Friday, December 6, 2013

Turkey Weekend in the Canyon

We had a few days off last week, so we headed to the Grand Canyon. We expected snow on the rim and warmer temperatures at the bottom of the canyon. There was no snow, but we did get warmer at the bottom. Our hike included three nights in the canyon. We started hiking from Hermit's rest on the west end of the park. The trail is less visited than those near the Village and it does not have mules.

Near the top, the Hermit Trail meanders along a side canyon before opening up into the main canyon.

The lovely Santa Maria Spring reststop, about 2.5 miles into the canyon.

A view of the chocolate milk colored Colorado River.

View of the river from the Tonto Plateau. At this point, we headed east along the Tonto trail toward Monument Creek.

At our Monument Creek campsite (9 miles or so from the trailhead), Troy prepares a one-pot Thanksgiving Feast. Look closely and you'll see that we have turkey jerky and mashed potatoes. We also had dehydrated green beans, corn and dried cranberries.

Friday morning, an eerie cloud hung above making the canyon look much shorter than it is.

The "monument" for which the creek is named.

On our second day, we hiked a leisurely 1.5 miles down to Granite Rapids for our next campsite.

This would make a lovely beach for camping if it were warmer.

The sky is clearing and we had great stars at night.

The water is so dirty you can hardly tell it apart from the rocks.

Three rafts approaching the rapids.

Here's our campsite on Friday evening....

... and Saturday morning there was fog again making the canyon look really short. However, it did give the photos richer colors instead of the usual Grand Canyon washed-out coloring.

It was about 5 miles of hiking up and over to our last campsite at Hermit Creek. Unfortunately, a bold mouse snuck into our tent in the night. Even after chasing it out and cleaning everything out, I didn't get any sleep.

Since we arrived early at our Hermit Creek campsite, we had plenty of time to enjoy the refreshing deep pool of water.

Maybe it was more frigid than refreshing. Troy's calves were sore, so he is trying to ice them in the creek.

Back on the rim on Sunday afternoon after 8 miles of uphill hiking. Here's the fog that made national news. But we didn't know it at the time. Otherwise, maybe we would have taken more pictures of the ice crystals growing on trees, the lack of the view from the rim, the gray sky above us while we were in the canyon... Personally, the gray sky reminded me of an overcast Cleveland day when you feel like you just might hit your head on the ceiling of the sky if you jump too high. In the Grand Canyon, it felt that way, but we actually did hit the "ceiling" of fog, walked right through it (it was really thin) and arrived in a frigid pine forest.

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