Sunday, June 26, 2011

GC Trip, North to South Hike...

Here we are at around 2:45 am ready to take off!  The hike going back to the South Rim is 24 miles instead of 21.  We change over to the Bright Angel trail so that we can have access to water.

A view of the South Rim in the distance.  I believe this is between Cotton Wood and Phantom Ranch.

Just past Phantom Ranch and only 10 miles left to go!  Unfortunately, most of that 10 miles is up hill!

Silver Bridge

The Colorado River.  In the distance you can see a few boats.  I told Molly that Ken would love this view and that I had to get a picture for him.

My hiking buddy Molly.  She and I had a ton of fun hiking together!

About nine miles left to go!

A view of the trail from above.  If you enlarge it, you can see the trail

About three miles from the top.  When this picture is enlarged you can really see the trail.  People kept asking us where we came from that morning.  They all about died when we said the North Rim.  Molly and I had a heck of a pace going!  We did talk to several nice people along the way.

After my finish.  I must say, I look rather rough here!

Waiting on the others to come in.  We did see a guy slip on the trail and almost fall off.  It was horrible.  Luckily, someone grabbed his leg so he did not fall into the canyon.  We also saw a few really dumb people climb on rocks that with one false movement, and they would have been toast.  It is crazy that people want a silly picture so badly.

Here comes the rest of our group!  I have to say, I thought the North to South hike was much easier than the South to North hike even though it was longer.

We all showered and had dinner and drinks at El Tovar.  It was another wonderful evening spent with wonderful people.  Oh and next year, Ken is totally hiking both ways!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Grand Canyon Day Four...

I think Ken finally understands what I feel like after a marathon!  He was stiff and felt like someone had run him over with a bus.  I was glad that he got to understand that feeling so that he has a little bit of sympathy for me after races!

We spent the day walking around and just spending time with friends.  It was a perfect day of rest!

View from the North Rim.  We hiked all the way thru that sucker!

I was THRILLED to learn that there was a coffee bar on the North Rim!  Here I am enjoying my Chai Tea latte and checking out the view!

Our group at the bar on the traditional Bloody Mary Sunday.  I enjoyed my ice cold water.  :)

Dr. Buckeye.  He is one of the funniest people Ken and I have ever met!

Brighty the Mule.  If you rub his nose, you get good luck!

Here is our group at the North Rim lodge.  These are some amazing people! 

Our last night on the North Rim was pretty low key.  Ken did end up getting three really nasty blisters on his foot and he decided it was best not to hike from North to South.  I was bummed that he would not be joining me the next day.  He was bummed too and enjoyed cocktails on our porch while I went to sleep.  It was a super early night for me since I had a 2:00 am wake up call!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

GC: The Hike - South Rim to the North Rim...

Ahh...the day we had all begin waiting for!  We woke up at 2:00 am to get ready. I found myself preparing as though I was running a marathon.  All of my clothes were laid out and I was body gliding myself up!  We had our Rim Wranglers transporting our belongings, so we packed what we needed for the day and left our bags in the trailer that Steve and Denise would drive to the North Rim.  Bless Steve and Denise's hearts, they were up so early to drive us to the trail head.  Their kindness did not go unnoticed!

Packed and ready to go!  Pretty cute for 2:30 am!

In the hotel lobby, heading out.  I love how you can see the reflective strips on running clothes!

Me with two of my favorite girls, Abby and Katie

Yes, I have had my coffee and I am way too happy for 2:30 am!

All of the South to North hikers at the trail head

All of the dust that gets kicked up on the trail.  It totally looks like snow.

Our first stop.  We had already been hiking for an hour and yep, it is still dark!

Ken showing that he is proud to be an American

Our group

Our second stop where we learned that an engagement had taken place moments before!

Jean and Patrick got engaged on the hike.  Jean organizes the trip every year and hiking is her passion.  Patrick totally surprised her!  She had a bright smile the entire trip.  Congratulations Jean and Patrick! 

My handsome husband making his way down the trail
Our first look at the Colorado River, simply amazing

Nothing beats using the self timer while you are hiking!

Heading down to cross the Colorado River

Ken and I separated after Phantom Ranch, which was just before mile seven.  I have very few pictures from this point.  I was just wanting to get finished.  I did enjoy listening to my Ipod and singing and dancing down the trail with my new friends AJ and Jocelyn!

It is amazing to look back and realize how far you hiked!

Me finishing with AJ and Jocelyn.  Bless my heart, I look really rough!  It was HOT!

Ken and Abby at the finish.  Ken was so sweet, he knew Abby was struggling and he waited on her at a water stop to make sure that she made it out okay.  I was so proud of him for finishing with a big smile on his face!

The most fun of the entire day was hanging out at the end waiting for our group to finish.  We were hooting and hollering at everyone that came up the trail. The best part was hearing people come up and asking if we were the Kansas City folks.  Our group was talkative and friendly to everyone on the trail. 

The hike from South to North was 21 miles.  You hike down the South rim, across the canyon and up the North rim.  It was so much fun!  It was the furthest I have every gone without running.  We had an amazing group of people out on the trail.  The funniest thing that I saw were two girls that were wearing jeans and had hiked down about three or four miles from the North rim.  One of them had her shirt tucked up in her bra.  Jocelyn and I both about died laughing!  She looked more like she should be dancing on a pole than hiking in the GC.  You have to dress the part you know!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Grand Canyon Trip Day Two...

Day two was a travel day for us.  We started off with breakfast at our hotel and then loaded up in the van to head to the South Rim of the Canyon.

I love getting to see cacti in Arizona!  This is always my favorite part of the dessert.

We had a great lunch in Sedona at L’Auberge.  The restaurant overlooks a creek.  It is such a pretty site for lunch.

Ken checks out the water and ducks

Part of our group at lunch

We made it to the South Rim!  You can see the trail that we will be hiking the following morning. 
So happy to finally see the Grand Canyon!

Zoomed in on the trail. Are we really going all the way down there???

The mandatory self portrait

Mike and Katie at dinner

Chris and Shelly at dinner

Our hotel on the South Rim was a historic hotel called El Tovar.  This is the hotel that is shown on National Lampoon's Vacation when the Grand Canyon scene is shot.  I made Ken watch the movie before we left and he was so not impressed with me building up the Grand Canyon scene.  I liked the entire 90 seconds, so that is all that matters.  :)