"Poorly Planned... Badly Executed"

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Grand Canyon Adventures

Go little guy, you can make it.

For the last two weeks I have been living a day to day (kayaking) existence while waiting for work to get in touch, probably with short notice plan tickets to Poland… however it never happened. Not that this bothered me too much as the are still paying me so if they feel I should stay on holiday instead of doing some actual work then who am I to argue!! However I did get a little frustrated at not knowing so I sent them an email to find out what was up… “We are a little delayed at present; you will not be required until June 11th… sold!!

Typical rock formations in the Grand Canyon

Sunset view from the canyon rim

With that little development I started scheming plans… the best of which was to catch back up with Shaun, Jacs, Chris, and Kate who I hadn’t yet seen since her arrival in the US. Bumming a ride with Chris K to Medford (in which our kayaks were stolen during our stopover in Corvallis – stink au), I caught a flight to Las Vegas“vive las vagas”… to meet up with the gang on route to the Grand Canyon (some sort of big canyon I guess?!?). The way there took us over the Hover Dam which they are now building a massive bridge beside so the road doesn’t have to cross the dam anymore, and by massive I mean ‘massive’. The dam itself is something to behold as well considering it was built in (insert date here)!

The view of our campsite by day

And by night!! (fire added for effect... really... I mean who would be silly enough to start a fire in the middle of a tinderbox)

The Grand Canyon was pretty dam cool too except for the temperature which was hitting 25°C at the top and 35°C at the bottom!! We got a little shot-down on our first day when we tried to go for a day walk down a trial that was only accessible by a closed road although not all was lost. Walking back form where the shuttle bus had drop us off near the canyon rim we overheard someone exclaiming “the longer you stay here you really start to feel the tranquillity”… just as the bus was gronching its gears and revving its engine only 30m away - classic, some people have no idea. Stilling chuckling to ourselves we cooked dinner and watched the sun set from a good vantage point at the canyon rim.

The newly painted roof box... none to shabby

Having obtained the necessary permits we had a day to kill before we could start our walk so Shaun and Jacs decided to paint their roof box (under the expert supervision of Kate who’s an ‘artist’). Their roof box is now sporting a picture of New Zealand, the Southern Cross, some waves, a big yellow sun, and several stick-figures doing various extreme sports. Nice work guys… now lets go tramping (hiking to those living in the United States of Freedom’).

Shaun checking out the view during our decent into the Grand Canyon

Spot the trampers!! Shaun, Jacs, Chris, and Kate standing on the ridge line.
One of the many cacti in bloom

The Grand Canyon is… well…’grand’ to summarise in a single word and to date I think it is the only ‘hike’ I have been on where the first day is solely down hill and the final day solely uphill. We stayed for two nights at Phantom Ranch camp ground so had a day to explore Phantom Canyon, a small side canyon which doesn’t see much action due to lack of a trail. That however wasn’t going to phase a bunch of Kiwis (and an American we would almost claim… you know, if we had too).

Walking up Phantom Canyon

When the going got tough... Chris when straight up the middle

Shaun enjoying our game of keep the pack dry... good work buddy

Kate takes an unintentional dunk while doing some impromptu canyoning

Even when the bush bashing turning to climbing straight up the centre of waterfalls we charged straight on through while playing an interesting game of catch with the backpack we had with us. The back stayed dry… not so all of us and Shaun’s valiant effort has to be commended. Right so long story short, Phantom Canyon was well worth the effort and it was nice to get away from the crowds (we had it all to our self) and the hike out the following day was an effort and very hot but as we started early to avoid the heat of the day we were out before lunch. Nice work guys… next stop Vegas - “vive las vagas”!!

Sunrise at the bottom of the Grand Canyon

A squirrel running down the trail with us. These guys were all over the place on the way up to the canyon rim.