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Old 08-19-2013, 04:35 PM   #16
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:47 AM   #17
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Day #9 & 10 continued.....

So we're cruising along the canyon seeing a bunch of different cool stuff. To say that the Grand Canyon is massive is an understatement.

NO picture will ever come close to reflecting what we were seeing. Just think that for every pic you see there is a 360 degree view of the same stuff.

It definitely makes you feel insignificant and you realize how petty we are with the stupid material possessions, homes, cars etc. that we prize so much in today's society.. We're just a blip on this planets history and we're very narcissistic thinking anything we do will have any real influence on the Earth. Makes you realize that every day is a blessing and just enjoy life for what it is. A short ride so enjoy every second you have with those you love!


Anyway!! It was a mind blowing experience. Every turn was like Christmas with new/awesome stuff to see. Condors cruising, Big Horn Sheep on the cliffs, Indian artifacts etc... Something I would suggest for any family especially those with kids over 10 years old. Something they'll never forget and you'll have fun too (unlike disneyland).

Off the soapbox and on with the pictures!


I think this is called the anaconda section. We hiked up the cliffs for about 45 minutes to get to this spot where a couple grain stash holes were up high to protect the food from river floods. Guess it didn't take too many times of your food being washed down the river for the old settlers to figure out they needed to stash food up high.

Before the dams were installed flash flooding could make the river rise 20-50+ feet in minutes. You'd see caverns where tree trunks would be wedged 50-100 feet up in the air from previous flash floods. The dams have stopped that and now it's all one continuous flow that rises small degrees whenever the dam does a "flush".

Pretty cool view from up there... If you look closely you can see our 40+ foot boats waaay down there. Just to the left of my left thigh.



With mama.... (sssshhhh... She's standing on a rock to look taller)




Further along we came across this HUGE CAVE that was created from swirling water eroding out the rocks during floods. This cave was ENORMOUS.




The boats you see in the pic are 40-43 feet long. Give you some idea of the size.




Along the way they took us to this big red cavern that was formed from a waterfall eroding out this basin for decades...



Mama....




to be continued.....

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Old 08-20-2013, 11:17 AM   #18
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awesome! i think i'll put that rafting trip on my radar for the fam next year. good stuff!
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Old 08-20-2013, 11:40 AM   #19
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GC continued....

So for the 1st 2 days it was rapids and awesome views with cool side hiking trips to check out stuff along the way.

I have to say that Canyoneers does it right. The 1st night we camped we had prime rib, garlic roasted potatoes, veggies, salad and cheesecake for desert. On the 2nd night we had halibut, veggies, rice, salad and chocolate cake for desert.

Not bad considering we were pretty removed form civilization and not a single cell phone was working. No electricity, no gaming systems, no cell phones, no computers, no sounds of cars or other modern static noise that we get so used to in our everyday lives. I was in HEAVEN!


A couple more pics and then I'll get on with the adventure....


Rough place to camp at huh???



View out of the tent:




Local Scenery:




Wife in a bikini for the boys!




A calm river section just relaxing and enjoying the views (wore bandanas everywhere. I did NOT want to get sunburned and then deal with that once we got back on the bike)



My wonderful wife:




Love this lady!

Phantom Ranch is a historic ranch that settlers used for many years. Good place to get "rested" (it's bunk bed, shared living so "rest" is a loose term when your bunk mates saw logs all night) for a night before starting the 9.1 mile long, 5,000+ foot climb out of the Grand canyon we had to do the next day....

One word about Bright Angel Trail.... BRUTAL IN AUGUST!!!

P.S. Thanks to everyone who sang Happy Birthday to me on the raft before we exited! Muchos Gracias!



to be continued....

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Old 08-20-2013, 12:22 PM   #20
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Fun stuff!

I hear ya being "over" SD occasionally and the need to get out.
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Old 08-20-2013, 12:52 PM   #21
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Love going to surf to get away from people only to show up at the spot and 100 of your best buddies are already there. That's about as alone as you can get here unless you go south to Mexico or out into the Dez to ride.

SD has it's awesome points. Mostly how everything you could want to do is within an hour drive (mountains, ocean, dez, mexico etc...) but the crowds are really starting to get on my nerves.

It's slowly but surely becoming L.A.

Sad but the smog is already here and the crowd is following. We can only hide for so long....


Quote:
Originally Posted by Shooby View Post
Fun stuff!

