Grand Canyon Hike

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The alarm buzzed, waking me harshly from my once peaceful sleep. Four o'clock came too quickly. I did not want to get up from the warm bed, but I knew what was in store would be well worth it. My whole family was along for what we hoped would be the experience of a lifetime. Ahead of us was an eight mile hike down the west rim of the Grand Canyon. Following instructions, we forced down as much breakfast as we could bear at the early hour. The nutrients and water would be a vital part of our successful journey to the Colorado River below. Everything we would need for the next 10 days on the river would be jammed into our backpacks and carried the entire way to the bottom of the canyon.
My family and the 18 others going along on the trip gathered at the head of Angel Trail. It was still dark when we all, hardly able to see more than the next step we would take, headed down the trail. Of the 18 on the trip, we only knew eight. My mom’s best friend’s family of four, the Kammars, and our family friends, the Longs, were along. Only a few minutes in to what would be a four and a half hour hike, my brother, Brandon, Nathan L., Nathan K., Eric K., and I pulled out in front of the group. As the first light began to break over the jagged rim above, none of the others were in sight. The trail, continuing endlessly, switched back and forth down the steep edge. Along the way we stopped for water breaks and rest. Drinking enough water to keep us hydrated and guard against heat stroke was important under the hot, fast approaching Arizona sun.
Around each turn, we anticipated the end. We were wrong. The canyon, constantly changing each mile we hiked down, would be our shelter for the next 10 days. As we traveled further, my ankles began to sear, the skin raw from the repetitive rubbing of my new hiking boots. Many people would believe hiking down is easy. It is not. Gravity is not as helpful as I thought it would be. The entire way down, I held back the weight of my body and my pack. With a shear cliff down on one side and up on the other, each step was careful planned and executed. A missed step could potential turn bad, quickly. One of the others along on the trip, Terrance, exemplified this when he fell and hurt his foot about half way down. Although he made it the rest of the way down, he had to be helicoptered out of the canyon after learning that his leg was actually broken and not healing well.
Eventually, around 8:30, the five of us reached our destination at the Colorado River to find our six river guides waiting for us on each of their big, yellow, inflatable rafts. We greeted them, exhausted from the never-ending trek, and learned that we were one of the fastest groups to make it down the trail. Relieved, we found a place to sit as we waited for the rest of our group to finish out the last leg of their hike down. Knowing the hardest part was behind us, the rest of the trip would be more relaxing.





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