Saturday, May 29, 2010
A little shuffel through the big ditch
I already knew my chances for an over night permit in the Grand Canyon were pretty much nill. But I went to the back country office to check anyways... yep... nope. Wait 3 days for a permit or hike rim to rim in one big whampum?
"As long as I don't set up camp and my wheels don't touch the ground then I'm good, Right?" "And little naps and long breaks are fine just no camping?" "Yea? Ok, got it".
I had my bike broken down, strapped to my back and was ready to cannonball in by about 1pm Friday. Down down down I went reaching the Colorado river by late afternoon. I felt like Chewbacca carrying C-3po. We took a long break at Bright Angel but got stumbling again towards Cottonwood at about dark. Man, miles seemed a bit longer with the bike riding me.
3po and I were crunching right along enjoying the ditch in the light of a half moon. Well, till our ol' friend the rattler suddenly showed up and made my pack feel weightless for half a sec. From there on my head-lamp blazed the path.
I'd give the shoulders and feet a rest about every 2 er 3 miles. I'd set C-3po down and feel like I was gonna float away. Somewhere about the 18thish mile my steps became more like dragging shuffles. In the middle of the night we're passed by other headlamps strapped to heads of pshyco human machines running rim to rim to rim. We shambled on.
I took my first little nap leaning back against a rock, just before the climb up the North Rim. When an eye unfortunately popped back open it was greying to the east, We got back to hobbling. Another power nap at the Supia tunnel put a bit of wind back in the sails to get me to the top. Where I was promptly almost tackled by Rangers. "You were in the canyon over night!" "You were told: No Camping" (Man, ya gotta love to hate'em). I said, "Look at me do I look well rested?" "Do I look like a guy who has been poaching camping spots and getting all sorts of beauty sleep?" "Was I supposed to power-walk all 24 miles in 6 hours with that load in these cycling shoes?" "I've been hiking all night you rat bastards" (OK, I didn't say the rat bastards part but I thought it) They let me off with a stern warning as I gimped around like a 90 year old man.
Soon I had the bike back together, pried my leg over the top tube and got on towards Utah.