A hike in The Grand Canyon – Part 9 – The morning after!
I’m not quite sure what time I woke, I know I tried to put my feet on the floor and the pain was awful! Getting out of bed to get to the bathroom seemed to be the hardest thing ever! I looked at the state of the bed, the lovely crispy, white sheets were filthy, and I recalled I hadn’t even bothered to shower before bed! It was now Tuesday 4th June, I had last showered around 3am on Sunday morning!
I hobbled to the bathroom and made a coffee en route. There was a weird note under my door with a room number for Ian, the Welshman, at least he was ok. I showered, slowly, and got dressed- trying to bend to put underwear and shorts on was the worst part. I didn’t even recognise my legs – to be honest, I did think I might have done myself some sort of serious damage – they were so swollen.
I tried to call Iain on the hotel phone, it seemed to ring forever, surely he hadn’t gone for breakfast without me! Eventually, he answered the phone, he wasn’t happy, it had taken him five minutes to lower himself onto the toilet, only to have to stand up again and hobble to the phone! We agreed to meet for breakfast.
We slowly made our way over to the reception, I told Iain about the message under my door, so at reception, we tried to find out where Ian was, they had never heard of him! So now we were left with the dilemma that we had seats booked on a bus to take us back to collect our car at The North Rim, yet we had no idea where Ian was. We decided to just go and eat breakfast. Now normally I find American breakfasts are just too big and they over face me with food – not this morning, I just wanted to eat everything! I realised we had lived on trail mix, cashew nuts and warm, stale banana sandwiches since Saturday night – it was now Tuesday!
After breakfast we managed to make contact with Ian, apparently he had been flown to Flagstaff and hired a car to drive back to the South Rim, the room number he had left was at a different hotel outside the Canyon Village, hence no-one could locate him. We checked out of the rooms and waited in reception for the arrival of Ian.
Once Ian arrived and we had all shared some of our stories of what had happened since we split up at the 6 mile point, we decided to go back to the top of Bright Angel Trail – well Iain and I had only seen it in the dark! As it was nearly three miles away, Ian offered to drive. Now I can’t remember the exact type of car he had hired, it was something like a Toyota Animal. Anyone that knows me will know I am only about five foot three – and a Toyota Animal is a very high vehicle! This combined with the fact that my legs were no longer functioning to normal capacity made it damn near impossible to climb into the car!
We arrived at Bright Angel Trailhead and Iain and I got out to take a few pictures – we both started to cry again. The realisation of what we had achieved when we looked back from the South Rim to The North Rim, it was totally overwhelming!
We spent quite some time at the South Rim just drinking it all in, however, we now had to drive back around to the North Rim to collect the hire car and that wasn’t going to be fun – it was approximately 200 miles and about four and a half hours drive. That is four and a half hours sitting in a car when you are as stiff as anything! We took our final pictures and prepared to set off. It was going to be a long day!