28.10.2006 20 °C
Grand Canyon National Park, a World Heritage Site, encompasses 1,218,375 acres and lies on the Colorado Plateau in northwestern Arizona. The land is semi-arid and consists of raised plateaus and structural basins typical of the southwestern United States. Drainage systems have cut deeply through the rock, forming numerous steep-walled canyons. Forests are found at higher elevations while the lower elevations are comprised of a series of desert basins. The Canyon, incised by the Colorado River, is immense, averaging 4,000 feet deep for its entire 277 miles. It is 6,000 feet deep at its deepest point and 15 miles at its widest
We were picked up by Rob, our guide, at 7am and set off for the Canyon, about an hours drive from Flagstaff. On the way we picked up Letrice, an older lady who was also accompanying us.
We arrived at the Canyon and took some photos as we drove to park the car. It was a lovely sunny day. It had said it would rain but the blue skies gave us confidence.
Rob kitted us all out with all our gear, including rather heavy backpacks and walking sticks. I laughed and said I wouldn't need the sticks but Rob told me that they really help lessen the pressure on your ankles and knees when walking down and aid pull ourself up on the walk back out of the canyon. Really glad I took them!!
The walk down was nice and slow paced as Letrice was a little slower than the rest of us. We stopped numerous times to take picutes - it's a really impressive place, the scenery and colours are amazing and it is sooooo big.
We stopped to have lunch and whilst tucking into our chicken wraps a rather large spider came to join us. Rob informed us it was a tarantula. Then it's mate turned up too and I decided that lunch time was over and moved on!
They were big spiders.
We got to our camp about 3pm and set up our tents. Then Laura and Rob went further down the canyon to collect some water whilst Letrice and I waited at the top for them - it looked too steep for me and it would have taken Letrice about 3 days to climb down and back out!!
It had started to cloud over a little and we did have a few spots of rain which gave the canyon a totally different appearance and resulted in a number of rainbows.
That night, Rob cooked Teriyaki tuna with courgettes and mash potatoes on a small gas fire and we finished off with chocolate pudding. No beans and sausages for us!!
No showers either and only a pit for a toilet which smelled like nothing I've ever smelt before and was surrounded by flies. It was the bush for us then, good job we only needed to pee!
As there's not that much to do in the Canyon after dark we were all in bed by about 9pm. At around 11pm it started to rain and didn't stop.
We were up around 7am for breakfast (choc chip pancakes!) and then we cleared everything up and set off walking about 11am. The rain was still coming down hard and we were all a little achey from the day before so the going was a little slower!
Laura and I made quite good time but unfortunately Letrice was more than a little slow and Rob had to wait for her. We managed to get to a spot where we'd stopped the previous day on the way down. We decided to stay here and wait for Rob so that we could get the car keys off him. We figured it would be warmer here than higher up in the carpark. We waited for just over an hour, getting colder and colder as time passed. When Rob rounded the corner we were absoltutely frozen and soaking wet. We grabbed the car keys and off we went.
The last bit was the worst for me. It was really steep and there were quite a few points where if you stumbled you'd be an obsolute goner. I don't know why I didn't notice this on the way down but it just seemed much higher and steeper climbing back up!
We got to the car, changed into some dry clothes and then sat with the heating on waiting for Rob and Letrice. They emerged about 2 hours later!!!
It was a really good trip. Even the rain didn't spoil it that much!
For the next 2 days we could hardly walk!!
Next stop, Las Vegas!