The Grand Canyon

Hey Dad,

Grand Canyon day!

I knew before I left the UK my plans for the canyon would have to change. There is one ranch at the bottom of the canyon, but when I tried to make a reservation I was told there was an 18 month waiting list! This meant we would not be able to hike the whole way down as we would not have enough time to come back up again. 

On the way to the canyon, we passed through a town called bedrock. There for some unknown reason is a Flintstones land. We had to check it out! Sure enough there was a whole area that looked like the cartoon. Cars, houses, and statues of all our favourite characters. It was seriously weird. There was even a small cinema playing loops of the cartoon using plywood as a projector back drop! The whole place had a really eerie and strange feel to it. After playing on the swings and the cars we jumped back in the car. 

Once we found parking, which was a laugh a minute, we hopped on the shuttle bus to take us to the start of the ‘Bright Angel Trail’ fresh faced, armed with as much water and food as we could carry we set off down the trail. To say this place is breath taking is the biggest understatement ever! Dad everyone should come and see this place, it is simply unvelieveable. Photos will never do the grand canyon justice. You can see the different layers of rocks, and the colours were constantly changing. It is by far one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen, and now we are hiking through it. 

The trail down was like a dusty path, even the best not slip shoes didn’t stand a chance! Depending on where you were in the trail, the dust turned from white to red. The dust got everywhere! We were covered in it. It also stuck to the suntan lotion all up our legs. Our shoes will never be the same again! 

We carried on hiking down, looking at the pain on other people’s faces walking up. Rhys was singing along, then some guy on his way back up laughed and told him he would be singing on his way back! 

We stopped for photo opportunities, played with the echo the rocks created and filled up on water. After two hours of walking we made it to a rest stop. Rhys wanted to keep going down, but I was not convinced it was a good idea. The ranger explained that it takes twice as long to get up as it does going down. I was also  aware the sun drops fast, and it gets dark very quickly around here, I did not want to dive the hour and a bit back to Williams having a repeat of Yosemite! 

Eventually Rhys conceded, and we thought getting back to the top in time for sunset would be a better plan. At the rest stop, we got talking to a girl called Karmen. She explained how she had been hiking for four days in the canyon with her friends, but they had all gone on ahead and left her. She was about my age and looked completely drained.  She also had all of her supplies with her in a back pack. Rhys picked up the bag and thought it must weigh about 4o pounds. As we started our climb up, we asked Karmen of she wanted some company. She greatly accepted. She could barely stand.  Being the Knight in shining armour Rhys is, he offered to carry her bag for her! I have never seen anyone look so grateful. 

We started to climb out way back up, but Karmen was so exhausted we had to keep stopping.  At first the breaks were little and not very often, but after the first few hundred meters the stops became very often and for much longer. We knew she was struggling, but at the rate we were going we would not be up the canyon before dark. Eventually Rhys took off his back pack from her and carried it on his front.  He now looked like a pack horse! We got to half way, and it had taken us so long I knew catching sunset was out. Oh well. We pushed Karmen through, asking stupid questions and playing silly games. Anything to take her mind of putting one foot in front of the other. We stopped a little after half way for a food break too. We kept going, stopping at nearly every corner, gently pushing her forward, it was getting pretty dark by now!

Somehow we made it to the top! It was dark, it took probably 2 hours longer then it should have, but the three of us made it. At the top of the trail stood Karmens friends.  They looked a little confused as to who we were, then it downed on them in their torchlight Rhys had her bag on. Karmen gave us both the biggest hug, thanked us a million times over and called us her guardian angels. We may have missed sunset, but we helped someone achieve hiking the grand canyon. 

We walked back to the shuttle, thinking that although we lost two hours, it was now dark and we wee getting cold, we will stick in Karmens mind for a very long time.

Starving, we stopped at the first place we found.  McDonald’s. We decided to order one large meal between us, and it was definetly enough to feed two!

After a long drive back, the shower to get rid of the dust was the best feeling ever. My skin was red, and there was just dust everywhere! 

What an amazing day dad, I am not sure hiking would have been your idea of fun, mum saw the canyon in a helicopter, which sounds more up tour street, but I would come back just to get to the bottom of the canyon!

Night dad x

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