May 22, 2017 § Leave a comment
We did it! May 20th, we completed the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike in just over 16 hrs. I read that is about average. Yesterday and today I am doing the “Kaiabab Shuffle”, so sore, and I seem to forget that I can bend my knees when walking.
We started out at about 6 a.m., and decided to participate in a Rim to Rim hiker study conducted by New Mexico University. After a few questions, weigh-in (person and pack), biometric reading, O2 percentage, BP and blood draw (for my sisters, not me–I need to be upright) we went on our way. I was given a Fitbit to monitor heart rate and and iphone to play two games every three hours to monitor mental fatigue during the hike. There was a device on my pack that monitored temperature and elevation.
In all my hurry, I left my hat in the car in Utah. My 10-year-old nephew let me use his hat, bless his heart. This hat made lots of people happy on the trail. “I love your hat!” they would say smiling as they passed. I adored this hat and I am getting one of my own. Funny, I hate the color yellow, but minions are fun and I love this hat. I also left my trekking poles home. Ugh! They would have been helpful.
This was a learning experience of what I will make sure to pack for the next time.
Just to get it out of the way early, I slipped and felt my ankle twist during the first mile. Walk it off. The ankle was great, but the knee started to go downhill and made going downhill severely painful. Medical sisters to the rescue! I love them and glad they are medical people; that’s why they make the big bucks. I brought band-aids and IBU 800mg. Valerie packed an ace bandage and the pharmasister had some super fix-me up cream for muscle/nerve pain and we were off. It really didn’t feel good at all, but better going up hill, about 14 miles later. By the end, both knees were complaining.
The South Kaiabab Trail doesn’t change much, so I only took a few pictures. It’s a whole lotta downhill at a 14% grade. The temperature was just right and we shed layers and gloves as we went. A lot of people decided this would be a great day to hike or run the trails. I met someone who thought he would get out of his Los Angeles comfort zone and ride the mules. He said, “never again”, but he was still smiling. I liked him.
We decided that Grand Canyon is the Happiest Place on Earth. Everyone seemed to be having a great day. Everyone was smiling and friendly- not a grumpy person…I still think it was the hat.
Bright Angel Trail was the first water stop. Cold, good water. They chose a horrid time to close the restrooms for cleaning, tho. So, pressing onward, we ventured to Phantom Ranch where we ate in the shade of trees and rested. It was at this place we met a man and his dog, Charleston. We would cross paths with them frequently for the rest of the hike. He works for LVMPD as an IT guy, and does Search and Rescue. We had that in common, anyway.
The longest 6.5 miles of the entire trek were next. They tell you to avoid the “box” during the hot afternoons for very good reason. I didn’t have short sleeves and it was sometimes horribly hot. Shade was a very welcomed treat on the trail. We’d quiz people along the trail to see how far Cottonwood campground was. Every person we talked to said, “2 miles”. We felt like we were on a treadmill going nowhere. Clay and I ran out of water just before the campground, so when I asked the ditzy blonde girl she said, “What campground? Oh, about 2 miles.” REALLY!?! There were some intelligent looking people not far behind her that pointed just ahead. Hallelujah! Fifty yards away was some bless-ed water and bathrooms! We bandaged, taped, medicated, took the bandage off my knee, snacked and rested for a while.
Along the trail there were a lot of squirrels, lizards, a few bridges to cross, and a newly formed water feature in the middle of the trail (probably a broken pipe) that made the ground vibrate. We were amused and Valerie thought it made a great foot massager.
A Rim2Rim2Rim hiker told us it wasn’t there earlier in the day. We didn’t meet many people after Cottonwood and almost seemed to have the place to ourselves. Going up the North Rim is BEAUTIFUL! Much better scenery to enjoy. Yucca, cactus and a lot of other flowers bloomed. So pretty.
Valerie walked faster than this gimpy sister, but I wasn’t too far behind her. Caroline and Clay walked and rested. I’d keep an eye out for them. Clay was probably the youngest person I saw on the trail. He did pretty well for a 13-year-old. We are all proud of him.
About 5 pm we were out of the sun for the rest of the journey. Sooooo much better! Off came the shades and hats and temperatures cooled down as we ascended. Some of the best features were in this stretch. Next time, I will try the Bright Angel Trail to North Rim.
Caroline and Clay arrived at my rest spot after I’d had dinner consisting of salmon in a pouch, some cliff bar and peanuts. Yummy!
Remembering to eat was difficult. I eat when hungry, and in this heat, I wasn’t. Caroline reminded me to eat something just after I hurt my knee as she handed me a handful of chewy Sweetarts. That second game I had to play for the study was evident I was not eating enough, so I became pretty vigilant about self-assessments. My brain was on the fritz. It’s amazing that a body burns the amount of calories it does on this trip: a whopping 5,000 minimum.
As it got dark, it got colder, so we dawned our headlamps and layers. Pretty soon, it was really dark and we four hiked together. It was cold enough to see your breath! It’s really different, hiking in the dark. You have no sense of where you are, only what’s in the beam of the headlamp. I hope to see the rest of the North Rim on the next trip.
