How did I end up in the Grand Canyon on a whim?
On Friday morning, on the way to San Diego, I get a call from one of my friends from high school. He tells me he’s interning at the Grand Canyon all summer, starting a few days ago.
Me: “Los Angeles isn’t all that far. I should totally come visit sometime!” Josh: “Yeah, that’d be awesome!” “Huh. You know, I’m actually in Arizona this weekend for a half marathon… Maybe I could come on Saturday night?” “Really? That’d be sweet.” “Hmmm… Let me see if I can work it out with buses and stuff. I’ll let you know.”
Then, as you know, I ended up renting a car for the weekend. I called Josh on Friday afternoon. “So, I have a car; guess that means I’m coming to the Grand Canyon. Be prepared to hike that sucker!” “Great! We’ll see about that whole hiking thing…”
I get a call right before my half marathon on Saturday. “It’s snowing here.” “What?!”
Snow or no snow, now that I have a car, and am already in Arizona for a race, I’m might as well go see him. At this point, it’d be silly not to, hiking or no hiking. (But I’m still hoping for hiking.)
On Saturday, after a lovely lunch with Wendy and Marty, I hopped in the car and made my way to the Grand Canyon(!) I saw Josh’s sweet digs. Then we went and looked at the Canyon. We could only see a tiny piece of it; it was super foggy out. The one snowy piece we could see was really cool. I couldn’t wait to see how much we could see the next day.
We ate dinner at a cute little lodge place, then we went back to his trailer thing.
When we get back there, He gets a text. It’s one of his friends asking if anyone wants to go hiking tomorrow. Aw, yeah! I tell Josh we have to do it. Since his friend is an experienced hiker, and is willing to go out on Sunday, Josh figures the weather won’t be that bad. So, okay, sure, we can go. (Yay!)
We get a good night’s sleep, and wake up early to go conquer this thing. I had read all the visitor information I got coming into the canyon. I had never been hiking before, so I needed to make sure I was gonna be a total boss out there.
I had come pretty woefully under prepared for this trip. The “hiking” shoes I had were just my running shoes. (Thank goodness I had used my old Asics for the race, instead of my new Brooks Pure Connects. I can only imagine trying to hike in a super lightweight, barely there shoes. Even my Asics were crazy compared to the real hiking boots all the boys had.
Shoes aside, we went to the general store in the morning, and got some Cliff Bars, Saltines, and Doritos (of course). (We already had plenty of water and Gatorade.) Okay, I’ve got lots of fluids and a bunch of salty stuff. I’m totally a hiker. I know what’s up.
Off we go to the Grand Canyon with Josh’s friends – Adam, Anthony, and Jessie. Adam was a super experienced hiker. Jessie was smart and funny. Anthony was an interesting, super positive ray of sunshine throughout the entire day.
(None of those attributes are exclusive to any of them – All 3 were great at hiking. They were all happy, positive, interesting, smart and funny. It was an awesome group. I just gave you the main qualities shown to me by each guy that day to try to help you differentiate as you imagine them in this story.)
At the beginning of the day, we’re all discussing how far down to go.
Me: “Let’s go down to the bottom of this trail.”
“That’s 12 miles in total.”
“Yeah. It’ll be fun.”
“Didn’t you just run a half marathon yesterday.”
“Don’t sweat it.”
“Let’s just go down to Indian Garden (4.5 miles), and we’ll see how we feel.”
“All right, all right.”
So, we start down. The first mile or so was slushy and slippery with all the mud and snow melting from yesterday. I was going oh so slowly in my shoes that were definitely not equipped for this. I’m sure the boys were thinking, “Oh boy, what kind of day do we have ahead of us?”
Did I end up falling over? Did I totally regret suggesting oh so many miles? Possibly. Find out tomorrow in Part 2.