“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery–air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”
— Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
April 18 – Phantom/Crystal Creek Loop
Above Phantom Creek to South Rim via Bright Angel Trail
What a great day! Casual, stress-free, cool weather, gentle rain, stunning views, and lots of gear questions on the Bright Angel Trail by passing hikers. Doesn’t get better.
We headed down to Phantom Ranch and all of us promptly dunked into the stream, drank a ton of water, visited with other guests at the ranch about hikes, gear, and knee problems. Our group then headed out to hike up 4, 314 feet on the Bright Angel Trail to end our trip on the South Rim.
Just as we began the steep ascent up, wind and rain clouds moved in. Magic.
On top of that, quite a few hikers stopped and asked about my small pack, how much it weighted, what was in it, and how long/where we had been. They also asked about our Dirty Girl Gaiters and where to get them. I LOVE conversations that lead to a more positive and safer experience in the outdoors. Dan is always very quick to mention this blog and that ladyonarock.com has all the information they need. We also stopped and talked to a few day-hiker families about taking their kids out more and how to do that. I just love watching faces drop when you tell them, ” Yes I have a tent, yes I carry a stove, and yes I have a comfortable sleeping mat.” The conversations often lead to my poles and why I use them. Lots of hikers have a difficult time descending into the Grand Canyon and come away with knee pain.
Although I would NOT recommend a cross-country hike in the Grand Canyon, I would highly recommend many of the trails the national park offers.
I learned a lot on this trip about myself, how to work together, the importance of a good sense of humor, getting a good plan, and trusting your team mates.
We set out to test some new gear on this trip. Here are my thoughts:
Gossamer Gear Gorilla – Loved the volume size, comfort of the shoulder straps, and durability (held up nicely after being hoisted up many a chimney). One suggestion is that the back length of the pack be a bit shorter (I am 5’2′). I am hoping Gossamer Gear will someday make an x-small size pack.
ZPacks Duoplex cuben tent – So far so good. We do need to get the hang of setting it up for storms.
Viewranger GPS app – Worked perfectly.
Golite Crome Dome Umbrella – This by far was the star of our trip with the hands-free bungee attachment on our pack,.
Sawyer Squeeze Mini – Worked and I recommend buying a 2 liter bladder instead of the small sizes that come with the filter.
Cascadia 9 trail runners – Very grippy, supportive, and so comfortable.
iPhone 5s with Lifeproof case (Lifeproof coupon) – So finally I have an iPhone that actually DOES have a longer battery life. The 5s is a huge upgrade over the 5 as far as battery life.
Smartwool toesocks – I wore huge holes on my big and small toes. I just don’t think they were thick enough to handle the rough environment.
Sea to Summit long spork – Another star of the trip. It has a great angle, length, is strong, and so light.
There ya have it. Hope everyone is having a beautiful Easter week and enjoying the outdoors.
Scotland is just 2 weeks away!!!!!!!!!!!!!