One day I decided to take the trail by our campsite and see where it went. I knew it headed down the Rim, but I thought I could handle it.
The sign at the trail head was rather discouraging.
All that fuss over a little tree?
Most of the trail was really nice, although I could understand how it would become a running wash in the rain. But who hikes in the rain anyway?
Ron would have been whipping out the pruners and doing some trail clearing here.
Even in the woods, there were some pretty wildflowers. I think this is a wild geranium.
Okay, the fallen trees are getting bigger.
As I was making my way down the trail (and not really thinking about the return trip back up), I became aware of an odd sound. Of course the first thing I thought was 'BEAR!', but I realized the sound might be a hiking stick. Since I don't think bears have developed opposable thumbs yet, I felt pretty safe. (And, yes, all this did go through my mind.)
Well, sure enough, there was another crazy hiker on this trail, this one on his way up. As startled as I was to run into him, I think I took ten years off his life when I spoke since he hadn't heard me coming. I saw him visibly jump. Let that be a lesson - don't listen to an IPOD while hiking.
He told me I was close to an area where the woods opens up for incredible views. Sure enough, just a little farther and I could see the edge of the rim where I started.
Humm, maybe I should turn around. I checked the GPS and I had come down 800 feet. Gee, it looks like farther.
When I started back, I couldn't believe how breathless I was. On the steeper sections, I swear I was stopping every 20 feet! What a wimp! I guess walking the air conditioned mall at 1000 feet, even at a pretty good clip, does not prepare you for hiking uphill at 6800 - 7600 feet. I don't know how the rest of you do it!
During one of my stops, this white-breasted nuthatch entertained me. (Sure, he's there - right in the center of the picture.)
But most of the time I was too busy breathing to take any pictures. I even called Ron to tell him not to expect me any time soon.
I did finally make it back up and, although it seemed like forever to me, I was only gone about 2 hours. I figure it was only about a mile each way - 1/2 hour down and 1 1/2 hours back up. Let's see, that's 2 mph going down and 3/4 mph back up. Wow! I could have crawled faster!
I thought I would be dead tired the rest of the day, but after an hour or so, I was actually very energized! I couldn't even wind down to sleep that night.
I'll leave you with one last picture from the top of the Rim. What a spot!