so that's what dehydrated food looks like the second time arou-- oh hi! didn't see you! hold on a sec while I pull my head out of the toilet.
if you've never had the opportunity to gaze down into the smelly depths of an outhouse toilet, with a head lamp illuminating its contents-- trust me-- you are so NOT missing out. I mean, unless you feel compelled to do some sort of scientific study on outhouse BMs-- AGH! okay, okay, enough potty talk already.
now I know a few of you are probably wondering how on earth I managed to hike out after being sick, am I right?
well, I woke up sunday morning feeling a teeny bit better. I managed to keep down some gatorade and a power bar, although I'd probably need to ingest like 50 power bars in order to replenish my energy. and that wasn't going to happen. so Gary tossed my sleeping pad, extra shoes, the leftover food and camera all into his pack, which lightened my load significantly. (when we got home, he weighed our backpacks-- mine was 20 pounds and his was 54!)
after that, it was simply mind over matter. a friend of mine had a great analogy-- she compared hiking out of the Canyon to having a baby: you can't avoid it and no one else can do it for you. ha! that's basically it in a nutshell.
we ran into a train of dude mules on their way down to Indian Garden. dude mules carry dudes, not to be confused with pack mules, which carry packs. dude, seriously?
and the reason for using mules-- instead of say, horses-- is because a mule's peripheral vision (has to do with the location of their eyes on their head) is such that they can see all four feet at the same time. dude, now that's called sure-footed.
oh man. the smell of their waste products scattered along the trail was enough to induce vomiting. yeah, dude.
see that grove of trees waaaay down there? that's Indian Garden-- where we had stayed the night before.
in case you were wondering-- we did go on this trip together! after reassuring a kind gentleman that my camera would not bite him, he finally agreed to take this picture. note: this is after three days of hiking and no shower. (how glamorous am I looking now, Amy? :)
on the left: the rim is getting closer! we were all giddy with excitement until we were met with this scene on the right: Jacob's ladder-- one last set of steep switchbacks to get through.
feeling much better now, I set my sights on reaching the top and inhaling some real food. "cheeseburger, fries, coke. cheeseburger, fries, coke." this became my mantra.
the trail was busy at this point-- mostly with fresh-smelling tourists making their way down from the rim. an elderly Japanese woman, all excited, stops and asks us "how far to river? can I make it?" I took one look at her fancy Adidas sneakers and one little 20oz. bottle of water and said, "well, if you call being hauled out in a body bag 'making it', sure, go right ahead." "oh," she replies. "maybe I just go for an hour, then." yeah, good idea.
finally, we make it out. I had conquered the Grand Canyon! I was both exhilarated and exhausted.
and while it's not a tropical vacation by any means, it's truly an amazing adventure. one you have to experience for yourself.
would I do it again?
in a heartbeat.