Sunday, November 30, 2014
Let me just say – staying in the lodge may be pricier than camping, but it is SO worth it! I’m not sure we could have finished out this trip strong without a great night’s sleep in the very comfy beds! Not to mention, some of us may have been too cold to camp on these brisk November nights… 🙂
We slept in a bit later and took it easy this morning. Curtis and Mitch went and enjoyed breakfast at the cafe. I think we were all initially very sore when we woke up, but once we got moving it wasn’t too bad. We packed up our belongings and left at 9:30.
We talked about what was motivating us to finish the hike. For me, it was seeing my precious puppy Charlie again. I hadn’t been away from her like this before, and it showed me how much I really do enjoy being around her! (Though while we were gone, I definitely idealized her and may have set my expectations too high. Oh well, it got me out of that canyon!) Mitch’s motivation was the rock fish in his freezer back home (oh and maybe the pumpkin cheesecake I made for Thanksgiving!) and Curtis’ was seeing his wife happily reunited with her puppy. And getting letterboxes. 🙂
I do believe my motivation was the strongest, and it led me to starting us at a very quick pace. I started wearing myself out fast and Curtis took the lead, but we kept a quick pace the whole way out. I was very thankful that the majority of the hike was flat! We took our first fruit snack break at 10:30, and were shocked to find that according to a step counter on my phone, we had already gone 3.3 miles! 3.3 miles in one hour?! Yes! We never cease to amaze ourselves! 🙂
We actually were able to keep up with this pace too. After 2 hours, we were 6.5 miles of the way done, and at 12:30, exactly 3 hours after we left, we arrived at the hilltop. No joke. We cut off a whole hour from our time hiking down to the village! (To be fair, we didn’t have to stop for pictures, but still!)
|One last break before the trail started going uphill. 2 more miles!|
Today, we only came across one other couple heading up the canyon. Instead of hiking out, most people were taking the helicopter from the village to the parking lot. Every 20 minutes or so, we would hear the buzz of the helicopter flying over us. Maybe when we’re old and less in shape, we’ll return and use the helicopter’s services, but not today! I heard it does cost a bit to fly out, and it isn’t always a for sure thing. On Friday (when we hiked down) the helicopter simply didn’t show up, and those who were planning on flying out were stuck having to hike. Just be aware!
The last 1 ½ to 2 miles is of course the steepest and most difficult. The best thing to do is not look up at how far you have left, but focus on each step. All morning, it had been cloudy as we hiked through the canyon, but once we reached this challenging part, the sun decided to start beating down on us. Thankfully, the canyon wall provided shade for a bit, and we pushed on and made it! I sat down at the end and had celebratory MnM’s. And let me tell you, that was the most delicious and well-deserved chocolate I have ever had. That moment is definitely one of the highlights of my year. 🙂
We changed out of our hiking clothes and took off from there – Tucson or bust! Actually, we decided to do a little letterboxing to break up the drive. Hiking 10 miles then driving 6 hours can really wear a guy out!
|Quick stop at the Grand Canyon Caverns|
We stopped for some along the I-40 and the historic Route 66 before making our way down to Prescott for dinner at Culvers, and then home. Driving through Phoenix was undoubtedly the most stressful part of today, but by 8:30 that night, baby Charlie and I were reunited. 🙂 Shoutout to our dear friend Kathy for being the best dogsitter ever!
|At the Grand Canyon Caverns|
|Driving down historic Route 66|
One last thing…I recorded Mitchell reading the Burma Shave signs out loud for us. Enjoy the above clip. 🙂
End day 3: hiked 10 miles, for a grand total of 44 miles this weekend!