Pre-hike entry #1
June 9, 2003
Once again, my gear is spread all over the floor. A pile here, a pile there. The Texan trio -- my hiking pard'ners, Kim, Kim's brother Scott, and Scott's fifteen year-old son, Russell -- will be here tomorrow morning to throw me and my backpack into their pick-em-up truck. I'll be meeting them at an exit just off the highway north of Phoenix, so they won't have to go out of their way to get me.
I've actually never met my three hiking companions. Kim and I connected through an on-line hiking partner forum, which is how I found Mike for the Laurel Highlands Trail trip earlier this year. Kim, a message therapist and substitute teacher, has been to Grand Canyon six times before, and I used to work on the North Rim and for a Colorado River rafting company, but Scott hasn't been to the Canyon since he was a boy. And this will be Russell's first visit. I'm looking forward to witnessing his reaction when he sees that incredible place pictures don't do justice to.
Our trip will begin on the South Rim. We'll hike the Bright Angel Trail to Indian Gardens, where we'll stay two nights. Then it's down to the Inner Gorge for two nights at Bright Angel Campground. The North Kaibab Trail will take us past Ribbon Falls to Cottonwood Campground for the fifth night, and we'll hike out to the North Rim the next day. We'll be using popular trails and campsites, so I expect we'll have plenty of company and be saying many hellos along the way.
Anyhow, one of the things amongst the piles on the floor is a book I borrowed from my father-in-law, the Bear Encounter Survival Guide by James Gary Shelton. I figure, with all the miles I've hiked with no sign of an Ursus americanus, the odds are increasing that I'll cross paths with one. (Not in the Grand Canyon, though. No, no bears down there.) My next hiking partner, Allen, and I will certainly be outnumbered by black bears in Minnesota, with few backpackers on the Kekekabic (Kek) and Border Route (BRT) trails. So I figured I'd do some reading on the subject. Will I remember anything I've read when something starts clawing at the tent? Prob'ly not.
I was hoping to receive my Kek, BRT and Superior Trail guidebooks before this hike, so I could bring one along for reading material. No sign of them, though, so I guess it'll be the bear book and my Sierra Club guide to the Grand Canyon.
Oh, shoot, my dog is giving me that look. She sees the backpack, and she wants to go. But I told her she has to stay home with her dad this time. And now she's sulking, not even enjoying her Chewee. Man, this is the hardest part about going hiking. I'll miss Steve, for sure, but my daaawwwg. We always take Sassy along when we hike together, so I'll need to bring Steve more often. :o) Actually, my husband and I would always hike together if we could get away at the same time often enough.
K, well, it's time to sift through the piles and do some organizing and Zip-loc baggie-stuffing. I'm going with all cold food, so the fuel tablets and cooking pot stay home. More room for books, and extra paper for writing long journal entries. Yippee, I'm excited!
Talk to you from the trail,