Thursday, July 12: Grand Canyon: Havasu Canyon
A long hike Up
We got up around 4:30, while it was still dark, using headlamps. Breakfast was bagels and cream cheese from a squeeze packet. The idea was to have almost no cleanup. The tents were staying put for a later group, so we didn’t have to pack those up.
Drew was coming with the hikers, and Tess was staying with the people being flown out. The first out of camp were the clients who were hiking. The other couple started first. I started a short time afterwards. Drew would take up the rear. The others would start a short time later.
By the time we left, we no longer needed headlamps. We probably left around 5:40 or so.
About halfway up past the waterfall, I realized that I hadn’t gotten my sandwich out of the cooler that morning. I thought about heading back, but I decided that I didn’t want to back track that much. A sandwich, which I probably wouldn’t eat on the hike, just wasn’t worth it.
I tried to hurry to catch up to the other two. By the time I got past the falls and was getting near the “swimming hole”, I decided that I wasn’t going to. I figured that they had started out in front of me, and then made a stop at the bathrooms. While they were inside I passed them, and now I was first.
So I plodded on by myself. Strangely enough, I was for a stretch joined by a yellow dog. It would run ahead to the next bend, then stop and wait for me. It would look back and me and sort of whine. When she saw that I was coming, she would run ahead to the next bend and wait for me there. I almost felt like I was in a Lassie movie or something. I felt like calling out, “What’s wrong girl? Is Timmy trapped in the well again???” It was sort of neat hiking by myself, not being distracted by other people, and going at my own pace.
When I got to the Indian village, I waited for everyone else. The next to arrive were the other two hikers, who were surprised that I was in front of them, despite my leaving later and not passing them.
I could feel my little toes rubbing against their adjacent toes, and I tried taking off my boots, readjusting my socks, and readjusting my boots. I was somewhat reluctant to try taping my toes, as when I did this on the 20-miles on the Cape years ago, the tape led to blisters.
So I decided to just ignore it and hope it goes away.
Eventually everyone except for Amy, Mike, and Tess showed up. It was going to be slow going for Amy, but there were hours to wait before the helicopter showed up.
We three hikers set out on the main hike, with Drew following shortly thereafter. I started out hiking with the husband, but then I noticed that the wife was falling behind, so I waited for her and spent most of the hike hiking with her. The husband would hike ahead and then wait.
After a while Drew caught up with us, and then we hiked more or less together, except for the husband who kept going ahead. We made much better time than on the way down. It was cooler, earlier in the day, and there were no small children with us. It “felt easier” than on the way down. We were still drinking lots of liquid though. I found that Gatorade was a lot more palatable than I found it back home, particularly the orange flavor. We also had occasional snacks.
It turns out the guide had our sandwiches in a little insulated bag, so I hadn’t been supposed to have gotten them in the morning. We never did eat them on the hike, though.
When we got to the final ramp and switchbacks, we heard the first helicopter flight come in. The ramp and switchbacks were not nearly as hard as they were reported to be. There was a fine overcast, so we didn’t have that much direct sun, which helped.
At the top, we found everyone but Amy and Mike. The family of 4 was on the first flight out, along with Tess. But then a large number of Indians showed up, and they took precedence over tourists, so Amy and Mike had to wait. They eventually got on and showed up at the top maybe 20-30 minutes after we got up there.
We got our gear out of the bag that the mules had carried up, divided into the two vehicles and left.
Amy was limping badly, using one of the trekking poles sort of like a cane. My toes had stopped hurting halfway up, but once I got to the top and stopped hiking, I could feel that they were probably blistered. I didn’t want to take my boots off and find out.
Drew drove us back to the Hualapai Lodge, and then left for Flagstaff where he lived. We got the medication that we had left there (so that it wouldn’t bake), then left ourselves.
A couple of hours later, maybe a half hour from the park, we saw lots of cars pulled over on the side of the road. It was also very foggy. At first, we thought that the cars were slowing down and stopping due to the fog, but then we saw what looked like snow on the side of the road! My best guess is that the thunderstorm in that area sleeted rather heavily, and it piled up like snow.
When we got to the south rim, we found what we had expected to have found at Yosemite: just outside the park there was a plethora of hotels and other services. Even better, it was only about 5-10 minutes to get in, rather than an hour.
It was probably around 4:30 or so, so we didn’t bother checking in to the Red Feather Lodge. We went into the park, got the map, and then drove to their medical clinic. They drilled some holes into two of Amy’s toe nails, to let the fluid out. One went well, but they sort of botched the other one. Fluid didn’t come out, so they drilled a second hole. They ended drilling into the tissue beneath, which rather hurt.
While she was there, she got her allergy shot.
Then we left the park, checked in, and had dinner. It isn’t clear whether this Mexican Restaurant is associated with the hotel, or if it is just nearby.