Grand Canyon – Part 4 – The journey continues
We started making good time and were at Cottonwood within the hour, because of the heat we decided to spend the next hour sitting in the river, fully clothed, just cooling down, it was heaven. We topped up our hydration packs and saw the helicopter fly in to take Ian to the medical centre. We were approached by one of the walk guides we had met earlier that morning, he sat and chatted for a while, telling us how they had all been worried about “The Welshman” – he repeated the advice regarding when to walk and not to walk, he seemed very reassured that we had taken the decision to get help for Ian and almost a little impressed that we did have all the necessary kit required for such a walk.
Around 6pm Iain and I set off, we had about 8.5 miles to walk and two hours of daylight left. It was much cooler now, the downhill path was relentless and after a while toes feel bruised, knees start to ache but we had to continue – next stop was Phantom Ranch- ideally we needed to be there by 10pm.
Progress was good and we had arrived at the the point where the Canyon gets very narrow and dark before losing the light. At this point in the walk we had to be very careful, the path was no more than three feet wide, it was pitch black and we could hear the water in the bottom of the Canyon – worrying thing was whilst we could hear the water, it was so deep, we could not see it! There were a couple of times when a loose stone nearly upset my footing, I tried to stay close to the wall of the Canyon. By now Iain was starting to get tired, the time spent trying to help Ian down the steps earlier were taking their toll, I lent him one of my walking sticks to help support him with his aching left leg, we still had an hour to go.
As predicted, at 9.55pm we arrived at Phantom Ranch. After checking in we were able to get a glass of iced lemonade – it was heaven! We sat outside and I went to use the restroom, on my return I realised that I had put my walking stick down next to my lemonade – as Iain went to take off his rucksack, he knocked the walking stick and both glasses of iced nectar fell onto the dusty dessert floor!
Before going to bed we were able to make contact with my brother who sent emails to my Mum and Iain’s wife Val, we then made our way to our dormitories. Phantom Ranch dormitories are single sex – men in one dorm, women in the other. I crept into my dorm, relieved to see that the first bed I came to was free, it was a lower bunk too – brilliant! I sat down and peeled my clothes off, placed the rucksack under the bunk, took my boots and socks off and got into bed. Two things hit me as I lay there in the dark, the first was that I ached so much I dare not move, the second being that my feet were right next to the ladies head in the next bunk down to me – and my feet stunk big time!!
To be continued………….