Grand Canyon to Zion – Day 10: Kaibab Plateau – Arizona trail

May 27th 2016: Grand Canyon North Rim – Crystal Springs, ca. 18 ml

IMG_3900We decide to hike the Arizona Trail up to Jacob Lake and will see where to go next from there. It’s just too risky with my crappy hips to go cross country down into the canyon again. I once read that “the biggest strength is gentleness” and even though I’m not well in applying that to my own life and my own body, this time I gotta go there. And so I “fight” my sense for adventure and craziness and I try to be gentle with my body. I’ve put it through enough the last couple days. It’s been fine and I am so grateful it has brought me this far.

So we hike out at 6:45 and maaaaan it is sooooo easy to have a trail. It’s so fast. You only realize how easy a trail is when you haven’t had one on which you can cruise. So we cruise and cruise and have lunch at the meadow right next to the National Park entry. It hails and the sun comes back out and so on. Continue reading

Grand Canyon to Zion – Day 9: A zero on the North Rim

We go for a walk around the lodge and the shop, check the North Kaibab Trail from above and spend the rest of the afternoon in the general store. Drinking coffee and hot chocolate, eating chips, trying to catch the internet in the front left corner of the store  (important info :cP ) and to make up our minds.

What do we do next? Bushwhack down Swamp Point? The Arizona Trail till Jacob Lake? The wave? Buckskin Gulch? Too many options. It snows and hails but inside the store it’s warm.

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Grand Canyon to Zion – Day 7: Going down again – South Kaibab Trail

May 24th 2016: South Rim – South Kaibab Trail – East Tonto Trail, hardly any miles :c)

IMG_3739I have a hard time falling asleep. I worry  about the Hayduke Route down Swamp Point. No way my hips will be able to deal with that shit (awesome shit though).

We sleep till 5:30, get an early shower and enjoy a pancake breakfast at the lodge. We better start looking for Swamp Point alternatives. After reading through blogs and asking people we realize bushwhacking down the canyon might be the most stupid thing ever to do with my crappy hips. Not sure a helicopter would be able to get me out of there if my hip would dislocate. Maybe a few days on the Kaibab Plateau along the Arizona Trail. Ya. Might be an option. We still got 3 days to decide. First we need to get back to the North Rim :c)

By the time we pack our backpacks it’s time for lunch. We eat tortilla with hummus and beans and of course we have ice cream, and then we head to the South Kaibab Trailhead. We start hiking down at 12:45 pm and it is a stroll in the park. We could walk this trail blind (well kinda, better not though). The trail is so so easy and full of smooth switchbacks. What a difference to the Nankoweap Trail! It’s still crazy beautiful!

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Grand Canyon to Zion – Day 5 and 6: Up the Tanner Trail + A zero

Day 5: May 22nd 2016: 1 ml past Lava Canyon Rapid – Tanner Trail – Lipan Point, don’t know the miles

grandcanyontozion446We’re going up! No way I’m gonna hike the Escalante Route with these crazy stormy winds! Hiking up feels good and easy and smooth. Even if it’s all the way up from the river to the rim. When the wind ain’t blowing like crazy we open our umbrella and it allows us to keep hiking even when it’s getting hot.

The last part of the Tanner trail is frikkin steep and hard but after 7 hours of climbing we make it to Lipan Point. We hitch to the village, get a campspot at Mather Campground, eat pizza and refill our cup a thousand times. Damn right. BLISS.

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Grand Canyon to Zion – Day 4 : Grand Canyon Craziness

May 21st 2016: Kwagunt Rapids – Hitch across the Colorado River – Ford through the Little Colorado River – Beamer Trail till 1 mile past Lava Canyon Rapids – Ca. 10 ml

grandcanyontozion436Bushwhack shit from 5.30 till 8. Type B fun. This is frikkin crazy! I get cactus needles in my shoe and cry out of exhaustion (ya I know, after only 2,5 hours) and frustration. I want coffee and I want a fuckin trail! This kills any hips and any morale. Type B. Fuck type B right now.

In 2,5 hours we only hike (eh ya, we crawl and stumble might be a better way to put it) 1,5 miles.

