As you all might know, we made it to the Grand Canyon yesterday afternoon and spent today exploring as much as we could before the hail, rain, then snow started falling. The inclement weather only lasted about 2 hours and then again it became sunny with skies of blue.
We woke about 30 minutes before sunrise because by now our biological clocks have reset to nature standard time. It is nice to wake with the sun and sleep with the moon like our ancestors did thousands of years before Thomas Edison’s contribution to the ever modernising world.
We took the morning semi slowly, leaving the house at 8:30. We walked the 10 minutes from employee housing to the edge of the south rim. As we walked, we saw mule deer, elk, and various critters rummaging the surrounding forest.
As we approached our first majestic view of the canyon we were overcome with emotion. The tightness in our chests and the tears welling in our eyes with the knowledge that we had just cycled over 500 miles to get here. We earned this view.
The layer cake of red rocks was all the more delicious after having worked so hard to enjoy it.
We savored this view for a few moments before our appetites drove us toward the Bright Angel trail down into the canyon.
This is one of the south rim’s more popular hikes, and has been since the 1800s, so we were joined by hoards of hikers representing numerous nationalities and ages.
There were old couples and young kids, equally excited to step foot in this wonder of the natural world.
The decent down to the first checkpoint took us a little less than an hour. It was incredible. The sky was bright baby blue with a scattering of fluffy cumulus clouds.
It was a temperate about 60 degrees but there were still the occasional icy spots.
The first checkpoint is a mile and a half down the canyon and we were tempted to go farther but we were deterred by the prospect of rain due in the afternoon.
We took a short break to reapply sunscreen and eat Clif Bars and dried fruit before turning around to hike back up.
This popular trail was fairly busy this morning so we were occasionally held up by slower hikers but the hike back up was definitely less strenuous than we had anticipated. Having other hikers on the trail did come in handy when we found ourselves in need of a picture we couldn’t take ourselves.
Riding our bikes over such hilly terrain has definitely made us stronger so the hike back up was a breeze.
The emotion of the morning, feeling a sense of accomplishment on a both mental and physical level made us feel on top of the world.
Before we left Ventura, we prepared for the trip by completing p90x on top of 30 mile/day bike rides and 5 mile/day brisk walks. On our hike up, we felt at the pinnacle of how fit we have become.
We made it back to the Village about an hour and a half later and went straight to the lodge to check out the menu. Luckily, there were organic, local, vegan choices on the menu.
With stomachs full, we headed towards the bus stop to explore the rest of the park.
Just as we exited the bus, the hail started. We ran to the post office, mailed post cards, then got on the trail back to employee housing. On the rainy walk back, we enjoyed walking next to each other, holding hands, and speaking softly, rather than being isolated on our solitary modes of transport. When we are on our bikes we are traveling at different speeds on roads that are hardly ever wide enough to travel side by side. Not to mention the fact that traffic and wind noise make conversation nearly impossible.
Excited to warm up inside, we entered the apartment and met Geoff. We did not meet Geoff yesterday because he was volunteering for the US Geological Survey educating visitors on why it is important to stay on designated trails and the devastating effects of walking on biological soil crust. We quickly got wrapped up in interesting conversation before he suggested we take a trip to the general store before it closed. We picked up some cider, micro brews, and almond yogurt (essential) to accompany the tacos Geoff and Janice are preparing right now.
Having said that, we should get back to real life and leave the internet world. Until next time, we bid you all farewell!