I rolled around as much as I could to try and position myself to get the cramp to go away. Nothing was working. I decided to go outside and walk around until it went away. The only problem with that plan is I didn't know how to get out of the tent. I gingerly crawl to the zipped entrance of the tent and search for the zipper while trying to hold back tears (when I first wake up I don't have the processing power to compose my manly behaviors, so yes, I was really on the verge of bawling). After groping blindly for about half a minute I find the zipper and get the flap open. What was waiting for me at the end of the tent was another tent opening that was zipped up. This was the rain cover. I felt like screaming in anger/agony/frustration as I start another search for another zipper. This is a puzzle that I did not finish. The pain in my leg intensified and I decided to crawl under the opening of the flaps and out to freedom. I stuck my arms underneath and I drug myself under this staked down fabric. I stood up and walked around for a minute before the cramp went away. I went to the car and grabbed my bottles of water and Power Ade. I drank for five minutes off and on before I sat down and tested out the leg to make sure it was okay to be bent. It was sore but the cramp did not return. So I returned to the tent (through the flap, not via army crawl )and checked the time. 10:42. I wasn't even asleep for two hours... It took almost another hour to get back to sleep.
Around noon our hearts all desired lunch. We drove around and the destination we chose was China Buffet. On this day I knew we weren't going to be walking heavily so I opted to take my time and eat at my normal, slower pace. After my first plate I tried out the make your own stir fry hibachi grill. After I finished that plate, I was done. I didn't even eat my fortune cookie. Big ups to me for going to a buffet and not eating until I couldn't eat anymore! Because of my slow pace, when I finished my second plate, I had gone beyond my normal feeling of satiation and into the realm of "stuffed".
I took over on driving duties and we made our way North towards the campsite. It started raining pretty bad but by the time we got to the site it was letting up. The rain gave us two different gifts. The first was the coolest double rainbow that I have ever seen in my life! Counting the double rainbow (as one), I've seen maybe 6 rainbows in my entire life. This one was awesome because the rainbow ended right in front of us in the lake! Even though it was still lightly raining, Margaux and I made our way out into the weather and took pictures. Lots of them. I also got to snag this rather humorous video parody of the double rainbow guy:
The next day was Monday and we had to head back to the busy world of Los Angeles. We were too late to catch the sunrise over the canyon, but we still got to see it in it's morning glory. After a bit we decided to take another trail, although this one was very limited because we had to get back to Los Angeles. The Kaibab was our challenge for the day. Due to time constraints an hour was all we could afford before turning back. This trail was the day to the Bright Angel's night. The very first part was a series of sharp zigzags but once you passed that area the slopes were very much more gradual and kind. Bruno went to the gift shop and Margaux and I traveled down. I stopped at a certain point because I didn't want to get in over my head and Margaux continued on to a curve about five minutes further down. I sat on a rock and enjoyed my breakfast of trail mix, an apple and a cliff bar plus lots of sips of water. Sitting there and looking out into the chasm I really did feel at peace with myself and everything around me. The air was pure and the silence was enveloping. I wish I had that kind of environment every day. It was theraputic! After a little bit I decided to get a head start seeing how I would need breaks on the way back. I walked probably 15-20 minutes at a patient pace before I had to stop for a breather.
While I greeted passerby's as they made their various ascents and descents I just smiled to myself at how far I made it without stopping and where I was going. Not just in the Canyon, but down the road with my health and happiness. Life in the real world has been stressful and maddening for me on a daily basis. I've dealt with troubles both physical and emotional over the past few months that linger even now as I write this that. They need healing. Some moments I'm consumed with questions that I can't answer. It's overwhelming as I try to deal with my issues as I push on and stay focused on making things better for myself. Everyone has to do this. In the Canyon I was away from everything. I was my own speck in the giant scheme of nature. All my troubles, confusion, and emotions from outside stressors were whisked away with the wind. I want to share the experiences and victories with people as I hike but simultaneously, the span of time spent insignificant and alone gives me a feeling beyond explanation. It's like I'm wrapped in a warm blanket while I get time to organize my priorities and reflect on who I am.
Just as I was getting up to continue I heard my name off in the distance. I looked down and saw Margaux rushing to catch up to me! After i asked how the view was (AMAZING of course!) we continued on up the slope. We stopped once more before getting to the zigzags. Just as we did two days before we stopped every second turn. I walked down to the stopping point in about an hour and it took less than an hour and a half to get back up!
I will say that I'm glad that I took the difficult trail the first day. If I had taken the Kaibab trail on day one then when we came back and took the Bright Angel, I would have been very surprised and under prepared for the tasks at hand. Instead my final trip into the canyon on this particular adventure was light and I was over prepared! That is a very nice thing. I can and can't wait to return and push myself further down into the canyon. As I stated on my goals page, the ultimate goal is to be able to hike the 14 miles down to the Colorado river and then back up the following day. I can wait because obviously I am severely out of shape when it comes to hikes of that difficulty. In the meantime I'll stick to my Stairway to Heaven and work myself until I can do it!
Overall, this adventure was just what the doctor ordered! I got to see where I stand with hiking the real deals and I had time to reflect on everything swarming through my brain. The Grand Canyon and the surrounding areas that we got to see were incredible beyond belief and I look forward to returning and going places I've never been before!
This is all for now. I've got one more subject to write about tomorrow that is somewhat related to the Grand Canyon, and a moment of anger that I suppressed. Besides that I get to hit the gym tomorrow for my first 28 minute run! I'll leave you with some of the pictures I took while adventuring in everyman's land! Cheers!
Until the next episode!