I’m going to rush through our time travels in the Grand Canyon because I’m eager to get to the last part of our story from four years ago (almost to the day) – and that’s Sedona. By the way, the time theme really didn’t come from Outlanders – despite the fact I’m now on Book 6 and know more about 18th century medicine than I ever thought I would, not to mention the battles of the American Revolution. But I digress.
When we last parted, J and I had survived an icy horseback ride in Flagstaff and had made it down to the Colorado relatively unscathed. After an easy night camping at Phantom Ranch, and encountering various Canyon dwellers who seemed on a perpetual hike through the Canyon, it was time to head back up.
We started with a couple of nice flat miles along the banks of the Colorado, stopping by some sandy beaches where we could touch the eerily turquoise water. Finally we turned upwards, each step taking us further away from the prehistory of the deep inner Canyon walls.
We hiked switchbacks up the Bright Angel Trail until we arrived at Indian River campground, about halfway to the top. Have I mentioned that the Grand Canyon has the most excellent toilet facilities of any outdoor area I have ever seen? Clean, eco friendly, non-smelly composting toilets. If you have followed this blog and have seen the facilities at Mt. Elbrus in the Caucasus Mountains of Russia – or possibly worse – Pico de Orizaba in Mexico, you’ll know what I mean. Pic0 de Orizaba is on the left below; Mt. Elbrus on the right with the barrels we stayed in just behind. And no, the black rectangle is not a shadow – it’s no door.
At sunset that night we hiked to a plateau overlooking the Canyon for dinner, where our talented guide managed to cook over a stove no bigger than a can of peas. The stone formations cast shadows and the only thing marring the effect is that we weren’t the only ones there. Hiking back to our tents in the dark was an interesting experience but none of us tumbled off the steep ledge.
The next day we hiked the remainder of the trek up. It was icy and we were just ahead of a storm. I was quite happy to put on the micro spikes our guide had stored in his pack. As we crossed the Tonto we met an elderly couple who were spending ten days hiking the Hermits Trail and others equally remote. Weatherbeaten and dusty, they apparently did a trip like this every year. They seemed like excellent role models.
But all good things end, and before lunch we were back at the top and in the 21st century – where a ream of emails flooded our phones, anxiously awaiting our reading. After a lunch of junk food – never did it taste so good- we made our way back to Flagstaff – where dinner at a cozy craft brewery completed this portion of the trip.
And then? After the time machine travel of the Canyon, there could only be one place to go – into the vortex. Sedona is next.