Friday, September 23, 2011

Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Hike

On September 20, thirteen long time girl friends tackled the Grand Canyon doing the rim to rim hike from North to South. Eleven of them continued on and returned a day later. I was not one of them. I was happy to do the one way trip. 
Shan, Jenny, Suzan, Sherrie, Laura, Judy, Drexel, Terry, Cathy, Sherilee, Brenda, Charlene and Mary.
There was a mask floating around for grumpy women to wear if needed. I am not telling who is wearing it the first night. 

 Our first evening was beautiful and we watched the sunset over the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. After dark we were amazed at the sight of the Milky Way with no lights to distract from it. 

 Early morning start at the trail head. 

There are tunnels and lots of bridges along the way. 
The morning light was beautiful and everything glowed with the rust colored rock. 
You could spot friends all along the trail. 
 This picture was taken from a bridge of our shadows. Unfortunately when I took the picture one of my hiking poles fell off of the bridge. Oops, I hate it when that happens. I discovered that I preferred hiking with one pole. Lucky for me as I still had 22 miles left to go. 
 This trail is not for anyone with a fear of heights. You can see it carved into the mountain. It is about three feet wide and who knows how deep the drop off is. I did not dare to look over it far enough to see the bottom. 
 When we hit the bottom of the canyon we took a side trip into Ribbon Falls to cool off. The mist was delightful. 
 I got out my new silly looking hat but found it to be very helpful especially when I soaked it in the creek. 
 We stopped at Phantom Ranch for lunch. They sell lemonade there that was the best thing I had ever tasted. Ever!!!! With big cubes of ice. It was near 100 degrees down here. We then soaked ourselves with water from the tap. 
From Phantom Ranch we headed to the Bright Angel Trail. I have always been fascinated by that name. I found out that it was named to counter the Dirty Devils. 
 Crossing the Colorado River on a walking only suspension bridge. The temperature is now 114 according to the thermometer. The river was very muddy. 

My friends are really tough. They held this rock up. 
Here is one of the trail critters we ran into. 
The hike ended in the dark. We spent two or three hours hiking up Bright Angel Trail in the dark. Everyone had head lights on. All I can say is it was one long steep uphill hike. You could see the lights at the top of the canyon but they never seemed to get closer. There were 4.5 miles of switch backs. I ran out of steam and it was a tough hike out for me. 
My first step out of the canyon. I am feeling suddenly better. The sign is all about the dangers of the hike. 
The next morning I walked over to the rim to see what the trail looked like. This is the Bright Angel Trail that we came up.  

If you look closely at this picture above it shows the route from North to South. We started at the top of the picture in the canyon. 
I DID IT!!!!!!!!

Now I have to put my disclaimer. I read many things over the summer about this hike. Every single one of them said...DO NOT HIKE THIS IN ONE DAY. There were signs everywhere  in the canyon saying do not do this hike in one day. Although we did not have any problems we saw some others who did. So if you decide to do it be very cautious and make an educated decision. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lunch with my girl friends

 There is nothing better than fall in the Teton Mountains. Summer came late this year so the wildflowers are just at their peak in the high altitudes. The trail we hiked took us behind Grand Targhee Ski Resort. It was really beautiful. We hiked about 14 miles. It was also my test hike for hiking the Grand Canyon next week. I made it just fine so guess I am going. 

 After three hours of uphill climbing (10,000 feet high) we made it to this beautiful lake. Lunch is always the highlight of a long hike. We share goodies and stories of hikes from years ago. I have been hiking with these ladies for about 25 years now. 
 My favorite flower which few have ever seen is the Elephants Head Flower. Each blossom looks like an elephants head. I only see them above 9,000 feet. If you click on the picture you will see all the cute purple elephants. 
 Laura was our guide for this trip. It is a good thing we had her because this hike has a poor, barely there trail. In fact crossing these flower filled meadows there was no trail to be found. So we made our way through these beautiful flowers. 
I love to go a wandering among the hills so green and as I go I love to sing, my Knapp sack on my back....
That was a song I learned in grade school. I still love it. 
If you look closely at the front of all these hikers you will see BEAR SPRAY hanging off of us. We keep it handy as this canyon is rumored to be the one with the most grizzly bears. We did not see any but our day was spent looking out for them. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten years ago today

I suspect everyone is remembering where they were 10 years ago today. Who could forget. I was driving with a friend Terry Conrad to Idaho Falls. We were going on a tour to the INEL nuclear reactor sight west of Rexburg. It was part of a state wide meeting for emergency coordinators. We heard on the way down to Idaho Falls on the radio that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. We continued on and boarded the bus with all of the emergency coordinators for Idaho. When we arrived out there we were greeted by security who told us we would be escorted back off of the grounds due to security. They allowed us a restroom stop and then drove us out. Back then the cell phones were just that, so the only news we received was by cell phone. A phone on the bus would ring and the person receiving the call would relay the latest news. A plane was headed for the capital, now it had crashed and on and on. The bus was eerily quiet. We all headed back to our cities and jobs, the conference ended without meeting. I went back to the hospital arriving just in time to watch the first tower collapse. My heart still breaks for that day. 

So many lives lost on that day but also during the years of war since then. One of the directors over the Newborn Resuscitation Program we are involved in lost her husband Brady Howell in the Pentagon crash. Liz does amazing things for us and all those who are involved in this work. 
And so time passes on. We will never forget that day and we pray that there not be a repeat in the future. Osama Bin Laden is now gone but the evil he created is not. The world will never be the same. An interesting thing is that years ago I saw an article about him in a Readers Digest. It said that he was one of the most dangerous men ever. This was before anyone had heard of him. I was so impressed that I saved the article. There was something about his face. Little did I know that he would wreak such havoc on the United States. So we pause today to remember all of those lost. 
God Bless America!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

How to entertain yourself when walking

I have this crazy notion to go hiking. Not just a little hike but the Grand hike of all. I am planning to hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim in two weeks. With about 16 of my friends. Some of these friends are very in shape. I am not able to do all the mountain hikes they are doing to train so I walk around town instead. A lot of walking. I find the biggest hills and just keep walking. This last weekend I walked about 40 miles. You have to entertain yourself to walk that much. This day I took pictures of myself in some of the fun places I walked. I have seen a lot of fun and beautiful things in Rexburg. Everyone should go walking and just look at your surroundings. It is really cool. 
 BYUI gardens. This guy kind of creeped me out. 

 This summer to help train I hiked the stadium stairs. Now that sounds fun doesn't it? I discovered another place to do stairs. Lots of them in the Conference Center. 75 stairs to be exact. They also have a nice restroom and a cold water fountain. Good tip when you are walking for hours. 
 I stopped in at my friends who ditched us to hang out in Bermuda. Knocked on the door for old times sake. Nobody answered. :)
 Most nights I head out walking again before I go to bed. This night I saw this amazing sight. All these floating fire filled lanterns were floating up into the sky. They looked like the ones in Tangled. Turns out they are drifting up into the sky from a wedding reception in my neighborhood. Not too surprising the Fire Department showed up. 
Call me Mary Gump. 

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Different views from the street

 I stood in the middle of the street in Puerto Maldonado and took a picture each direction. These are the different things I saw. 

 A student arriving by motor-taxi. 
 Heaps of garbage being sorted through in the intersection. 
 A small business directly across the street from the LDS Chapel. 
 The Church is so clean and orderly, a welcome sight to members and nonmembers alike.