The past two weeks have been super hectic for me. On July 10th, we began our backpacking trip: North Rim to South Rim. The trip was amazing. We started our journey on the North Rim. The North Rim was beautiful; it reminded me of Colorado, which made me a little sad, but I was still excited to embark on our adventure. That day we walked around on the rim, and prepared our food for the next day.
On Tuesday, we started hiking below the rim. We woke up at 3 a.m., so that we could hike when it was cool and we didn’t need to worry about rain and lightening. The hike was easy, but it was just rough on my knees since it was downhill and steep. We made it to our next destination before 9 a.m. Once we arrived, we all fell asleep. Some napped for one hour, others (like myself) napped for couple hours. Once we all woke up, we did a short hike to a place the interns called “the toilet bowl” which was a ton of fun. It was a part of the creek that had a few small pools that were deep enough to jump into and swim around. Then when the clouds started to roll in we made our way back to the bunkhouse and started cooking dinner. That night we had spaghetti. When we finished we all hung out for a little bit and decided to have a boat race. So we used materials that were on the ground and dead grass to make our boats. I don’t think my boat survived the rapids, but some of the larger pieces of wood of some of the boats made it across. After that we pretty much got ready for bed so we could have plenty of rest for the next day.
Our next hike was the longest, but one of the easier hikes. We accomplished about eight miles that day. It was mostly flat, so it wasn’t too bad…until we got to “The Box.” The Grand Canyon has many different layers of rock, and one of the base layers is the Vishnu Schist. That layer of rock is very dark and absorbs heat easily, thus that layer of rock is hot and keeps the bottom of the canyon very warm. So when you hike through it feels humid and hot, which lasts for about four miles, so they call it “The Box.” That section felt long. It felt like it was never going to end, and every corner looked a lot like the one before it, so it was a little weird. However, once you make it through, there is an intense satisfaction that you feel when the canyon opens back up and there is a field of grass and trees around you. This stop is called Phantom Ranch. It’s a beautiful area. There are a lot of cabins, a creek, a little restaurant called The Canteen, and ranger programs that you can visit while down there. But when we got to our bunkhouse we fell asleep again. Then when we were well rested we made some sandwiches and went over to the creek. We sat in the creek and helped one of the interns practice for his ranger program that Tarryn arranged for him down there. Afterwards we went to the Canteen and had lemonade, then walked over to the amphitheater to watch our intern do his program. I think he did a great job, and the audience asked a lot of questions. Once he was finished we started dinner and got ready for another ranger program. This one was by the ranger at Phantom, and she told us a story about the couple who wanted to become famous from navigating the Colorado River when the Grand Canyon was first being established. The couple was planning to make their claim to fame through the woman, because she would have been the first woman to navigate through the Colorado River. They were getting ready to meet with reporter on one of those days, but the couple never made it to their destination with the reporter. The reporter then made it a missing person case, and they had many different crews looking for the couple. The husband’s father was a very important man, and wanted his son found. Then they found their boat. However, when they found the boat, it was in perfectly condition floating on the river with all of their belongings inside, with no damage. The couple was never found. This story is a true story of the canyon, and it was perfect for an evening program. Once she finished, we went on a mini scorpion hunt and found one. Then we went to bed for the next hike tomorrow morning.
Our hike from Phantom Ranch to Indian Gardens was our first hike going uphill for this backpacking trip. It was a lot less painful than I thought it was going to be, and it was beautiful and green. We got there early and mostly relaxed the whole day. The interns played Monopoly, and Tarryn napped through all of the yelling, which was impressive, but not surprising since both of us were taking care of 10 high school students. In the afternoon some of us hiked to Plateau Point for sunset, which was beautiful. We got to see the inner canyon on both sides, and it isn’t a viewpoint that everyone gets to see since you have to hike down to it. We went to bed pretty shortly after sunset, since we needed all of our energy for the last hike.
Our last hike was the toughest. I felt bad because I was hiking a little quicker than I should have been to our first stop, but mostly everyone was okay with it. Then when we got to our second stop, the mile and a half house, I lost most of my energy. So I was a little slower and the interns were impatient so many of them went in front of me, but at that point we were maybe 3/4 of a mile away from the top so I didn’t mind. The trail that we were on has two tunnels, with the first .2 miles from the top and the second .5 miles from the top, so when the interns got to the first tunnel they ran the rest of the way. I didn’t, but they were very motivated. Once they got to the top they dropped their bags and ran down to the first tunnel to wait for one of the interns who was kind of struggling with the hike, to help her the rest of the way. I thought that was super sweet. They were all very happy and smiling once we got up, and I think the trip went pretty smoothly. Afterwards we called it a day and went home.