Grand Canyon

So behind! Though I just finished posting about Moab, I actually just came back from my trip to the Grand Canyon – North Rim. On the way there, we stopped by Glen Canyon and Horse Shoe Bend. Horse Shoe Bend is 3/4 of a mile hike one way of mostly sand and no shade. I wish I knew this beforehand because I didn’t bring water and I was dying on the way up. With the temp of mid 90’s, it was a hard climb especially in the sand, but pretty spectacular view.

Fantastic view of Horse Shoe Bend

Anyways, the Grand Canyon. I have not personally visited the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, though I know it’s the more visited area since its more accessible. Though Lauren has been to both now and from what I heard and read from other people, here are the key differences.

-South is more crowded – lots of tour buses, lots of people at every view point. A lot of people stay in Flagstaff if they go.
-North is more secluded -not many people on the trails/vista points. The campsite within the park is limited space and you have to book it way in advance. There is a campsite outside the park and only like one or two inns in the closest town – Jacob Lake.

-South is the stereotypical view, what most people imagine when they hear the word Grand Canyon. You can see a view of the canyon from almost anywhere – vast mesas and layers of colored rock. So very easy to see a great view without hiking.
-North is inhabited by the Kaibab National Forest. Since its 1000 feet higher than the south, it’s a much cooler climate and has lots of trees. Great views are at certain vista points and might take some hiking which is more fun anyways.

So we went to the North Rim and we loved it. At some vista points, we were the only ones there and it felt like it was made especially for us. It just made it more personal and more breathtaking to be the only one taking the view. It was made, The climate was cooler which made the hikes more bearable, there were no group of annoying teenage boys around or big groups of people on buses. It was calm, peaceful, and relaxing.

And since the only place to stay is so far and expensive, we decided to camp instead. Please keep in mind neither of us have really camped before – as in others always took care of us and we never had to plan or set up anything. So we were really out of our comfort zones and didn’t know what to do whatsoever. Luckily, one of the pharmacist at the hospital let us borrow his camping gear! Man, the people here are nice. He wasn’t our preceptor, we have never worked with him before, and neither of us had a conversation with him before. So he let these couple of city bitches girls borrow his stuff just in the name of nature (note: this guy camped for a month straight while climbing a mountain in Alaska). But just to make sure we didn’t break his shit, he even showed us how to set up the tent – in the pharmacy of course.

Pharmacist geeking out while setting up the tent

And because the travel gods are always on our side, we somehow got the last spot at the campsite reserved. Supposedly, the campsite is booked for the rest of the season already and there are rarely cancellations so if you decide to go, try to book it early! Or you can be like this Swedish couple we met who came up to us and asked if they could share our campsite with us and then paid us for the site. So we actually ended up paying for one night instead of two. Our theory is they asked us because 1) We didn’t have an RV 2) We were the youngest looking ones there 3) We had beer all over our picnic table

One day camping, I will conquer you

ANYWAYS, onto the good stuff – aka pictures with vague descriptions because I’m running out of time and energy to type. We woke up around 6 and left the site to drive to some trails and hike some stuff.

Vista Encantada

FIRST HIKE – Something… cape. One of the farthest drives. Easy and paved.

The best view on this hike are the ones without fences – so go find them

Its so big

Rotations are tough

SECOND- Spring Creek trail?? Sorry, lost my map can’t name all of these. This one is neat because it brings you to this small spring and it’s nice and cool. A great, short hike to do in the middle of the day since its shaded. A mile round trip.

Lauren gets cool pictures of her since I take so long to get to places

THIRD- Final Cape… something. Brings you to a view of the painted desert. Four miles round trip but super easy. Its through the woods and for the most part, there’s not much of an incline. It kinda gets rocky towards the end though and inclines towards the end too.

The end of the two mile hike

Got back around 1 and got this brilliant idea to buy hammocks at the store and try to set them up. To feel less stupid, I drank a beer then started to set up my hammock so I could blame the beer if I felt dumb… brilliant really. Finally rigged them up and ahhh

Hammocks. Are. Awesome.

We literally laid there in our hammocks, listened to music, and drank beer until at least 6. Then as I finished up my last beer, I had this sudden urge to go on a walk/hike at the Transet Trail which runs along the campsite. It might just be me, but my senses are heightened when I drink a little, so tipsy hiking was a great (not so great) idea. The hike is through this nice path and it SMELLED SO GOOD. And everything was SO PRETTY since the sun was setting.

The North Rim is so green! This was especially breathtaking due to tipsy hiking

Next morning, one last hike.

North Kaibab Trail – the only trail that brings you into the canyon. Shared by mules, so watch out for the poop – terrible, terrible smell. Smart people brought bandanas to cover their faces. It’s a long trail (10 miles one way I think) so we just went a short bit and turned around. Easy climb down but steep and tiring the way back up.

We didn’t get very far… it was miserable with the fresh mule feces. Its easy to hold your breath on the way down but not the way up…

Anyways, Grand Canyon North Rim trip, a success. Beautiful sites and just super relaxing. Much needed after 12 hour work shifts and since we’ve been on the road non-stop in between. Hammocks + beer = awesome. Two and a half day trip, one and half days to rest.

The drive back… not a bad view

Well, I actually went back to Arizona with my neighbors…. but until next time…


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