25 September 2010

The Big K-Day 4

25 Sep 2010--I forgot to mention something we overheard yesterday while walking around out on the west side of the canyon. Not that it is earth-shattering, but a tour guide pointed out that while the Grand Canyon is listed as one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, right down below where we were standing was the number 7 etched into the canyon...naturally! If you enlarge any of these pics, right about the middle shows the #7...it is not put there by anyone, it is just the way the canyon formed in that area.



We decided to take the plunge and do a hike today down into the canyon. My back was still a little tight, but I took some pain killers and off we went. We decided to take The Kaibab Trail after reading some info that said the sights were great. There are several points at which you can mark your progress, the 1st being Ooh Aah Point, followed by Cedar Ridge below that. We figured we would shoot for Cedar Ridge before turning back. I read something that said for every hour you descend into the canyon you should allow 2 hours to come back up, so that was in the back of my mind as we started out.



We knew that Ooh Aah Point was about 3/4 miles down, and that Cedar Ridge was 1 1/2 miles from the top, and neither of those seem that far, but you descend 750 ft in the 1st 3/4 miles alone. These switchbacks at the top are a killer, especially when you know in advance that you are going to have to come back up them at the end. They are ridiculously steep!
I read this sign and considered the amount of room I was going to have on the side of the mountain if a mule train had to pass me. Look at the 3rd pic and figure how much room for error there is here...and the 4th pic shows the potential drop!
Here we are heading into Ooh Aah Point, half way to our eventual destination. It took us 1 hour to get here, so I am thinking maybe we should head back up from here and call it quits. haha I can't get the 2 for 1 rule out of my head!
The views here are really ooh and aah. I wasn't going to do any more videos for a while, but I couldn't help myself.

video

We continue down into the canyon, stopping often for a lot of pics..




These 2 are stitch pics...the 2nd one a "trick" stitch! haha



We made the 2nd leg of the trip faster than the 1st, so we have reached our stopping point, over 1100 ft and a mile and a half from the top, after 1 1/2 hours of hiking. The views are fantastic, and I am thinking I am glad we did it, but I can't get out of my head that it may take 3 hours to go back up.



video
After about an hour at the bottom, and now ready to go back up, I am fortifying myself with some raisins. I am hoping that I am not one of the people that have to be rescued. (By the way, that tour guide from yesterday also said that they average 7 DEATHS from falls/dehydration every year in the canyon.)


We take a quick look back and head out...and up!




I am not taking hardly any pics on the way up...I had read these signs about the thinning air, and also taken into account my experience from Bryce Canyon, so I rested often on the way up.
Just when you think you are getting pretty tired, up ahead you see the dreaded switchbacks awaiting you. You probably need to blow these up to see the poeple walking up the side of the mountain.

Once again Cathy is ahead of me on this brutal ascent...you cannot imagine how steep these roads are!


We finally made it! And lo and behold, it only took us 1 1/2 hours to get to the top, the same as it took us to get all the way down. It wasn't easy by any stretch, but not anywhere as long as I thought it was going to be...I think because I took so many pics on the way down it distorted my imagined time frame coming back up. That was a pleasant surprise!

I took some bird pics while out today, the 1st 2 when we were down in the canyon. The 1st one, a bit blurry, is a raven, while I think the 2nd one is a hawk of some sort.

These birds were all flying into and out of an area that had a water fountain. A couple were blue birds, while the black and white one was actually a woodpecker of some sort...we saw him pecking a tree before he flew to the ground. I don't know what kind of bird it was in the 2nd pic, but it was pretty, so I took it anyway.

6 comments:

  1. Just finished talking to you, so you know everything I think!!!
    Fowarding onto the Corner Girls

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  2. I was going to make a comment about the guy climbing over that big rock but then I saw that you and Cathy did the same damn thing.
    OK, so I only have one question/comment...there is a pic of you in the section about Mules....where you have your foot set up on a rock on the side. I was looking at the pic and down below the big rocks in front of you, it looks like there is a little bear cub. I realize that it probably isn't but what do you think it is? (Brown, looks fuzzy.....)

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  3. Barb, a little bear cub is a stretch...I think all you are seeing is a hole in the rock!
    And Ellen, we never talked about the birds...so what do you think of them? haha

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  4. Upon reflection, I am glad I met you in Utah instead of here. I would never had been able to do the climbing. Goodness gracious!!! You ladies must be in the best shape of your life. I think I would have had to opt for the mules and then been to scared to appreciate anything. I bet that at the bottom you wished you had a mule.
    This country is simply amazing. God's plan for all of this is amazing. I don't know how anyone can look at all your blogs and not ba a believer.

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  5. Marie, I would ride up the mountain, but you coulodn't pay me enough to take one dwon...too steep and even some places where they would have to take steps on rocks...not a prayer! And yes, I did want one when I had to start back up the mountain! haha

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  6. I love the birds, take more pictures of the different birds where u go

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