When I was 18 I worked at Jacob Lake Inn. It is a little lodge next to the north rim of the grand canyon. I also worked there the following year. It is one of the highlights of my life. I have so many good experiences and memories from my time when I worked there.
This year (now I'm 29) I told my husband that we are going no matter what! So I invited anyone who wanted to join and started making the plans. I never realized how complicated it could get. I changed the arrangements at least 3 or 4 times. Making reservations, cancelling them, so on and so forth. Finally I arranged for a guy to rent a 15 passenger van and take us to the south rim.
My brother Garrett and his girlfriend Natasha arrived at 2:30am Saturday morning. Once they got to Jacob Lake, AZ we all drove to the north rim, dropped off our individual cars, then piled in the 15 passenger van. We saw 87 deer on that road!!!! (scary driving) Our hired help drove us to the south rim while the 9 of us tried getting some shut eye.
I am still amazed that nobody flaked out at the last moment! Those things always seem to happen when organizing a big trip with so many involved.
We started our hike around 7:30am. (in the past we've always commenced around 4:00am, which I recommend). A few had never seen the grand canyon before, so it was wonderful seeing it as the sun was rising.
|From Left: Garrett, Natasha, Logan, Dayna (me), Chelsea, Riley, Alecia, Cozeth, Doug|
Natasha and Alecia were beasts. They made it out way before anyone else. They waited for 45 minutes for Chelsea and Riley, then Garrett and Logan followed. They packed in the cars and went to Jacob Lake, showered and ate dinner.
I hurt my knee on the way down, and I had a bad sinus infection to boot. So I was especially slow. About 1/2 through we met this guy who was obviously injured. He walked with a straight leg. I offered him one of my trekking poles and from then on we were hiking buddies. Cozeth and Doug went ahead, and me and gimp went at our slow pace.
Baron (the injured guy) and I made it out around 11:30pm. Apparently Cozeth and Doug made it out an hour before us and got to practice their survival winter skills for that hour. I had the keys and it was below freezing on the north rim. They wore their socks around their hands and cuddled. By the time we made it out they were shivering pretty bad. I felt bad.
|This is my new friend Baron. He's holding Cozeth's toaster (she takes it with her everywhere for humor, it's even been to Iceland)|
Hiking a canyon is very different then hiking a mountain. On a mountain you can just turn around and go back down if you get tired. In a canyon you HAVE to make it all the way out or you're stuck in the canyon (unless you want to pay $2,000 for a helicopter flight out). It's amazing how you can keep going if it's your only option. I don't know how I made it up that grueling 8,000ft climb, but I did, one foot in front of the other. It didn't matter how small my steps were, as long as I kept moving forward. We each have our story of survival, I'm sure every ones experience was different. Hiking offers a parable in each ones life and strengthen us to keep on going, no matter the difficulties.