Monday, 7 November 2016

The Best Laid Plans...

Friday 4th November
It was very cold overnight and, as there are no hookups in this campground, we couldn't run the heating all night. The RV heating system will only run for a couple of hours on battery power. So, M got very cold, didn't sleep well and was glad to get up at six and switch on the heating! 
Our plan had been to wake early and walk to the Rim to watch the sunrise; however, it poured with rain overnight and was still completely cloud covered in the morning so, we didn't rush to get up and out.
Opposite us were two young men camping, who looked very cold and damp so M went across and asked them if they would like a warm cup of tea/coffee. They readily accepted and she invited them in to get warm. They came and we sat and chatted for a couple of hours. Their names were Ben and Max, the little dog was called Hazard, who slept all the time as he had walked several miles yesterday. They were on a three week road trip from New Jersey to San Diego. Last night was the first time they had had rain and it was their last night as they planned to get to San Diego tonight - only 500 miles away!
We set off to walk as much of the Rim as we could. On the way, we stopped off at the Plaza, which is a large shop and coffee house, to try to get wifi. R succeeded but M's phone refused to cooperate despite R trying for ages. Tomorrow, we will bring the iPad up and try with that.
Just past the Village on the Rim is the Bright Angel Trailhead. The trail is over 9 miles long and drops over 5,000 ft to the Colorado River at the bottom of the Canyon. Notices warned of the dire consequences of trying to do the return trip in one day. We decided to walk down as far as we felt comfortable and as far as M was happy with the precipitous drops beside the trail. The path was wide and well maintained and we walked for about a mile before deciding to turn round. We fortified ourselves for the climb back up with a Twix bar!
Coming back up proved to be easier than we thought as we frequently stopped to talk to others who were resting on the climb and we had some lovely conversations. We met one elderly gentleman who had camped overnight at the bottom and had started back up at 5:30, so it had taken him about seven hours to walk back up. He said that it was his thirteenth trip down and up this year - he was obviously very fit!
He was perhaps the exception. It was interesting to contrast the cheerful, chatty, eager demeanour of those walking down with the rather strained, quiet, red-faced looks of many toiling back up the trail!
We would have liked to go further down the trail into the Canyon, but we were very aware that we didn't have the right gear for such an adventure, nor did we have the two days that it would have taken us, as we are neither as fit as we used to be. However, we were very pleased that we had gone as far as we did.
Back at the top, we ran into two ladies with a whole bunch of Shelties and a Border Collie, trying to get them to sit in a line for a photograph. Most were very well behaved but there was one little twelve week old puppy who was having too much fun to sit still for very long.
We set off west along the Rim. The Geology Trail continued into the past along the trail from two billion years ago right down to the creation of the earth 4,650 million years ago, one and a half miles further on - each ten million years being marked with a disc in the path.
We sat and ate our sandwiches in a rather windy spot about three and a half billion years ago - the view was magnificent.
At the end of the Geology Trail, we took a free shuttle bus up to Hermit's Rest, seven miles west of the Village, stopping off a couple of times to photograph different views of the Canyon.
On the way back, we got off the bus at Mojave Point to watch the sunset. Maybe not the most spectacular, but R got some good photographs.
At the Plaza, we bought some prawns for supper and bread for breakfast before walking back through the pine trees to Winnie. We had acquired a huge mango in SLC, which had been gradually ripening and we had that with the prawns for supper. Delicious!
A magnificent day full of wonderful views and special memories.

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