Notes from the Southwest: The Grand Canyon and the hike from Hell

13 June 14: 1830

I have been to hell and back and MAN does it burn. But I suppose it’s still a gorgeous burn…

Grand Canyon

Revenge of Friday the 13th, starring Lauren and Cassie.

We were all smiles on our way into the park, and my head was full of adventure as we listened to an audiobook about John Wesley (the Man) Powell, the old civil war veteran who basically put the Southwest USA on the map.

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We glided right up to the south rim of the canyon and practically exploded at the sight of it! The sheer size of this seemingly bottomless crack in the earth is incredible!

Looking into the canyon was surprisingly colorful. The green that threaded its way down the sides and through the floor was the most intriguing shade. I suppose I should have expected the green due to its proliferation by the Colorado River that’s responsible for the canyon, but iconic Grand Canyon usually speaks in reds, maroons, deep purples, and mahogany.

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We arrived in the early afternoon, and there was a dusty haze making the view appear painted. We couldn’t spend too much time, because the day was only getting hotter.

Cassie and I just about slid down the steep switchbacks that make up Bright Angel Trail. It should have been a sign to us that everyone looked as though they had recently starred in the Southwestern version of Les Miserables.

“Look down….Look down….you’re standing in your grave.”

But no, we smiled the whole way down. “Howdy!” We greeted every person we crossed paths with. I refrained from adding on a chorus of “Isn’t nature the absolute BEST!” Good thing….


“Yeah, keep smiling,” one particularly haggard man snarled.

We reached the first water stop and were greeted by a crowd of people and lukewarm water. I could dig it, it was wet, and not….hot, but certainly not refreshing. Onward! Down, down, down we went.

Grand Canyon

The viewpoint 3 miles into the trail was pretty spectacular. Like Pride Rock spectacular!

Grand Canyon

We snapped photos, but didn’t linger too long. Both of us were afraid our legs would get stiff. We did, however, find a gnarly box that I had to open….tucked away in rocks and bushes a bit off trail, I thought excitedly that it might be a geocache! But it wasn’t. Not even a severed head, just a box of tarps.

Grand Canyon

The hike back up the hill was actually hell. I felt like a damn fool wearing my marathon shirt, huffing and puffing up the hill, eating more dirt than getting oxygen.


We commiserated with many a person on our way up, sharing the shady spots as we ascended. Eventually, we made it to the top and I bought the biggest lemonade I could find.

That hike was one for the books!



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