I hear ya being "over" SD occasionally and the need to get out.
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Old 08-20-2013, 12:56 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by surfnnride View Post
love going to surf to get away from people only to show up at the spot and 100 of your best buddies are already there. That's about as alone as you can get here unless you go south to mexico or out into the dez to ride.

Sd has it's awesome points. Mostly how everything you could want to do is within an hour drive (mountains, ocean, dez, mexico etc...) but the crowds are really starting to get on my nerves.

It's slowly but surely becoming l.a.

sad but the smog is already here and the crowd is following. We can only hide for so long....
word.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:37 AM   #23
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Day 11-12: Hell!

So day 11 was us staying at Phantom Ranch and then Day 12 came around and hell descended upon us.


We wake up at 4:45 a.m. to get an early start on this hike. 9.1 miles, going up 5,000+ feet was going to be a haul. Average time to get out of the canyon is a 6-10 hour hike. Its July 24th so were right in the middle of the hottest time of the year. Joy

So we eat a quick breakfast and check in with the "sweeper" of the group who is one of the canyoneers employees. Most of our group seems to be in good shape with the exception of one lady.

Her husband brought her on this trip and she hates heights and doesn't like hiking. She's been fussing quite a bit on this trip (she was in the other boat thank god) and my wife and I were looking at each other thinking there is no way this lady is going to make it out. She's probably in her mid/late 40's and pretty large. Did not bode well for her....

Anyway off we go and it's just right, left, right, left for a long way.

I'm dreading this hike as my legs are still shot from that hike we did back in Sedona and when we climbed up to the grain shafts they were hurting pretty bad and that wasn't even 1/4th of the hike we were going to do today.

I had brought the ECV vests with us because I knew it was going to be very very hot once we got out of the canyon shadows and the sun started beating down on us. They went on pretty early as it was already pretty warm when we left camp.


So to make a long story short this friggen hike was BRUTAL. We could have taken it at a much slower pace but we just wanted to get up as fast as possible so we could get as much downtime as possible that night since we had a 400 mile day on the bike the next day (not the best planning on my part).


6.5 hours to hike out. My leg were shaking, back was locked up, huffing and puffing like a flogged horse. My goose was cooked to say the least.

The worst part is the first 2/3rds of the hike is the "easier" part. The last 1/3rd is almost vertical (all switchbacks) and in the direct sun. Not fun


The rules of the trail are that people going up have the right of way. Our canyoneers guide warned us that most of the tourists who come down from the top do not understand this and to be careful.

That was an understatement. At first I was just moving out of peoples way on the way up. That was when I was at the 1/2 way point. As I kept going up it was getting tougher and tougher and more and more day tourists were hiking down a mile or two and then hiking back up.

So riddle me this.... If you're in a group of people, and then trail is only wide enough for 2 people to walk past eachother with a STEEP drop off always on one side or the other, why would you walk shoulder to shoulder and not move into a single file line when passing people???? I couldn't believe the amount of people hiking down who expected people hiking up to move out of their way because they were too important to be bothered with walking single file down the trail. I guess their conversations were that important compared to paying attention to the trail, being courteous, and most importantly SAFE since there are no handrails and it's a loooong drop off one side of the trail.


So now I'm about 3/4ths of the way up and I'm really starting to lose patience with people not moving. My wife and I were hiking single file the entire time. By the time I passed my 30th group of people shoulder checking me and not moving I was getting pissed. I would even look up at these groups of people walking down and they would look me dead in the eye and continue to walk right at me expecting me to move off the trail so they could walk 2 or 3 wide, side by side on a 2 person wide trail.

I lost it. I'm trying to be cool about this but I couldn't take it anymore. We were obviously BEAT DOWN and had been hiking a long time. Sometimes it's not a good idea to poke the old cranky bull and I'm 6'7 230 lbs.

I stopped moving off the trail and just stayed my line and lowered my shoulder. Well the first group of 8 or so people came barreling down again, all side by side and not moving, and I lit them up. Sorry Charlie. This gigante gringo was done being tolerant and it was game on.

The first person I hit spun off my shoulder like a top and swung towards the steep drop. I yelled at him to pay F*(@&^+# attention and he and his buddies yelled something back but kept going down. The next group that came down did the same thing and bam another shoulder into that group.

I was not aiming at them or trying to make contact. I was pressed as far right as I could be on the trail and they were still ramming into me as they were not paying attention.

I was seriously about to start going postal as I'm now 5+ hours into this hike, it's got to be close to 100 degrees, and I still can't see the top.


