Courtesy of 3DFlags.comSecond Annual Grand Canyon Hike (1997)

Grand Canyon, Arizona

The second chapter in our Grand Canyon adventure -- June 21, 1997. We were better prepared this time, although we learned afterwards that this day was summer solstice, the hottest and longest day of the year! Recruiting for the hike expanded, and we had convinced our friends Byron, Scott, Russ, and Michelle to hike with us.

This time, we learned that we had to wear loose fitting shoes to prevent toe damage on the way down. We also needed to bring much more food than we had anticipated last year. Moleskin was a must to prevent blisters, and we had better timing. It was hot, but not nearly as humid as last year.

So there were six hikers this time. On this trip more than any other, we developed some of our canyon lingo. Catchy phrases such as Sheik Foster Headgear, Heat Kills, and Trail of Misery. All of which will be explained in excruciating detail in the next few frames.

The group photo at Cedar Ridge. The dead tree becomes a landmark for us to remind us to take a group photo. Hey Russ, look at the camera, man! This is also where Scott pulled off the most memorable dialog with a park ranger. It went something like this:

Ranger: "Hi folks, where are you all going today?"
Scott: "Er... We're just going down a little more and then coming back."
Ranger: "[yeah right] Sir, judging by your packs, we both know you're going to the river!"
Scott: "[chuckles] Er... Don't worry, that's what we usually do." (he's never done it before)
Ranger: "Well, I can't stop you. But remember, eat before you're hungry, drink before you're thirsty. 'Cuz if you're hungry or thirsty, it's too late -- you've blown the power curve!"

And that last part of the ranger's speech has become our Grand Canyon mantra ever since!

Group photo at Cedar Ridge

The troops plod along the well maintained trail below Cedar Ridge toward the river. Byron looks worried. "Hmm, I'm the only one who doesn't have a hat! What am I going to do without a hat?"

On the move

"Dude, this water is cold!" Byron exclaims as he loses all sensation in his feet and butt. It's a nice way to numb your blisters though. OK, we've reached the bottom. Now all we have to do is climb outa here.

Cooling down in Bright Angel Stream

"Stop! Heat Kills," the sign explains. Ha! We laugh in the face of danger. Robert "the terminator" Martin realizes that his camelback pack is leaking...

Heat kills

Byron, the only one of the lot who didn't bring a hat, makes do with a turban. Thus we dubbed him Sheik Foster, and christened the term "Sheik Foster Headgear." The gang is seen resting in a patch of precious shade somewhere between the river and Indian Garden.

Sheik Foster Headgear

Scott takes a break near the Three-Mile House. As we found out with much chagrin, the name is literal. There were three miles to go! Up steep switchbacks I might add. Later that day, Byron aptly named this part of the hike the "Trail of Misery."

Near 3-mile house

"Hey guys! This is it! This is the arch at the end of the trail! Let's get our pictures taken!" Thus I became "the Bringer of False Hope". I had forgotten there were two arches. The first one was still about a mile away from the top. Isn't it great how we all looked happy and optimistic for the picture?

The arch

The next day, most of us got up extra early to go see the sunrise. What a mistake! I can't believe we got up so early! I don't even get up this early for work, and this is supposed to be a vacation?

All complaining aside, the sunrise was awesome. I was lucky enough to capture this photo of the sun cresting over the canyon rim.

Sunrise over the canyon

The sun rise is complete, revealing the splendor of the Grand Canyon. OK, can we go back to sleep now?

Canyon in early sunlight