Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Grand Canyon

It was an experience of a lifetime.  My girlfriend Laurie turned 40 this year, and her dream was to hike Rim to Rim.  I was the lucky recipient of a last minute invitation to join the fun with Laurie and our good friend Heather.  I absolutely couldn't resist saying yes to an already planned trip and am beyond thankful to my amazing husband who immediately agreed.  Bucket list item checked off!!

We drove to the south rim Saturday, September 26th, caught the 4 hour shuttle to the north rim and spent the night at the Grand Canyon Lodge.  This was extra special for me, as my grandmother Mema used to take the train from Topeka in the summers throughout college to work at the Lodge as a server/singer/actress/etc.  There is a special family story about my grandfather Bobby taking the train to meet her there and escort her home after her father died. It's a place I've always wanted to visit and I was beyond thrilled to see in person.  The views from the north rim are out of this world, and even more amazing than the more popular south rim.  Definitely worth the long drive.

Sunday morning, we awoke at 4:30am, ate a quick breakfast in our cabin and took a short van ride to the start of the North Kahibab trail.  We had a little (!?!) mishap seven miles into our journey and spent over three hours at Cottonwood campground.  But after regrouping and continuing our adventure, we made it through Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon (14 miles in), and back up the South Rim on Bright Angel trail (9.5 miles) for a total of 23.5 miles.  

Due to our delay, we were hours behind schedule.  But sometimes things work out as they are supposed to.  What made our adventure even more was the same night as the lunar eclipse.    I have never experienced such darkness as when the moon disappeared...we would turn off our headlamps during breaks and could not see our hands in front of our faces.  But once the full moon was uncovered, it appeared as though there was a spot light on both the south and the north rim.  There are no words for this once in a lifetime, magnificent event.  

View from the South Rim while waiting for the shuttle
Heather and I look into the canyon and asked "what did we get ourselves in to?"

sunset over the north rim.
the peak in the very far, middle left is Humphrey's Peak (Snowbowl ski resort in Flagstaff) 

lindsay, laurie, heather

5am start.  sunrise in the Grand Canyon is beyond words

Thank you Laurie for including me on this adventure.  Trip of a lifetime!

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