The first beach we reach we stop. I’m not going on. I am so gonna put my thumb up and wait for a raft. The first one (the white shiny captain with bleached teeth) just passes by and waves. Cheers. Good karma to you!

But then Adam and his crew pass by and immediately pull over. They squeeze us in life jackets and off we go. They take us three miles till the Little Colorado River. We should have walked that? How the hell how? No way! Rafting is awesome and we are as much an adventure to these rafters as this  little boattrip is for us. The men keep telling me how brave I am. They should have seen me crying this morning. I feel more like a wimp but who cares. This is so frikkin cool. Type A is back.

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Grand Canyon to Zion – Day 3: All the way down along the Nankoweap Trail

May 20th 2016: Nankoweap TH – Nankoweap Creek – Colorado River- Kwagunt Rapids, ca. 13,5 ml

IMG_3506Crazy night. Windy as fuck. Tent comes down. We just “sleep” under the collapsed tent cause it’s just no use getting up. Leave around 6. Down down down. First along a red rock layer. Frikkin amazing! Next layer. Loose and slippery greenish yellowish stone. Concentrate Cat! Lots of wind. Loooooong way down and it’s getting hot!!!

6 hours of descending and we’re down at Nankoweap Creek. 1 hour lunchbreak. On along the creek. So so so damn beautiful! The walls rising up right next to us. But damn it’s hot!

And then. First view of the Colorado River. WOW!!!! Soon we meet the first rafting company. We talk for a bit. We drink a cold beer (you don’t say no to a cold drink in the canyon). Friendly captain Adam. Been a river guide for over 15 years. The river is carved in his face and streams like blood through his veins. In this heat we get drunk from one beer. Just right for bushwhacking along animal “trails” for 4 more miles. Being drunk helps. We laugh and our legs bleed.

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Grand Canyon to Zion – Day 2: Thornwhacking on the Ken Patrick Trail

May 19th 2016: Ken Patrick Trail – Point imperial – Nankoweap TH, ca. 10 ml

IMG_3302At 6:30 we get going and first thing I do is kiss the ground. In return I get a bloody knee. Not the last blood of the day ’cause as it turns out the Ken Patrick Trail is zero maintained and thorns are growing ALL OVER the trail. I leave enough blood on this trail to save another persons life with! Damn! Fallen trees, thorns,… This isn’t bushwhacking, this is thornwhacking!

By 10:15 we’ve whacked 6 miles and we have a very early lunch at Point Imperial because I’m so damn hungry. Fuck, I didn’t bring enough food! I freeze my ass off so we get going and by 2 pm we set up camp (that’ll be the last time that we set up camp so early, that’s for sure)  just a mile past the Nankoweap Trailhead. Better not to overdo it the first couple days. I sleep and rest and enjoy the view. And I worry about the 5600 ft/ 1700 meters of downhill tomorrow. Will my hips play along?

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Grand Canyon to Zion – Day 1: Solitude on the Ken Patrick Trail

May 18th 2018: North Rim Visitor Center – Ken Patrick Trail till Junction with the Old Bright Angel Trail – ca. 5,5 ml

grandcanyontozion394We sleep till 6:30. Or is it 7:30? 6:30? 7:30? Arizona? Utah? We’ve been state-hopping the last couple days. Back and forth. Resetting our watches. More than ever time seems non-existent. Only sunrise and sunset. The turning of days. Of the earth around the sun. Who cares what time it is?!

It’s still quiet in M&J’s RV (Daniels brother and his wonderful wife). The kids J and P are still asleep. This is the last morning we spend with them. It’s been so great to share the first few days in the States with them. They make it feel a little more like home. When all are up, we have breakfast in the sun. The kids are still tired, they need hugs and spoons with food put in their mouths. O I’ll miss these little munchkins.

We stop at the visitor center at Pipe Springs National Monument and I take my time to take a decent poo (nothing else like a good poo right?). Yesterday we started a list after eating at Taco Bell. The one who farts the least wins an ice cream. Seems like little J. is winning. But who knows how many silent little farts he has set free to dwell amongst us. Haha! Continue reading