Below are entries from my travel journal and pictures from the trip.
- Woke at 5am. Packed up camp and hit the trail by 6 or 6:30.
- Today = 4.7 miles, 1320 vertical feet. Lord help me.
- This is going to sound crazy, but I am so relieved to hike uphill. 14 miles downhill was harder on me than I expected.
- I ended up taking Chris’s recommendation and duct taping my pinkie toe (with red duct tape ) to cover/protect my blister. It worked out great.
- “I love Devils Corkscrew.” This is what I sang, or rather chanted to myself the entire way up. It wasn’t a lie either. I hiked steadily by myself and power housed my butt all the way to the top. Felt damn good about it!
- When we finally got to Indian Gardens campsite I led some of the group through stretches (as well as a random stranger). It felt amazing.
- When we found our camp we set out our sleeping pads and took a much deserved group nap. I never wanted to move again.
- There are so many squirrels and lizards that it is no longer exciting to see them. Squirrels are pests. We have to hang our packs at each site and lock up our food or they’ll get into them. One actually did chew through Shelly’s pack when we went to the waterfall.
- There is a tradition of going out to Plateau Point to have dinner. Was tired and didn’t entirely feel like going but sooo glad I did.
- Plateau Point is magical. I could see the entire path that we had hiked and where we still need to hike to, all from one vantage point. The view is better than anything from the top. Completely breathtaking.
- It was hard to get alone time, but I was able to steal a few minutes away from the group to just meditate and take it all in. I cried. I couldn’t help it. Less than a year ago I was on crutches – now I am in the Grand Canyon. I am so proud of me. So few have seen what I am seeing.
- Up before the sun. Packed in the dark using headlamps. Got very little sleep. Again. Note to self: bring earplugs!
- Today = three 1.5mile hikes. All uphill. All ridiculously difficult. They divide it into three hikes to keep you from the feeling of holly-shitness you get when you look straight up at what is left to hike.
- Forgot to tape my ankle…on the hardest day.
- Energy goo, shot blocks and powerbars helped save me from the never ending stair stepper which the last mile and a half is made up of.
- Tourist kept asking if we backpacked all the way. We proudly told them yes, rim to rim, but you should meet our group leader, he is 80 years old!
- Found out later that some of the same tourists stopped Roger and took a picture with him saying that he is their inspiration. Truth is, he is all of our inspiration.
- When we got to the top I went straight to the visitors center and bought me a clean t-shirt and hat. Went to the restroom and changed/”washed up” because I knew just how bad I must smell.
- Posed for pictures as a group.
- Turned on my phone and let my family know I was alive. My mother told me she was proud of me which, of course, made me cry.
- Ate breakfast with the group. Best breakfast in the world! I could have licked my plate clean.
- Got to talk to my cute Jaron. It felt like home.
Well folks, that’s pretty much the end. I have never felt so accomplished or proud of myself. The Grand Canyon is more amazing than I could ever possibly put into words. I suppose that’s why I choose to post my journal entries. There is no way a short narrative blog post could do it justice. The beauty is everywhere you turn. As I would hike, I would constantly stop to look around and remind myself where I was. Through any pain, discomfort, lack of sleep, or blisters I may have gotten, I never once wished I had not come.
Less than ONE PERCENT of people who go to the Grand Canyon actually hike down to the bottom. I feel so honored to be in that group. I am also incredibly grateful to Roger, our group leader, for inviting me to come, organizing the entire adventure, and keeping us all safe. I am indebted to him forever for sharing this experience with me.
There are tons of pictures in all three of my Grand Canyon posts, but if you’d like to see more, check out my Flickr account.