Last year, Ken was unable to hike the second day due to nasty blisters on the bottom of his feet. Well, this year, he decided to listen to his marathon running wife and use body glide. Guess what, no blisters!!! He was up and ready to go on the return hike.
This picture is blurry, but that is how we felt. The temperature on the trail head had dropped about 10 degrees from when we were outside our cabins. I had started to wish I had brought my gloves.
The hike down the North Rim is more enjoyable for me than hiking down the South Rim. I really have no reason why I like this part of the trail more, but I just do. We had decided early on that we would all go to Ribbon Falls to check it out. It was absolutely gorgeous! Ribbon Falls is about one mile after you pass Cottonwood on your way from North to South. You hike off the main trail for close to a mile and then you see this gorgeous water fall. We were wondering if the extra mileage would be worth it and then we saw this:
It is hard to believe that this is inside the Grand Canyon
Katie, Molly, and me
You can hike up and get behind the water fall. Look how tiny Ken looks!
I walked up behind the water fall too. It was so pretty.
Yes, this is INSIDE the Grand Canyon
I could not stop taking pictures
We waiting around for our other five hikers to join us. A few people had fun getting inside the falls. I chose to stay dry.
Molly, Ken, Katie, and me. Despite what you might think, Molly does not have to pee. She was cold from getting in the falls.
No Ken, you cannot kayak down the falls
When we were leaving Ribbon Falls, we had to make a decision: either cross a stream or backtrack about a mile and hike up a monster of a hill. I voted for the hill, but I was the only person that voted for the hill. The other five people with me, chose to cross the creek. Great. We walk along to the stream. Let me tell you, this thing may as well been the Amazon. I had no idea how my little self was going to cross something rushing so quickly. I know, you are thinking Keri, you are training for an ironman that requires you to swim in a river. Yes, I am, but I will be in a swim suit, with goggles, and I will not have my iPhone or GPS watch with me. Oh and the water will be 80 degrees and not 50 degrees.
Ken crosses, no big deal. Molly starts to cross. I remove my socks and shoes and start to cross. Yeah, it is not happening. My feet are on rocks and are freezing. Water is rushing toward me and I just know it is going to sweep me away. I tell Ken I cannot make it. There are three other people behind me. I am holding everyone up. I am two seconds from turning around and hiking up the big hill. Ken starts mumbling. Ken starts shouting "You call yourself and ironman! Come on Keri". For the record, I am not an ironman yet, so I can still be a baby if needed. Amy comes up and takes my shoes. Fabulous, now I have to cross the damn gigantic river. Amy crosses and gives me one of her trekking poles. I somehow take off as fast as I can with tears in my eyes. I made it to safety. Sorry Ken, you cannot cash in on the insurance policy yet. :)
Katie and Anna follow and we stop to wipe our feet and put our socks and shoes back on. It was the absolute worst moment of the hike. Ken says I was dramatic, but it was awful. I was so happy once we were back on the trail. Next goal, make it to Phantom Ranch.
Last year, Molly and hiked past Phantom Ranch before they were open. I was bummed that we did not get to go inside to see the store they have there, but this year we went inside. Um yeah, they have peanut M&M's and Snickers bars. That's right, candy at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Ken bought a sticker, some ice, and me a bag of trail mix. It was already getting so hot, that we were stuffing ice everywhere we could think of. Ice in pants, ice in my bra. It was fabulous!
Leaving Phantom Ranch, we hope on the Bright Angel Trail to hike out of the South Rim. First, you must cross Silver Bridge.
Then, the ugliness starts. You hike a mile or two in the most awful sand ever. I had forgotten about this part. It was so hard to walk, and the sun is blaring down on you. Blah. We kept moving along cracking jokes, talking about everyone's jobs, about our pets. If you do not know someone very well before you hike, you really get to know them during a 24 mile trek across the Grand Canyon.
Ken kept talking about wanting to see a mule and a big horned sheep. I had seen plenty of mules on the South to North hike and Katie assured Ken that she has hiked the canyon four times and has not ever gotten to see a big horn sheep. That is all we heard the entire time out of Ken. I want to see a big horn sheep. Well Ken, I want an ice cream cone.
We arrived at Indian Gardens knowing that it was hot. We did not know how hot until we saw the thermometer that read 120 degrees. Yikes! We had 4.5 miles to hike in the heat of the day with very little shade.
Attitudes were a little down and then enters the Desert Storm Veteran. Now, before I continue, please know that I have absolutely nothing but respect for veterans and current service members. This guy was a little off but proved to be entertaining. Here is how the conversation played out:
Man to Molly: "Ma'am you are wearing black, bend over."
Molly bends over, the strange man pours water down her back.
Man to Molly: "Tilt your head back."
Man pours water all over Molly's front.
Man to all of us: "I am a Desert Storm Veteran. I know how to handle the heat. You should not be hiking from 12:00 to 4:00. When you get to the three mile house, dunk every item of clothing you have on three times. Yes, three times. To cool your self down, stand with your arms out like this. (Man holds his arms out like chicken wings). See, you feel better since I cooled you down with water."
Molly to man: "It looks like a cloud cover might be coming."
Man to Molly: "Don't get excited ma'am, it is a small cloud, it will pass quickly."
He pulled out a bottle of pills and we were on our way. I think he really thought that we had just woken up and said, hey, let's go hike the Grand Canyon today. We were completely prepared and he treated us like a group of idiots. Although, his commentary did make us laugh and keep us entertained for the next four miles. I am sure there are people that do indeed need his assistance, however, we were not those people. Molly is a nurse and Amy is a doctor and we each had a few liters of water, so we were quite prepared, just hot and tired.
We carried on, hiking away. Someone would throw out a ma'am you are wearing black, bend over, when it was least expected, making us bust up laughing. Did I mention that Ken was a trooper hiking with five women?
This picture cracks me up. Molly looks like she might kill Ken.
Ken tries for a better reaction out of Anna and Amy
About one mile from the top, we turn and see the absolute highlight of Ken's day. That's right there on the trail was a big horn sheep.
He was just standing right on the trail. He has no idea how delighted he made Ken. Ken's entire day was made right there with the big horn sheep siting.
He climbed up the trail and hopped up on this rock to model for us. I can call him a he with absolute certainty. When he turned around, we were lucky enough to see the biggest pair of balls I have ever seen in my life!
After the sheep siting, we were engergized to get this hike finished. Next thing you know, we were rounding the corner to the top!
I have never been more proud of Ken
Ken, Katie, and me. Katie is enjoying a lime-a-rita. She could not stop talking about those things during the entire hike!
Ma'am you are wearing black, bend over - pretty sure we are retelling that story to the other folks in our group!
Larry and his family finished after us. I love this picture of Larry, he was so happy to complete such a wonderful experience with his children.
That is our rim to rim to rim experience for 2012. It was a hot one, but it was so much fun to hike the North to South with Ken, Katie, Molly, Amy, and Anna. We were such a fun group and we will forever have memories that we will share.