We arrived at the last water stop and soon a group of Chinese people came along, listening to the Carpenters of all things, so we had a little sing-along, and then Jeff and Charleston made it in a few minutes later. We kept hiking and hoping to see a tunnel that let us know we were less than 2 miles away from the top. That tunnel took forever to show up! Caroline told me and Valerie to hike ahead and find her family to tell them we were doing okay. So, off we went. I kept stopping and waiting to see their flashlights on the trail or calling until Caroline could answer me. I started to get worried and didn’t like leaving them behind at all. Valerie traveled on ahead of me. Stopping to take a break, I noticed a broken branch just hanging in a bush, so I walked with my staff and it was so much better for my knee. I knew then I would NOT forget my trekking poles next time!
The stars were so bright and clear. The constellation of Scorpius seemed so large at that time, and Antares was so vibrant.
North Rim “steps” are harder. No going fast! The grade incline on the North Rim is 20 percent and I am used to 15 percent. I stopped to get into my pack and met a man coming down the trail looking for his friend. He told me I was only 10 minutes away from the top. I was elated! On the way out, I also passed a sign that said, “No Pets on Trail”. I wonder if that was why the Ranger asked us if we’d seen “a man with a dog” at Cottonwood. Ooops!
I gave the university students their equipment back, finished my last games and took their survey. Caroline and Valerie finished their testing and we loaded up to go back to Utah.
Brent gave us all a nice surprise as we got into the car, t-shirts for our accomplishment!
We’re in the club!
May 11, 2017 § Leave a comment
The hiking continues with my sisters and doing inclines on my treadmill. I am finding it difficult to get myself outdoors without other people and would rather ‘hike’ in my house. The scenery isn’t as compelling, and only deepens the compelling need to dust and vacuum the patio room or pull the weeds outside the windows.
The 10 mile hike was to be at the Subway, but it was closed due to snow. So, we ended up in Snow Canyon and had a good time there.
The next group hike was in Beaver. We walked from my sister’s house, around the South Creek Loop, up to the ‘B’ on the mountain and back to her house. The second part of the hike was from the North Creek Loop to her house. I had trouble with my new hiking shoes…really with the insert I bought. I think it had a lot to do with my shoe eating no less than eight band-aids, 5 moleskin (tape and fuzzy stuff) and giving me a blister from hell. My pharmasister called my dad to come and pick me up a mere 1.30 miles from the end. Bummer. I still went 18 miles! YAY!
No hiking for me for the next weeks to get the heel to heal. I tried a 5 mile on the treadmill yesterday, and decided to still let it rest until we hit the Grand Canyon. So, I get to ride my new bike instead!
I am very grateful that we set this goal. Really, the last 4 months of 2016 I was not exercising, quickly becoming unhealthy and not feeling great. So, the goals we’ve set for this hike have been so motivating and fun, I set another goal: to ride 50 miles on my 50th birthday! I have my route planned and I am going to work up to it for the next couple of months. I wanted to to something different, so I think the tattoo is just going to have to wait for another 10 years.
April 19, 2017 § Leave a comment
Easter Weekend began Friday, April 14th, with a seven mile hike with my friend Sue.
She lives in Parowan, and has always wanted to hike to Valentine Peak Trail. In the 1950’s, someone noticed that on Valentine’s Day the sun rose directly over the peak. Cool! So, we drove to the trail head at the Parowan cemetery and began our 2,000 ft. ascent to the top.
Sue did a few FaceBook Live updates for those that cared to follow our adventure.
After a few times of thinking we were AT the end, we finally reached the summit.
This is a really steep hike in places, and is rated Moderate/Difficult. I loved it and plan to come back again in the fall! This was the maiden voyage for my new backpack and hiking shoes. Both were great!
I read that this trail has existed in some form for many years. A resident of Parowan made recent improvements to the trail. We met Mr. Vito Locatelli as we were beginning our hike. He is responsible for the benches and chairs on the trail, and the cool bench and sign at the top. There are even a few places with bowls and a container marked “Dog water”. He met us about the last mile on the trail on our way down to make sure we were okay (he was watching the FB Live updates). I thanked him for his time spent working on the trail.
The next day, Eric and I hopped into the jeep and rode out to Frisco. I’ve not been to the ghost town there since I was in grade school.
We visited the cemetery and the charcoal kilns.
Gates didn’t permit any one getting close to the mine, so I had to be happy with a really great telephoto lens.
On the way back, we decided to cruise the streets of Milford to see how people live there. ‘Spot the Jeep’ was the a game, because it seems that everyone there seemed to have one. We ate at a local diner and then made our way home.
April 19, 2017 § Leave a comment
The first weekend of March, I went with two of my sisters, a nephew and niece to Zion’s National Park to hike. This was a really steep walk up the Observation Point Trail. We hiked two and a half miles up, ate our lunches, and then the two kids were ready to go back down. I really wish we’d gone to the top. Even in the canyon there are reminders that winter was just here with some ice and snow along the trail. It was a fun day!
