Saturday, September 12, 2009
Fall Fun is Around the Corner
Well, summer seems to be wrapping up - date-wise anyway. School is back in session here in Arizona. But the temperature just doesn't seem to have gotten the news. We're still bumping up against the 100's and the monsoon season really stank this year. And now it seems to be breathing it's last - out with a whimper, not a bang! Hot and dry. Whew! We had the worst electric bill ever.
But for me and a couple of my friends, September also means we are only a month (give or take) away from our hike into the Grand Canyon. To be more specific, we will be hiking the Havasupai Trail for the first time which is not in the national park but on the reservation. I am SO looking forward to it. The waterfalls and pools at the bottom are spectacular. We were supposed to have gone last year, but they had some very bad flooding that damaged the trails and little community there. So we're back for another go.
Have been doing a lot of long walks with my little furballs. I haven't had a chance to do our local 'hill walk" but I need to get going on that so my legs will get used to the long ups and downs. Can't wait.
A few years ago, one of the women I'm hiking with this time - one of my best friends, Teresa, invited a few of us to hike the regular Grand Canyon (how can it ever be regular?) for her birthday and stay for a couple days down at the bottom at Phantom Ranch. It was one of those lifetime experiences you never forget and produces all kinds of vivid memories. The Canyon just leaves you awestruck, turn after turn after turn. I felt so privileged to be in it - like it's sacred ground. Some of my pictures are here, but seeing them just isn't the same as being IN IT. If you ever have a chance......DO IT! You don't have to go all the way down. If you take the Bright Angel Trail, halfway down at Indian Gardens there is a rest area, water, restrooms and it's a good place to turn around for day hikers.
We camped down below. It was freezing when we left the south rim and we were all bundled up. But by the time we got to the bottom, about 6 hours later, we'd shed the jackets, sweatshirts, knit caps and were liberally applying sunscreen and downing Motrin! Our tents were wide open all night and we really didn't need blankets. Our group cooked up a smorgasbord of freeze-dried meals on our little gas stoves and they were scrumptious. Teresa's husband, Gary, is a gadget guy and he had all the equipment we needed to be comfortable. So we used mules to pack some of our stuff down so we wouldn't have to carry it all. That probably isn't the purest way, but it worked for us!
There is a little store/restaurant at Phantom Ranch and it's perched up on a foundation that requires steps to climb to go in and out. It was so funny to watch hikers come down the steps. Many of them, including us, were so sore the next day, we had to side step coming down! I bought my husband, who didn't go, a Phantom Ranch hat that you can only get there and we all mailed postcards from the store that also doubles as their post office. They have their own Phantom Ranch postmark, sending proof that you indeed made it to the bottom. Fun.
One afternoon, we were sitting around at the campsite and we noticed a couple of wild turkeys down by the creek near our site. They were slowly making their way up to the path we were next to. We were all excited and kept shooshing each other lest we scare them away. But they just walked right into our campsite, bold as you please - checked out the table and the ground around it for food like we weren't even there. Turns out they were the "camp turkeys" and they even had names. Later we saw the camp deer! Very cool.
So we are really looking forward to this new trip - new sites, new experiences, tons of photos which I'll share with you in an upcoming post.
It's always good to have something to look forward to, isn't it? Good for your health.