Woman versus Canyon #grandcanyon #roadtrip
It was time to redeem my previous experience of the Grand Canyon.
(Fifteen or sixteen years ago we went there in sub zero temperatures in November. During the night it became clear that my sleeping bag was sadly, sadly inadequate. Between spells of convulsing with cold in the tent, and spells of hiding in the toilet block for a heat through, I eventually made it to the morning, to find chunks of ice in the kettle and the whole world frozen through, except the Yukon Jack.)
This time we were going in late July, with the local Las Vegas Uber drivers moaning about the heat – surely this time it would be different…
It was warm as we arrived at the Grand Canyon, and it started to rain as we had our first look over the rim – as mist moved in and a thunderstorm began, still far away.
Back to the same campsite from long ago. My old faithful toilet block was still there. We began to put up the tents with lightening and thunder in the distance. Then with the lightening and thunder a bit nearer. And nearer still.
So, we are putting up the tents with spots of rain getting bigger and bigger and the lightening getting nearer and the thunder getting louder. We became increasingly aware that all around us were a great many trees that were past victims of lightening strikes, standing dead and steely amongst the living trees.
Then we thought, “Let’s get in the van!”
So we got in the van as the lightening lit, and the thunder thundered impressively overhead and the rain soaked the ground and sapped the warmth from the air, leaving the air about twenty degrees colder than it had been before.
But still well above zero. Phew.
My lightest of light sleeping bag was just about enough, although it was pretty chilly all night – but I didn’t convulse or have to retreat to the toilet, thus redeeming my first experience.
As for the actual Canyon – we did the same hike as the last time, the South Kaibab trail to Cedar Ridge – but with two significant changes: this time I was fit and we had three children in tow – as well as the rest of our group. We made a swift descent to Ooh Ahh Point and felt great, then on down to the ridge for lunch. The first chunk of the ascent was pretty tough – but it wasn’t any harder than a trail running session at home. Then we took our time with the multitude of switchbacks back to the rim of the canyon and we all felt accomplished – although a perceptive daughter later remarked, “I am not sure whether I enjoyed that or not.”
I enjoyed it.
And the temperature that night, whatever it was, was perfect.