In September, a group of us spent a few days among the waterfalls at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. We left Phoenix in the evening, caravanning to Seligman, a tiny town on historic Route 66. Before crashing in our tiny motel beds, we hit Black Cat Bar – along with the five other Seligman residents that stay up past 10pm. My favorite part of this bar was the menu (don’t worry, there’s a photo).
We woke up in darkness and raced the sunrise to the edge of the canyon. Pierce made sure to carb up – eating his cold spaghetti leftovers he got the night before in Prescott. Mmmmm. The hike to the small Indian community where you get your permits is about ten miles. From there you have a few more miles (feels like ten more) to get to the campgrounds. We hiked this distance with full packs (and made sure to buy mules for our packs on the hike out). We seemed to be late to the party coming on an off day, so we were limited when it came to finding a dry spot along the river to set up camp. I think Bryan actually just slept in his hammock for the duration of the stay. Deanna and Lindsay probably had the best set-up. Pierce and I were definitely on a slant, but we did have a cool piece of wood from the river in front of our tent that acted as a perfect bench. Poor John and Randee…sharing a one person tent? I believe someone definitely spent a night or two sleeping on the picnic table we dragged over…
Our days were spent lounging among the waterfalls (many of which actually required another multi-mile hike), nights we shared JetBoils for mac n cheese and beans, and played games by headlamp. My highlight was the night I took my tripod out away from camp towards Mooney Falls to try my hand at shooting star trails. Pierce joined me, along with his dinner of wild rice (kid takes like two hours to eat what I slam in four minutes). As he and I sat in semi-silence and pure darkness, I heard someone snacking on the dish of rice a few feet away. I turned on my red light and was face to face with a ringtail cat. If you know me, you know that just about ANY animal sighting incites my highest level of excitement. I had never seen our state mammal in the wild. He hung out with us for about 35 minutes as he got his fill from Pierce’s dinner. SCORE ONE FOR THE ANIMAL NERD.
I don’t remember the hike out being too difficult. I ate a lot of jerky and Goo cubes (because really, when else am I going to eat that stuff?) We made great time (despite me stopping every few minutes to get some obscure shot/Pierce’s slow pace – we made a perfect team since the others were nowhere to be found. Had Pierce not been there, I would have been hiking alone a lot, methinks). That is, until the switchbacks in full sun. Killer. I drove Pierce, Randee and John back to Prescott for celebratory beers – and I must apologize again for driving like a bat out of hell on that pothole-filled road. Sometimes, despite how beautiful and awe-inspiring a place can be, nothing sounds better than a beer and a shower.
(photos are from my DSLR, iPhone and film camera)
This guy told us all the local lore about the rock formations – The Bride and the Prince, The Backpacker/Old Man with the Burden on His Back, and The Lion of Judah. He told us to “sit by the creek and talk to God, because we all have problems in our lives.”
Believe this was right before Pierce put on my running shorts (that’s it) and went over to the next camp and asked if they had seen his dog Tico (in a very specific kind of accent). Dares, man. They get me every time.
Our camp “waterfall.”
“I feel like I’m at a ride at Disneyland!”
Our gang originally was a lot bigger, but in the end, seven of us followed through! Deanna, Lindsay, Bryan, John, Randee, Me, Pierce.
Seriously, what an adventure. If you ever have the opportunity, seize it. Reservations have to be made pretty far in advance, and they obviously limit the number of people allowed in the canyon. I’ve been twice now and if I were asked to go again, I would definitely do it, despite my hesitation to repeat destinations!