Picking up from Part 1,
After that first hard, slushy mile, we come upon a lot of awesome workers putting down whatever it is they put down to make it less muddy. The trail becomes way easier to walk on, and I start really holding my own.
I was worried there for a second that the day was going to be full of me trying to keep my balance, and them being held back. (In case anyone is wondering, I didn’t fall once. Thanks yet again, tap dancing through high school.)
After the ground gets sturdy, not only do I keep up with the boys, I keep up with Anthony at the front of the pack. The boys stop to talk to friends they know working the Grand Canyon that day, and they stop to look at plants and things. I think, “What an awesome day this will be. They like to keep an easy pace, stopping to look at a lot of things. Sweet business.”
I knew that Anthony would be a good person to stick around. I saw earlier that he has a knife (2 knives?). So, he’s the one who’s going to protect me when a bear tries to eat me… Or he’s going to murder us when we reach a secluded place. But, I’m 99.9% sure that he’s going to protect, not murder us. So, it’s all good.
We keep going along. Anthony regales me with stories. (He’s quite an interesting guy.) We take a little break 3 miles in. (3 miles, already? This Grand Canyon is going to be a total piece of cake.)
As we walk along, I’m already total inviting myself on future hikes. “Guys, this is fun, beautiful, and awesome. I don’t live far away at all. Next time you have an adventure, you should totally give me a call.”
I’m sure they’re thinking, “Who is this stranger inviting herself on future hikes with me?” And I’m thinking, “Oh my goodness, I know people who live and work at the Grand Canyon. How unbelievably cool. They’re gonna know all the cool stuff to do and the best trails and they’re gonna hike all the time. I totes want to be a part of that.”
We make it all the way to beautiful Indian Garden (4.5 miles down) and stop to eat. (Yum.) This is also when we started playing this super fun word game called “Contact.” Ask about it the next time you’re on a road trip (or in a distance running event) with me.
Now that we’ve made it to Indian Garden, it’s time to make a game plan for the rest of the day. Adam (the super experienced hiker) suggests we walk along Tonto until we reach South Kaibab. “It’s only about 2 miles, and it’ll be fun to go up a different, scenic path.”
All of us agree. “Okay, cool. Sounds awesome. Yeah, I’m up for anything.” etc.
We start heading over on Tonto. This trail is much less traveled than Bright Angel (which is the one we came down). But still no animals or murders, so the day is good. The trail is also a lot narrower and looks to be a little more dangerous.
Okay, cool. Well, I’m just gonna do my very best not to take a wrong step and end up falling to the bottom of the canyon.
For a while, I keep up with Adam, who is now at the front of the pack. I really did not want to be the hiker holding anybody back. I’m sure Adam viewed me as an annoying 5-year-old with my passive questions, though. “Uh, so do you always hike this fast?”
It felt almost like a trail race as we were going across. How did we speed up so much from our super easy downhill decent? It was all good though. I like pushing myself.
After we’d hiked 2 miles with no end in sight, we realize the main trails are more than 2 miles apart. I didn’t mind ’cause I thought it would be fun to spend the whole day hiking anyway. The more distance, the better, right?
As we keep walking along, I fall more toward the back of the pack. It’s me and Anthony walking together all over again. We agree that if either of us fall, we’re gonna save the other person. No man gets left behind!
Someone who can fend off an animal and will save me from a fall? Perfect.
Does he ever have to save me? I’ll tell you more tomorrow in Part 3.