On Tuesday I am leaving for a week's trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. I am going with my cousin Carolyn for her 70th birthday. She is actually doing the full Canyon, which takes 15 days. When she asked me to go with her, I asked Mike if this was something he would ever want to do (spend 1-2 weeks on a small boat going down the river, including white water rapids, sleep in tents, pee in the river, etc.) his answer was a resounding "no!" So I decided go with her, if only for a week. She is probably the coolest person I have ever met, and undoubtedly the most well traveled. She has been all over the world, to every continent (yes, even Antarctica), so to travel with her will be an honor.
I have had second thoughts about only doing the first half of the trip, mainly because of the fact that I have to hike out of the Grand Canyon. Apparently if you do the whole thing you end up somewhere that a van can pick you up and take you back to Flagstaff. This is the info on the hike out:
"Hiking up to the South Rim on the Bright Angel Trail
The hike from Phantom Ranch to the South Rim is a serious, long (9.7 miles) and strenuous hike. This hike takes you out of one of the deepest canyons in the world with an elevation increase of more than 4500 feet. People almost inevitably underestimate the difficulty of climbing the Bright Angel Trail. Temperatures on the trail can easily reach 110 degrees or more during the summer months. Transport of your personal gear by mule is provided, but you still need to make the hike carrying a daypack holding your water bottles, lunch, camera, etc. The extra weight of your daypack significantly increases the stress and amount of effort exerted. You need to take the time to get into very good physical condition before you begin your trip. The hike to the rim generally takes 6-9 hours. Please Note: This hike should only be undertaken by those in very good physical condition. It is not recommended for anyone in poor general health, who is elderly, has heart or lung disease, is overweight, or is not physically fit. If you have any of these conditions or are unsure whether you are in good enough shape for this hike, we strongly urge you to get your physician's approval for this trip."
Kinda scary, huh? I have been spending a lot of time on the treadmill with the incline ramped all the way up. I am used to spending 12 hours on my feet at work, too, so I guess I am prepared. I have made a couple of trips to REI to purchase all sorts of things I will probably never use again, but hey, this is a once in a lifetime trip (unless it is so fabulous that I insist on taking Mike for his 70th birthday in a few years :-) I even bought a waterproof digital camera to be able to take pictures while we are going over "19 major rapids rated 5 or above on the Grand Canyon scale of 1 to 10."
So, dear readers, I won't be posting for a couple of weeks. Hopefully, when I get back I will have lots to share with you. Early voting doesn't start here until the 20th, so I have instructed Mike, in the event that I drown, fall off a cliff or get bitten by a rattlesnake, to have someone take my voter registration card, pretend to be me and cast my vote for Obama!