Now look really far over there to the right of the picture. See that kind of triangle-shape? Behind it, way in the distance are some switchbacks from the very top. You can’t really see them in this picture, gosh dang it, but they’re there so just imagine.
We came from there. That’s the South side. And ended up in the spot where I took that picture on the North rim. There’s a much higher elevation climb going up the North rather than the South so it was tough I tell you. 25.2 miles of sheer beauty and hard work. Legs like jell-o. Hearts swollen up with the grandeur of this earth we get to live in. And with gratitude.
Lots and lots of gratitude.
So let’s talk about that gratitude for a minute.
First of all, to spend a whole day looking at things like this cannot be half bad, right?
So grateful for them, especially that one with the Nike hat on the right because she put this whole shin-dig together.
And told me to hydrate and fuel well for days in advance.
And pushed me on a few hikes to get ready.
And has done this before so she knew exactly what to do and what we’d need.
That whole group except for the one in the front had done rim-to-rim before so they are pretty much experts.
In fact, see that guy in the back right? Well, he’s done rim-to-rim-TO-RIM in ONE DAY for crying out loud.
So we were in good company.
I had a lot of gratitude for this guy too:
Because honestly he could hike circles around me, and he loves a good competition and to be pushed, yet he hung with me and helped me get through the toughest part.
I love him.
Ok, so let’s back up to the morning. Or actually the day before because we were madly trying to throw things together after the last day of school…one pack to take across with us, one for the North rim we were sending with another couple who was meeting us there, one for the south, one for Memorial Day weekend we were heading to straight after and getting the girls all packed up for that since they were heading up with cousins to meet us there…phew, it felt good to get in the car and GO.
We got to the South Rim on Wednesday night, had a good meal with our group and headed to bed at the Red Feather Lodge which was kind of cool because Dave’s grandparents used to manage that place back in the day.
Slept awful because I always do before something like this, woke up at 4:45 and met up with our friends for the real-deal.
…And then it began:
All this beauty.
For miles and miles.
We took the Bright Angel Trial down.
In the beginning we hiked like ducks all in a row.
…but throughout the day we spanned larger and smaller with different groups.
And passed stuff like this:
It was so green in some spots!
…and so desert in others.
This was all the descent.
See all those switchbacks we were heading down to?
Yeah, lots of trail to cover!
…and tons of switchbacks.
We loved that these flowers popped up occasionally through the desert part at the bottom.
A little view of the path:
LOVED hitting the Colorado River at the bottom.
…and walking along it for a while.
We had come down from here:
Crossed over that thing…
…and got to Phantom Ranch where we ate lunch…
…and mailed some postcards to our kids.
…through a place called “The Box” because it is hot and goes for miles at a small incline…and is a desert:
Two of the couples from our group went and hit this waterfall:
I went half-way, but turned back to meet the group since I knew I’d need all the energy I could get to get up the North side.
But I loved seeing their pictures:
And some day I’ll put in the extra mile or two to hit that beauty too.
This straight-up North side was just Dave and me.
And within a couple miles we were looking way down on it.
Looking ahead I had no idea how we were going to get out of that thing!
Luckily I had this handsome coach telling me it was a mind game and I could do it:
Can you see those tiny little switchbacks down below?
An “easy” part going up:
Looking back to more of the switchbacks…can you see that teeny little path back there?
And finally to a stopping ground where we could take it all in…
…with these guys who were waiting for us:
That last .7 miles was pretty dang tough, Kristine and I stuck together waiting and waiting for that last switchback.
And then we were done.
We had been on that trail for nearly ten hours. Such an amazing way to spend a day.
We had to wait in our spent hiking gear for a while because the couple driving up to meet us with our overnight stuff got a flat tire (in our car, whoops), and were a little late. But it was pretty awesome to soak in that view for as long as we could.
…before having dinner with our whole group in that grand dining room, and sleeping in bunk beds in this cute little cabin:
The couple who came to meet us headed back to the South rim with our group bright and early the next morning while Dave and I hung out…
…had breakfast with this view:
And then headed off to meet up with his family.
Part of me was SO HAPPY time didn’t permit us to do the other rim-to-rim with everyone else…one way was plenty and part of me ached for those who were going again the next day.
But the other part of me…just a teeny tiny part…wished I could go with them and add to that adventure.
There’s always next year 🙂
Dave and I had a great six-hour drive to meet up with our kids and his family up in the mountains for the Memorial Day adventure that afternoon. All about that last post (here).
It was a Grand day hiking that Grand. One we sure won’t forget!