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Waking as ice cubes once again, we decided to drive to the Bright Angel Trail head armed with water, salty snacks, sunscreen, lunch and layers.

They should really rename this elevation dropping, switch-backing trail into the canyon to Bright Angle Trail because it is steee … eeep, sorry I got out of breath just thinking about it.

People die on this trail every year because they simply just underestimate the trail, are unprepared and over-extend themselves. The park service strongly advises people to start hiking early and stop hiking between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. so you’re out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day.

And since the Grand Canyon is so X-treme not only are you supposed to drink a ton of water, but every time you drink you need to eat something salty. Basically you can either die of drinking too little or die of drinking too much and sweating out all your salt.

Despite the danger, we made it down to the 3 mile rest house intact and decided to rest until after 4. We ate our lunch while some very vicious outgoing squirrels attacked us. I got out my watercolors, Alejandro read some of his book and fell asleep. A terrifying friendly squirrel woke him up by jumping on his head.

We still had a long time to wait until 4 p.m. rolled around. And none of the other hikers were paying attention to the time. Even overnight campers with heavy gear were stopping for a few minutes and continuing up and down the trail.

So we made a rash decision: to hike back up before noon.

We soaked our shirts with water and hiked, slowly, up the canyon wall.  About a mile in, our clothes were dry again. We made it to the 1st rest house and ran into a lot of tourists that had woken up later than we did.

They were in flip-flops and tube tops. Some weren’t even carrying water.

The closer we got to the top the more unprepared hikers we ran into. One woman with a perfectly made-up face was wearing a mini skirt. I did not envy the park service that day.

Tried and hungry we reached the top. We feasted on victory bacon cheeseburgers and redemption cheesecake hoping we’d be able to move the next day.


(Just in case you were beginning to get confused this is a very extended recap of the road trip Alejandro and I went on to get back to Oregon from Savannah, Ga. I made a few posts during the drive, but most of the time I was too busy/exhausted/without internet. We took 12 days to drive across the country starting June 3.)

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We woke up feeling like dry ice, lips chapped and freezing.  After putting on every semi-warm item of clothing with us, we awkwardly suavely moved our tent from site 117 to 177.

We headed toward the rim. Was I excited to see this monument I had driven 1800+ miles to see? Yes, but, I was also incredible cold.

Could a vast abyss warm my soul?

WHATWHATWHATWHATWHAT.

In the words of Tina Fey parodying Sarah Palin, “you betacha.”

We spent the day viewing vista after vista on the Hermit’s Rest bus route. And gazing down at the hike I wanted to go on the next day: Bright Angel Trail, a switch-backing elevation changing beast.

Unprepared professional athletes have died overdoing it on this trail so we weren’t convinced if it was a good idea. But on the bus ride back from the sunset that night a couple in their 60s told us they had hiked it in their 20s and it was unforgettable. They told us not to miss it.

I usually don’t trust strangers, but, I really love hiking. I hoped me+them would convince Alejandro to go.

All that was left was the unbearable coldness of sleeping.

Hoods up, sleeping bags zipped and over our heads. We had no trouble waking up at 5 a.m. the next day to get ready for our hike because it is quite possible that our brains were just frozen and we never went to sleep.

Introducing Satellite View.

(Just in case you were beginning to get confused this is a very extended recap of the road trip Alejandro and I went on to get back to Oregon from Savannah, Ga. I made a few posts during the drive, but most of the time I was too busy/exhausted/without internet. We took 12 days to drive across the country starting June 3.)

To Sum up: We were living the life in Santa Fe, New Mexico. And we were about leave it all behind in search of a giant hole in the ground.

Along the way we stopped in Gallup, a place I will always remember.  I stepped unsuspectingly, almost reluctantly, into the Gallup Taco Bell expecting nothing but burritos. Instead I found real life Juggalos, well Juggalettes to be precise.

I wanted to ask them to take a picture with me, but, despite the fact that they were young girls the face paint and hoods made me unsure if they would be receptive to that kind of attention. Maybe they think my camera will steal their soul, I thought to myself, and decided to just capture them in my memory forever.

About 100 miles after Gallup came another pleasant surprise. The dessert turned to small shrubs, then large shrubs and then trees. I was astounded.

When we turned off the highway toward the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, I thought things would die down. They did for a bit but then they were back and the trees continued to grow larger and thicker the closer we got to our aforementioned giant hole.

What I expected to see close to the rim.

What was actually next to the Grand Canyon. Note: please enjoy looking at all the bugs we murdered on the windshield.

By the time we reached the campground  we had seen a lot of trees, missed the overlook, but found site 117 and set up camp. We thought it was strange that the other campsite’s tent was so close to our random-item-strewn picnic table. But we were worn out from the drive and decided to just go to bed.

Sometime after we fell asleep, a nice asian man informed us that our site number was actually 177 and asked us if we could please move our car so he could park for the night in his campground.

Mystery solved.

Fortunately as well as being very insightful he was also forgiving and beseeched us to stay the night.

“It is too late to move your tent,” he said, “stay, stay.”

We went back to sleep feeling like fools. Tomorrow we would move the tent and hopefully find that canyon.

EXTREME GOOGLE MAPING.