When I first arrived at the Grand Canyon, I had trouble getting close to the rock wall at the edge. Some places do not even have that rock wall. I spent the first hour being afraid for other peoples little kids. Gradually, my fears started to cease. I realized that I am in control of me and I am level headed so I'll be fine. Eventually I found I could sit on that rock wall and even gaze over the edge and feel exhilarated! Having been here last week for a day and then being able to go away for awhile, I was able to process my fears. I do realize that unknown things can seem really scary. Once a person is able to face their fears, there fears have no power and they aren't scary any more.
So yesterday I decided that I would get up today and walk down Bright Angle Trail from the upper rim. A person can decide to turn around whenever they want, but I knew there were three possible turn around points for me. 1.5 mile in, 3 miles in and 4.5 miles in. Remember, what goes down MUST come back up. It is advised that what ever the time is it takes you to descend, it will take you twice as long to ascend. I was ready to do 3 miles down.
As I started down the path I could see mule droppings.
The views were spectacular!
It is said that you should plan on the hike back to where you start the trail to take twice as long as the hike down into the canyon. My original goal was to hike three miles in or six miles total. After I made it to the first water/rest room stop at 1 1/2 miles, I decided that would be far enough this time.
I was surprised at how much my knees were hurting on the hike down. The incline is much more than I thought. The elevation change to reach the 1 1/2 mile marker is 1000 feet.
As I started the trip back to the top of the rim, I started playing an unintentional game of Leap Frog with several other hikers. We'd all go to the next spot of shade and then need to rest a bit. Eventually a fellow hiker and myself struck up a conversation. Her name was Carol and she was from Scotland!
We chatted about being at the Grand Canyon and our lives. We discussed our families, our dogs and life. Today was Carol's birthday! What a fantastic way to celebrate your birthday!
Carol said she told herself she would get an ice cream cone when she got to the top. I loved that goal!
It took me an hour and a half to walk down to the 1 1/2 mile marker, but only two and a half hours to walk back up! The ice cream was a nice incentive.
Carol's daughter was traveling with her. Wendy eventually found us sitting under the overhang of the ice cream shop, out of the rain. Connecting with Carol made me realize how much I enjoy the company of others. Traveling alone has had it's good moments, but has also made me sad. I am thankful that I shared my ascent with someone. Thank you, Carol! I hope the rest of your travels are filled with happy memories and Happy Birthday again!
In my quest to continue learning about the canyon and those who created the structures around it, I went to the Bright Angel History Room. In there I found out more about the famous Harvey Girls and teacher turned architect, Mary Colter. This is just one example of Mary Colter's work at the Grand Canyon.....
I spent part of my time hiking around the rim wall of the canyon on the look out for the "Sweetheart" rock. One of the workers told me about it, but I can't recall it's history. I've tried googling it only to see that CCC workers constructed the original wall in 1933. This is one time I wish I'd have written down what was said to me. I feel like I found a Hidden Mickey, all my Disney loving friends will understand.
Later in the afternoon I attended a ranger talk on the California Condors. Ranger Ty gave a very informative talk with props!
He talked about how big the Condors wingspan is (9 1/2 feet as an adult), what they eat (they are scavengers and only eat dead things) and how in 1980 there were only 22 left in the whole world! He showed us what one of their eggs may look like and he talked about how all the Condors were captured and encouraged to breed. His puppet is what biologists used to help raise the babies from the eggs they gathered so they wouldn't bond to humans. In 2011 the population of condors in the wild was up to 191. Currently 70 live in the Grand Canyon. All the Condors there are tagged with a number. A pair of binoculars or a good camera can help visitors see these tags. If you see the number, you can go up to any ranger and they have a card in their pocket with information about each bird on it! How cool is that! They can tell you if it is a boy or a girl, how old it is and where it was born.
Attending this Condor talk helped me earn this...don't be jealous...
Yes, I am officially a Junior Ranger....Scorpion Level (ages 11+)
I'm sure were my family with me I would NOT have done this. How sad, I had so much fun! I had other activities I had to do as well to earn my badge.
Just remember, one is never to old to learn or to have fun!
To end my day I decided to go watch the sunset at the East end of the South Rim.
As I left my lodge, I saw this:
Yes, he was real and yes, they will charge and yes, people are CRAZY!
I had my zoom lens on. No sense tempting fate if I don't have too!!!
The sunset was beautiful and I loved how as it finally dropped behind the rocks,
everyone clapped and cheered.
|the rocks start to turn vibrant as the sun sets|
|This may be one of my favorite pictures from my trip!|
What did I learn today:
*scary things aren't so scary if you face them and take their power away
*I can do things that scare me
*finding a friend to share an adventure with is fun
*I love learning! (I think I've found this out several times now!)
*Nature is pretty cool!