after my decent, i awoke the next morning with my calves nearly LOCKED stiff. i’ve never felt muscle tightness like that before. i wonder if i can even stand – let alone walk. i mean, i’m still in my sleeping bag at this point, but they feel REALLY tight. i slowly flex and stretch them a bit, and maybe they’re not so bad. i get out of back, and stand up – wow, they are SOOORRRRE. but i’ll live, and can even walk!
so since i was spending two nights at the same site, i had a free day to do whatever i wanted. there was a nice long dayhike up the north slope of the canyon to a place called ribbon falls. 12 miles roundtrip. sounds good! i had breakfast and headed up the trail.
it was a beautiful hike up a couple miles through a canyon, then it spread out more into some wider valleys with rolling desert landscape. the bottom of the canyon is true desert – it gets less than 10 inches of rain a year. so it’s a lot of dirt, rocks, cacti, and a few small woody bushes. that’s about it. but it’s got a beauty to it all the same, especially as it’s bookended on either side by massive red and black rock cliffs.
the falls are gorgeous. a perfect spot to hangout and eat lunch and relax. the above pic is from behind the falls, this landing that water falls on, then cascades down to the bottom.
that was about it for day two at the bottom. the calves did pretty good on the dayhike up to the falls. big steps up or down were pretty painful. i only had one aleve with me, and i decided i had better save it for the hike out. thursday morning, i got up early and popped my aleve. had a quick breakfast, packed up and was on the trail by 7am. it was a relatively uneventful hike up. i was a little worried because of my sore calves, but just figured i’d take it easy and slow. i passed like 4 or 5 mule trips (see left). i figured it might take me 6 hours to get up, as it took me about 4 hours to come down. anybody want to guess how long it took me to get to the top? 4.5 hours. AND it was 2 miles longer going up (a different trail) than going down. and did i mention that the hike went UP 4500 feet in those 10 miles? me = hardcore.
it felt really good to get back up to the rim. it was a tiring hike up, but it went fast, and i felt really mellow most of the way – happy that i had gotten the opportunity to experience the canyon from inside it. when i got back to my car, i unpacked all my stuff, and went IMMEdiately to the shower/laundry house (did not pass GO). took a long, hot shower (WOW) and then sat for about an hour and a half while the laundry did it’s thing. it’s always an amazing feeling to get clean, even after only a couple days out. that’ll never get old!
now i’m off to gorge myself on a congratulatory dinner at one of the cheapy cafeterias. and i think i'll grab one of those 20 oz. newcastles from the grocery store. mmmmmmmm. tomorrow i get on the road headed toward texas to visit with my friend Meredith, see david crowder at UBC, and celebrate st. patty’s day! should be good times. peace to you all! stay tuned...
GC days 3 & 4.
[wed/thurs - rest day and the hike out.]