The Grand Canyon! – Part 3 (We Found Civilization Again!)

April 17, 2012

from Tonto trailPicking up from Part 2, we continue making our way across Tonto. After we walk a few miles, we end up passing other human beings coming from the opposite direction.

We ask how far they’ve come, and find out we’ve got about another hour to South Kaibab. We cross this water place. I don’t even know what it was. It was bigger than a puddle, smaller than a river – just some area of wet, dirty water.

Of course, as I’m trying to step around it, I step right in it. Oh well. I’m wearing my oldest pair of shoes, and Josh’s sweatpants over my pajama pants. Sorry, man.

By this point, it’s hot out, so my leg dries off quite quickly. The last mile or so of Tonto was where hiking started to get you know, kind of hard. Dr. Brandt (Madonna’s dermatologist) always encourages people not to be outdoors between 11am and 4pm, since those are the hottest, sunniest hours. (Yes, I have read both of his books.)

We’re somewhere smack in the middle of this time as we’re hiking across the Grand Canyon in a path with very little shade. I was putting on sunscreen like I needed it to live. Luckily, since I’m a total boss at hiking, I had lots of water and Gatorade, so gulp, gulp, gulp.

Before you know it, in the distance, I see… “Oh my gosh!” “What is it?” “We made it to the next trail!” The boys thought maybe I had seen something scary when I saw the South Kaibab trail. Let that be a lesson to all of us to be careful about the type of inflection we use when we go across canyons together.

Aurora De Lucia and Jessie hiking on Bright Angel Trail in The Grand Canyon (Anthony in background)
Me and Jessie hiking (Anthony in background)

So, I’m happily freaking out, because we’ve sort of kind of found civilization. The boys start joking that it’s just a mirage, and I need more water. Don’t sweat it; it was not a mirage.

Since I don’t ever have to use the bathroom ever anywhere (ask my dad how weird and awesome it was that I never had to stop on road trips as a kid), I talked to strangers while the boys did their boy business.

There were tons of nice strangers in the canyon that day. All of them seemed so legit. “Oh yeah, I’ve been down to the river and back before. I’m heading down to Phantom Ranch today.” People had their little poles, and real climber-type equipment. People move fast in this canyon! I totally saw all ages and types, ranging from kids to elderly people go faster than me throughout the day.

We take a small break to eat (again). We’ve earned it, by golly! It felt as though it was the longest 2 mile walk I’ve ever done. Probably because it was 4 miles.

Off we go again, up South Kaibab. Oh no. It’s so steep! And hot. I can do this…

I sort of keep up ish for a little while. We play that Contact word game here and there. Usually, I’m yelling from behind. (But it makes it seem even cooler when you don’t say anything for a while. Then all the sudden, the boys are directly above you on one of those switchback things, and you yell out something that helps the game. Yeah, baby.)

They were really good about never abandoning me. They may have been faster, but they kept tabs on me, making sure I wasn’t dead. They were gaining energy as I was losing it, stopping fewer times than on the way down. When they stopped, I would try to walk ahead, knowing they always caught up.

Not that I carry the weight of women everywhere on my shoulders or anything, but I should’ve been representing as the only lady in the group. The only thing I was representing was the group of doofi who thinks they can go from never hiking to hiking a whole bunch of the Grand Canyon. (Doofi, according to the internet, is the plural form of doofus. However, I didn’t find any reliable sources. If you know something different, let me know.)

As the sun kept beating down, and we were on a more “path-y” path (where my legs didn’t need to be as super protected from nature), I ripped off those black sweatpants, in favor of my I Love NY pajamas.

Of course, this meant I now had to carry yet another thing in my bag. Thank goodness for all that time I spent living in New York, where you have to carry everything everywhere. I’m a boss at carrying stuff.

Do we ever make it out of the canyon? I’m guessing yes, since I’m writing this post. But you never know. Find out in Part 4, coming soon.

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