My wife is yelling at me to calm down before I hurt someone but at this point all I was seeing was red.


I think that vibe started to show in my body language because people started giving me a wider berth.

Whatever works I guess.



We finished up the last mile of hell and finally crested the top. I think I almost cried.



If anyone is thinking of doing this rafting trip I highly advise hiking DOWN to Phantom Ranch and ride the lower half of the grand canyon (bigger and better rapids there anyway) or do the long rafting trip that does the whole canyon. Hiking up SUCKED!


Some pics of the climb: I didn't take a lot because I was just more focused on putting one foot in front of the other.

Mama at the beginning of the trail:



About 2/3rds of the way up. You can see the switchbacks we've already climbed and the trail heading to the edge that drops off to the river. The tough part is just starting.... If you look at the picture above you've see a plateau way up at the top of the picture. That is the plateau about 2/3rds of the way up the picture below where the trail drops off the edge into the river/canyon part. It's a friggen haul!




We made it!! This trail should be called Wrong Angel Trail not Bright Angel Trail. Nothing "Bright" about it. We look dead sexy with these ECV vests on.



After that torture I had to hike another mile to go get the bike from the back country lot. Luckily it was still there and nothing seemed to be stolen.

Whew!

Checked into the El Tovar Hotel for the night and started sucking down advil, water and got some food in us. I knew I was going to be in a lot of pain the next day and we had a 400 mile day ahead of us through the heat again. Bleh.....


Did have some Elk hanging out in front of the hotel though. That was cool!





I do have to mention that after we got home we called canyoneers to see if that one lady made it out and she did without a lifeline. Took her 11 hours. Props to her for making it all the way. It was probably one of the biggest things she has ever had to overcome in her life. Impressive!


P.S. The MRs had to hike a 1/2 mile after the climb to get to the hotel, had to pick up our 2 x 25 lb bags from across town, and had to get back to the hotel on the bus system. She got yelled at by the douchenozzle busdriver for some stupid chit and by the time she got back to the hotel she just plopped down on the bed and had a nice long cry.

Just one of those days where we were both beaten down and we both knew how many miles we had coming as day 12 was ending and we have only done 540 of the 6000 miles on this trip.

38% of the days have passed and we've made it 9% of the way....

Somehow this math isn't working out right....


On to the next adventure on Day #13...

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Old 08-21-2013, 10:47 AM   #24
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Great pics!!
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:37 AM   #25
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Look at another wall. and keep riding.
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Old 08-21-2013, 01:25 PM   #26
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haha, yeah man digging the unadulterated style. tell it like it is!

if nobody ever puts these people in their place, they'll never learn any consideration for others. it's simple and it works.
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Old 08-21-2013, 02:44 PM   #27
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Day #13 - Zion


Woke up the next morning and OH MY GOD was I jacked up. Every inch of me was hurting and super tight. I'm kind of figured this would be the case but I thought I was in better shape from a lot of surfing and dirtbike riding.

Guess not....

Even mama was hurting and she works out 5 times a week.



So we know we have a long way to go today so we try to get on it early before the heat starts kicking in again. I think we departed as the sun was coming up and we got to see a HUGE bull elk eating some grass on the way out. First time we had seen a full sized male and they were friggen huge!

Unfortunately the sun was just coming up so pictures didn't happen and I wasn't all that keen on the idea of using a flash to get the pic. Might be a bit startling for him at 5 something in the morning and getting trampled by an Elk was not on my itinerary for the day.

So off we go. Bones creaking, muscles aching and both of us on short fuses already from fatigue.

We start banging miles down the 87 trying to get to Zion. GPS is reading 400 miles so we just put our heads down and pinned it as much as possible. We had to go down that same crappy section of the 87 again so we were both LOVING the bumps, dips etc.. along the road.



Came across this "All-In-One" Shop in AZ. Need your car fixed? Need Guns or Ammo? Need to play the Lotto? Need Beer?

Judd's has it all!




Anyhoo... Banging away and we're both getting hungry so we try to find a place to eat. First place we rolled up to was closed still but they had one interesting sign out front.


To many "Choking The Chicken" comments to be made here so fill in your own witty comment!




Ended up at the Galaxy Diner which had really good food:



Our GPS made many mistakes this trip but this one was a good one! Said 400 miles to Zion and it only turned out to be 220. Woot Woot!


Got to Zion and right past the gate the scenery changed dramatically.



Our first views of Zion:







LOVE this Panoramic picture of the Zion Mountains.






