Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Grand Canyon: Part 3

We've been SO busy with house stuff lately. We finally got moved back into our place after 4 weeks in a hotel, ugh! You can read more about that disaster here, here and here. Since we've been back, we've been running non-stop to unpack and clean. The good news is that I've even been able to tackle some projects that I've been putting of since we moved in (ahem, office closet).  Now that the dust is starting to settle, literally, I thought I'd take a little time for a post. 

I still have about a million photos of our trip to get through, so I'll cover a few of them here. If you need a Grand Canyon trip recap, you can find our prep here, and the hike down here. Once we made our way to the bottom, we. were. beat.  

We somehow staggered on to find Bright Angel Campground. The campground works on a fist-come-first-serve bases. Although you still need to get a reservation several months in advance, you get to pick your campsites when you arrive. So the earlier you are there, the better your site will be (not that there are any bad sites down there!).

We spent most of our first afternoon cooling off and relaxing in the stream.

The stream is exactly how I remembered. There are several dams built up along all of the campsites, creating little pools that you can relax in. Check out our "neighbor" standing in the middle of the stream below.

Our campsite was far from luxurious...

... But the views were priceless.

Once we got settled in, we had some lunch, and found some shade to take a nap. My dad and Jake and I each claimed a bench at Phantom Ranch. This is Jake when he just woke up from his nap. And yes, we all looked like that, lol!

When we stopped by the ranger station, the thermometer said 123 degrees. Yowza!

It. Was. Hot.

So we decided to go cool off in the river, and cool off we did! The water is so icy cold, you literally can't breath. But my dad always says that you haven't been to the bottom of the canyon until you take a dip in the Colorado River, so we all had to check that one off our list.

Jake was the first to take the plunge. 

We each took a turn, and most of us made faces like this: 

Aside from trying to stay cool, we also ate a lot (at least I did). Since we were always on the move, we were always snacking: tuna, crackers and Cheese Whiz was our lunch time staple on the trails. We also had trail mix, energy bars, nuts, etc. The "grown ups" dined on freeze-dried meals in the evenings and us "kids" were treated to dinner at the canteen. The canteen also had some of the best lemonade for sale and hands down, the best apple I've ever had. (Let's just say I was a little wiped out form the hike/heat and I'm pretty sure that apple kept me from being a heap on the floor.)

We did manage to swipe some leftover steak, corn bread and baked potatoes to take back for Jean, Jeff and my dad. We even got some chocolate cake for Jeff's birthday. Woo hoo!

A few of us to a walk (because we hadn't done enough, right?!) to check out Bright Angel Bridge.

This is the bridge we would be walking across around 4am on our way out. The open-grate walkway underfoot is a little unnerving as you walk over the freezing, raging river below.

Some of the wildlife we saw consisted of several mule-deer, lizards, a few condors, and Katie and I even saw a baby scorpion. My dad and Jeff also saw a huge rattle snake right before we were going to bed our last night. They were wise not to tell us about it until we got to the top.

We slept right out under the most spectacular stars we've ever seen. Aside from the swooping bats, the evenings were pretty peaceful.

So that's it from the bottom. Stay tuned because I still have photos from the our day hike to the most amazing waterfall as well as our excruciating hike out (I hurt just thinking about it). Until then, another breathtaking view of Bright Angel Stream.

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