We’d planned to hike the Subway at the end of the month, but they closed it due to snow. Maybe another time.
November 13, 2016 § Leave a comment
When I was in high school my friend and I created a “Gripe List”. The list contained names and ideas that were frustrating and gripe-worthy for a high school and college student. After I was married, I found that notebook and continued to add to it for a few years. Today, I have no idea where that notebook is, but many of the items that I recall stand true for me at this age.
It is funny that within the content of Banana Suzy-Qs, Girls with syrupy-sweet personalities, studying intently and getting a C+, ballpoint pens that leak and breaking a fingernail was the “Entitled Wind Bag (ie, Donald Trump, etc. ).” Having satellite TV did wonders for the Gripe List in the late 1980s. I watched a lot of East coast television and some of their local commercials and programming content included Trump and his socialite wife, Ivana. She was beautiful and he just seemed to be all about self-promoting. An outspoken bag of hot wind, equal on my opinion scale with some of the people I knew in school.
When the Presidential race began and Trump threw his hat in the ring, I couldn’t believe he was serious and was completely skeptical. Entitled Wind Bag turned politician blah, blah, blah. I am not a political person; Eric is just the opposite and to him I am apathetic-yep, that’s me. Politics make my eyes glaze over. My husband was in with Trump from the beginning. I just couldn’t let myself get on the band wagon, because of my old perception was that he was out to enhance his ego and add to his list of accolades. Then, the unthinkable happened and I let myself listen to what he was saying and paying attention to him. It sounded great, but was is too good to be true? There was no way that this sleeper was going to get very far with the public. A year ago, I would never admit that I even liked what was being said for fear of the let down, and yes, ridicule…always keeping that Gripe List entry in the back of my mind. I’d always perceived him ridiculously larger than life, why would I like him now?
Eric is so outspoken about who he does and doesn’t like about a candidate, I was trapped. Political talk radio was everywhere in my house and it was stressful. Listening to his vitriolic tirades over anything the current administration/Hillary Clinton said or did was a guaranteed part of my day. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Mars Attacks”, Eric would imitate her in the alien voice; it was a rather good impression, I must say. Her voice irritates me just as much.
I deleted my Facebook account in January because of the hatred I saw spreading through the internet for Trump and my own emotional angst as I slowly drank the Kool-aide. When Trump became the Republican nominee it was obvious that I would not know peace until November…and even then it was iffy. I clung to hope for the better outcome, pondering that should Eric be satisfied with the President-elect, would I be seeking for a therapist because he wouldn’t have anything more to rant over? My ‘normal’ for the last eight years would change drastically.
The elections are over and I am proud of Mr. Trump. I am still not a political person, but this process has been utterly fascinating for me. More so, for my own transformation into a person that sees that change is coming and I am excited to see what happens next. Mr. Trump thank you for not quitting and I believe you can be the ‘hope and change’ we never saw. Maybe because I am not a politics fanatic, I never did see this race as the ‘better choice between the two evils’. Although not perfect, Trump continues to be the perfect, clear choice for my conscience.
The turmoil continues just days after the election and Eric is still fired up as usual. As for the “Not my President” protestors when are your flights out of the country? I’d like to be there to see you off. Just my thought, Trump should offer his plane to fly a bunch of them out of here and drop them off somewhere else.
I am still not looking for a therapist, but looking forward to the future with President Donald J. Trump. That is still a head shaker for me. I can’t believe he got there, and can’t believe that among the 700+ entries in a notebook of ‘serious’ gripes (that I can’t find), 30 years later I would ever want to erase an entry.
October 31, 2016 § Leave a comment
Fall is my favorite time of year. The leaves, harvest time and the spookiness that is Halloween! This basket of Johnathan apples will become applesauce very soon. I took a trip up the canyon and took fall leaf pictures. I collected some leaves for my table in the house.
Luckily, the weather has been perfect this week. I will have the week off…to include Halloween! I love the time to enjoy my holiday and relax with some of my favorite things: Halloween Radio has been playing since September, scary movies, knitting, sitting on the porch with a hot cup of soup and/or coffee, Jujube fruits (our trees had quite a few this year) apples, and all the “terrorific” things that this time of year brings.
The lawn rake is one of the best investments I ever made. Everyone should have one. I sucked up all the leaves from the front yard and Eric cut the grass and sucked up the leaves/clippings in the back. I picked apples. There are 3 trees that haven’t quite let loose with all the leaves yet, so I am sure we’ll take another tour around the back yard.
Mojjo will be hanging out on his coat rack to ‘greet’ the Trick-or-Treat kids. I am hoping he stays put this year (I’m not really wanting to have another Samhain Snake Hunt like last year). HAPPY HALLOWEEN, everyone…remember, whatever you do, DON’T FALL ASLEEP!