5.20.2012

Grand Canyon Roadtrip

So about a month ago, I went with a few of my roommates--Heidi, Olivia, and Kelsey--and some other friends--Scott and Taylor--on a roadtrip to the Grand Canyon. And might I say...total blast?! :) We drove down to St. George on the Thursday night after finals, stayed at Kelsey's aunt and uncle's house for the night, and then early Friday morning we headed to the south rim of the Grand Canyon.
Hola Arizona!
We camped one night out there, so we went grocery shopping for some food.
Eating our lunch of hoagies
We went to the vistor's center first, where we climbed this fairly tall tower to see out into the canyon.

We stayed at the Mather Campground where we successfully set up our tents (one for girls and another for boys).

And then we got on a shuttle bus for our first hike!

Also, you should know that I was secretly (except not really secretly, as I voiced these fears to the whole group very often) hugely afraid of dying in the Grand Canyon. I honestly wasn't sure if I was going to get out of there alive. I'm just really afraid of heights, and that's what the whole GC is...so kind of scary. Oh my gosh you did not want to be in my head those two days. So much fear haha. And everyone told me I had nothing to worry about, but then you had signs like these around that brought all the fears back again:
Nice picture, huh? And lovely caption..."Occasionally, a hiker pays the ultimate price--death." Oh dear. Oh dear, indeed.

We hiked the South Kaibab trail, which ended up being about 3 miles round trip. Not bad, and beautiful views. It was so cool because the lower you hiked down the more you saw. Seriously, the Grand Canyon is amazing! It's so huge and just incredible. 
Just looking at this picture scares me so much! If anyone had fallen off the edge....DEAD. :/
The hike we did wasn't too strenuous, although on the way back up, it was more difficult. But I was totally gung-ho about it and just marching up that canyon like it was a tiny hill. Yeah! I really think I was just glad I was still alive, so it put a little more energy into my step. We were pretty tired after being done with the hike and didn't have time to do another one, but obviously it's not every day that we went to the Grand Canyon, so we really wanted to see the sunset that night. Unfortunately for us, any of the shuttles we wanted to take to a lookout point would have taken us too long and we would have missed it. So we went back to the car, driving around trying to find a place to get out and see the sunset. Finally, we found a parking lot and ran out to look at it. And let me just say...it was beautiful. These pictures do it no justice.

That night we went and camped. We made pigs in a blanket and roasted them over the fire and attempted to make a cobbler, but it totally burned and didn't taste very good. We weren't even sure if we had the right recipe. We were really crazy this night, just laughing super hard at everything and having a great time. We had cream soda glass bottles with us and joked that all the campgrounds around us probably thought we were a bunch of drunk college kids with the way we were laughing and being loud. Who says Mormons don't have fun? :)

The next day we chose to do the Dripping Springs hike. It was 6 miles  round trip, and according to the book, just a moderate hike.
Before the hike :)
Another picture to just loosen up the nerves...they sure know how to advertise their hikes, huh?
The Dripping Springs hike was nothing like we expected. It was fairly steep downhill and awfully close to the edge. It wasn't as worn of a trail so it was rocky and definitely something we would not have deemed moderate. More like strenuous. It was a cute trail though, as we got to see more plant life and nature and an incredible view, completely different from the day before. This went along a whole edge of the canyon, so that when we looked across, it looked like we'd hiked really far (and it did feel like that too) although it was only 3 miles there and 3 back.

We couldn't have been happier when we reached the springs and were able to sit down and have another lunch of delicious hoagies. My goodness we were tired...and we still had to go back up. The dripping springs was just a small stream of water coming from a rock above. It obviously wasn't purified water, but it was fun to put your hand under and feel the fast, steady stream of drops coming from it.

We sat there for a while, trying to get our energy back before we took the trek back up. My camera batteries were getting close to dying while we were there, so I didn't get any pictures on the way back up, which was just as well, because I almost passed out (from over-hydration possibly? We weren't really sure). The thing about the Grand Canyon is that instead of going uphill and then downhill, all the hikes obviously go down first and then up on the way back. This way isn't ideal because you are already tired when you get there and then have to do the hardest part at the end going uphill. And my legs were already really shaky from going downhill for so long before and also just because I was being so careful not to step near the edge because I was so scared of heights. So on the way back up, I don't know what happened, but I really struggled. I feel bad because we had to keep stopping so I could drink water or just take a rest. Honestly, I do not know how I made it, but my legs somehow kept on walking all the way up. It was a miracle, because there were so many times when I just wanted to give up because I didn't think I could do it. I'm surprised I didn't pass out! But...I survived the Grand Canyon! This is a picture of our group after the hike (I purposely made that face to show my exhaustion..I could barely stand):
Also, Heidi randomly had bubbles in her bag so we blew some. Have you ever blown bubbles in the Grand Canyon? Yeah, didn't think so.
We planned on driving back to St. George to stay there that night, so after that strenuous hike, we headed back. It felt nice to sit in a car and rest. :)
Another sunset on the way driving home!
We got back that night and took warm showers to clean us of all our gross sweat and then slept soundly in the comfy beds. The next Sunday morning in St. George, we went to sacrament meeting for church, which hilariously happened to be a newlywed ward. Of course. ;) After that we stopped by the temple and went to the visitor's center and walked around outside. It was beautiful!
I always love the flowers at the temple :)

Once we were done there, we headed the few hours back to Provo and then I went home home to see my family, where in a few short days we'd leave for Florida! But that is a story for a few other posts...and right now I just have to say that I had the best time, and that also I have really great friends. Roadtrips like these are not fun unless you have wonderful people to do them with. :)

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