Yesterday we took the plunge. (Not literally.) We hiked from the rim, down into the canyon. There were 1.5 mile rest stations that provided water and restrooms. A great idea.
Going down was easy and somewhat fun. We hiked at a brisk pace. Each step took you deeper into the canyon, and as long as you did not look back you could be deceived at to how easy it was.
Of course there were a few times where we looked up and saw how far down we had gone. Because we were not tired, we could not appreciate the exertion it would take to climb back out of the canyon.
At one rest station a sign said, “Going down is optional; going up is mandatory.”
At the 1.5 mile marker we took a long break at the rest area. The girls thought it would be best for them to turn back. They did. Haydn and I wanted to go farther down. We did.
We left them at the rest station and continued our journey. Minimally, we wanted to get to the 3 mile rest station. The girls hung out a bit longer–maybe 30 minutes–and then began the ascent.
Haydn and I passed this guy coming up. He was somewhere between staggering and falling down. He asked how long to the 1.5 rest station. He was about 400 yards from it, though he could not see it because of all the bends in the zig-zag trail that clung to the side of the canyon walls.
We met another guy about 30 minutes later. He was coming up too. He left at 4AM for the Colorado River. He made it by 8AM–so he said, and swam until around noon, and made the long journey back to the top.
We met him around 4PM. He had been walking out for four hours and was about 2.5 miles from the rim. He looked totally wasted.
The canyon is a mile deep as the crow drops. It is nine miles from the rim to the Colorado, as a person walks. I would have loved to gone all the way to the river, but we left around 2PM, which was not the best time.
We made it to the three-mile rest station around 4:30PM. We hung there for a while and then began our ascent back out.
On the journey out we passed the guy who had gone to the river. He was hiking about 100 feet and then resting. I was surprised to see him. We passed him as we were going down and then passed him as we were going up. I’m not sure what time he made it out of the canyon. By the time we saw him the second time, he had been hiking for 12 hours.
The first mile going up was not too bad. The second 1/2 mile to the 1.5 mile rest stop was arduous. Haydn hiked it like a boy: I could hardly tell he was winded or tired. Oh for that kind of energy.
I longed to go to the river. The next time, if there is a next time, I’m doing the full 18 mile trip.
It was truly a blast to do this with my son.
We prayed for Ansa at the 1.5 mile that the LORD would sustain her. She was doing some big talking most of the way down, but it began to hit her the last 1/2 mile.
I was not sure she would be able to make it out, but the LORD did a good thing for her: He sustained her. She was chatty most of the way up, according to Lucia, which was a stunner given the fact how small she is and the climb she had to make. I was so encouraged in the LORD and with her.
After arriving back at the lodge I could not move so well. My body was reacting: it was shouting for pain relief.
Today was a good day even though I did not sleep until 4AM because of my body trying to simmer down from hiking shock, but the LORD prevailed again. We made a quick trip of about 400 miles to Phoenix.
We’re staying with some friends of some friends. They are so kind and hospitable to put us up for a few days. I will be speaking at a local church in Phoenix on Sunday.