Courtesy of 3DFlags.comFirst Annual Grand Canyon Hike (1996)

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Our inaugural hiking trip to the Grand Canyon, our maiden voyage into the depths of the biggest hole-in-the-ground on earth, began in August 1996. I don't know what possessed us to take on this trek... perhaps it was talking about it with our friend Utah (yes, that's his name) who had done it many times before. August was definitely the wrong time to do it though. At the height of the monsoon season, it was hot and humid. The worst part we found was that the mule droppings don't evaporate as well when the humidity is high, and it gets rank in a few spots along the trail.

Overall though it was an amazing experience. Going from the top to bottom, and back out again in a single day seems like such an accomplishment (and it was). I'll never forget the feeling I had when we finally reached the top and I looked back upon the path we had taken over the course of the day. It was literally awesome. We loved it so much that we agreed to make it an annual event.

There were 4 of us on the hike -- Robert, Mayrie, Mike, and myself. We hiked down to the bottom together. On the way up, Mayrie (who was on the track team at the University of Michigan) and Mike (who ran marathons for fun) left us in the dust. Robert and I came out of the Canyon many hours after they did, and Robert nearly died.

Mayrie, Mike, Robert, and I got together for a group photo at Cedar Ridge. The clouds cast amazing purple shadows across the canyon landscape. This turns out to be our place of choice for group photos in the next few years to come. Can you believe that's me? I look quite different now (unfortunately).

Cedar Ridge

Muscle man shot! The photo doesn't show it, but there's a pretty steep drop off to my right.

Top of cliff

Cooling off in the Bright Angel Stream at the bottom. This is where Robert proclaimed that he's tired -- a bad sign for the trip out of the Canyon!

The river

This is a view from the second bridge at the bottom of the canyon. The water was flowing pretty fast this year. You can see all the silt from the color of the water. You can also just make out the other bridge suspended in midair up stream.

Mighty Colorado River

Baaahh, mountain goat sighting! It's not fair that he has four-wheel drive and can go off-roading in the canyon.

Mountain goat

Victory at last! We were too tired and wet to take photos on the way up. Our shoes were soaked from the stream, and we had several nasty blisters. It was hot, and spirits were low.

Fortunately, Robert and I met up with these ladies on the way out of the canyon, and they kept us in good cheer. Unfortunately I can't remember their names. The one on the end is a visitor from Perth, Australia. The one between us is a tour guide who drove the first girl and many other foreign tourists around the western US. Robert looks OK now, but he was near the edge of death on the way up.

Victory pose at end of Bright Angel Trail

The ladies invited us over to their campground for beers. Of course we can't turn down an invitation for beer! The other new faces were visitors from Argentina I think.

Drinks with the internationl tourists