Route taken from South Rim on the Grand Canyon to Zion NP: Ignore the yellow line coming from the right. I cross back through here on the way home.



Zion adventures to be continued....
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Old 08-21-2013, 03:12 PM   #28
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Day #13 continued....

So we get to the Zion Lodge and as usual we are too early for the check in so we decide this would be a good time to catch up on laundry.

Cruised over to Springdale (3 miles outside of the Zion Park) and got the laundry done. I think we were down to our last pair of chonies by this point so laundry was a priority.



Springdale is a cute little town with all sorts of restaurants and things to do. We didn't stay here long as we were eager to get checked into the Zion Lodge so we could figure out what we were going to do today and the following day.

OH!!! We did eat at this place called Oscars in Springdale. OMG that had to be one of the best burgers I have ever had. HIGHLY recommend Oscars to anyone in the Zion/Springdale area.



While we were doing our thing we got to see some of the local wildlife:

Starving Deer:



And a Wild Turkey:



Sorry about the bad pics. Crappy/Dirty cell camera.



Not much else happened this day as we were both exhausted and getting on each others nerves.


This was one of those times to see if "absence does make the heart grow fonder" and I went for a ride while mama stayed at the Lodge to relax.


Day 14 in Zion to be continued later....
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Old 08-24-2013, 10:23 AM   #29
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Day 14 - Zion Day 2

So we wake up on Friday and oh man are we tore up. Bones creaking and sore everywhere. This might have an effect on what we are going to do on our last day in Zion....

So up we go and grab some breakfast and then what? We go over the NP map and there are some choices... The narrows, emerald pools orrrrr Angels Landing.

Narrows is a canyon with super narrow passageways and you have to swim/wade through most of the hike up stream for up to 10 miles if you want to go that far. Not steep but just upstream, in water, for most of the hike.

Emerald Pools is what it says it is and that's a nice leisurely hike for 4 or 5 miles.

Angels Landing is a strenuous vertical hike for 2.5 miles with a very sketchy assent to the summit that has 2,000 ft drops on both sides of the 3 foot wide trail. Not for the faint of heart or those scared of heights.


After a lot of back and forth with the Mrs... we decide to just start hiking North and we'd figure it out along the way.


Well I wasn't wanting to hike uphill anymore but the thoughts of beautiful views and some excitement with vertical drops I decided on Angels Landing.


Another brilliant move on my part as now we'll have hiked around 2 miles up and around 20 miles in the past week. Legs were not doing so hot.


So off we went and it was a doozy of a climb. Below is the beginning of the trail and it just got more vertical from this point on. The trail was all paved until you got to the crazy stuff so at least the hike was easier without having to boulder hop etc...




My arse was getting kicked badly! Legs were shaking, back was jacked etc... My wife thought this pic was funny because I was DYING!





We got to the first lookout and that's where my wife called it a day. She doesn't do well with heights and when she looked up at the next portion of the climb she said "Hell No".

You hike right over that spine with drops on both sides... The "official" sign at this point said only 5 or 6 people have died climbing this trail but when I was talking to some park employees they were saying that 2 people had fallen to their deaths in the past 3 years. Considering how long this has been hiked I'm thinking the # is quite a bit higher than that.




Here is some of the edges you have to walk past on the way up. 3 feet to my right is a vertical 2000 ft drop. Behind me is where the "spine" starts and then it's 2K drops on both sides of you with only a 4 foot wide walkway at some points.



Right side of the the spine as I'm heading up.




Heading up the Spine looking down at the people coming up behind me. Don't fall right!




Same thing but don't fall left this time! Notice how everyone is in the crawling position. Everyone was using a 3, or 4, point stance quite a bit. Back up that spine behind the people is where mama is waiting. You traverse that spine the whole way.



Yes I'm with Stupid... aka myself




Finally made it to the top and man what a view! It was named Angels Landing because one of the early explorers said "Only an Angel can land there". Hence the name... (pic doesn't do it justice as usual) First pic is looking to the right from the summit and the others are looking left.







Hell of a view but time to head down as mama has been waiting for an hour now.

She got to enjoy some nice views on the way down though.



Got to the bottom and by this point my body is so beat down that I start to lose it...




Had dinner and went back to the lodge and called it a day. Need some rest before we head off to our next adventure tomorrow....
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Old 08-24-2013, 03:12 PM   #30
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How does that ride, a full-dresser with an apehanger bar? Looks silly, but hey if it's comfortable to ride.........
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