happiness.  Downhill! 

This was a beautiful area and our camp site was right next to the river. We set up camp and then went and bathed in the river. 

 Deer Creek is probably the most beautiful area of the Grand Canyon.  The slot canyon opened to the main canyon where you could see the Colorado below. Here are a couple pictures of the beginning of the slot canyon and the view of the main canyon from the end but you'll have to come back tomorrow to see all the great pictures of the slot canyon itself.  You may even hear the angels singing and Jesus appear.

That night we had a conversation if I'd rather hike 20 miles or run a marathon.  The answer is run a marathon. Running, even with hills, is pretty consistent.  Hiking, especially backpacking takes a lot more time and energy to balance, climb up and down rocks and be in the sun.  I'm thankful I am a runner and physically fit otherwise the backpacking trip would be much harder. 


Ewa said...

I hike and backpack a lot but that ledge looks darn scary.
Deer Creek is just breathtaking.
I really need to squeeze Grand Canyon hike in the near future. This is just amazing.

Johann said...

Amazing views! Looks really scary on that ledge. You are right, you can be very glad you are a runner. I'm sure many people struggle a lot when hiking there. I'll also run a marathon rather than hiking. Running the trails in a race would be superb though.

Ed said...

Thanks for making my camping trip in Catskill, NY look like playing in the sandbox. Haha! Awesome post! I wanna go. Thanks for sharing the experience with us!

Adrienne said...

Pictures look awesome but a little scary. My brother is a river guide and they do trips in the Grand Canyon so next time you have an extra $10K I'll give you his info. They fly the people in by helicopter so you can skip all that hiking business :) Seriously though your trip looked pretty awesome.

Katie A. said...

Wow, you are amazing! Just reading back a few posts and you guys are just nuts! But what beautiful country to be in! I'm very impressed!
Glad you enjoyed yourself ;)

The Green Girl said...

Wow, I can't believe how amazingly beautiful the views are. I love the shot of the The Colorado River even with the muddy water.