Once a source of "Not all you want to know about Texas Adventure Racing," but now just some "leisure" adventure through the eyes of "The K-SPoT"

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Mother Of All Teams (Texas) 16th Out of ~90 Teams in PQ


Hoopfest Last Weekend

tired baller
It was Hoopfest in the Spoke last weekend. I wasn't there. But I heard from a bird that Rob had lost to a bunch of Ferris kids. Nice. Here's a picture to remind us that he lost to a couple of short asian girls last Christmas. Poor Rob.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Good Week of Workouts

nice computer
So I remember back when Kenny Farrow directed his first race in 2006...it was a good race, now he is a world-renown race promoter and producer, same as the likes of Burnett...okay, so I'm getting WAY ahead of myself. LOL. Yes, this was the first race I put on and it was with Aaron, who did most of the layout of the course. It was really fun doing it and I really would like to put another one on later this year. It all depends on timing and conflicts with other races, etc. We'll see...if not, definitely one next year. Terry Hershey was a good location for sure. It was definitely an easy course, so we might step up the difficulty up next time...

Barfoot philosophizesLast week I got in some really good workouts. Tuesday we had a tough 2hr workout with interval/relay workouts around the soccer field, riding the fruit loop, and some pullups and bike carrys. I was a little frustrated with my bike pod because the alignment was very sensitive. I finally got it to work out, but I have since moved it over to my road bike since I plan to do a lot of my protocol tests on that bike in the next few weeks. Wednesday I went back to Terry Hershey to put up the western cps for the bike race this past weekend. It had rained the weekend before that and I found out why Addicks Reservoir was called a Reservoir! It looked like a lake! And I couldn't put up one point because the location was now under water. Craziness!

class is in sessionThursday was another hard workout, except, me being a masochist, decided to get a longer workout that day. I came out an hour earlier and did a bike-run 1hr brick. Then we proceeded to do a 3 loop bike time trial on the fruit loop, then finished it off with a run-bike-run-bike 2person team race on the trails. I had Helena who was pretty strong, so I knew we would do fine. We had Michael Mey and Jackie in our sights, but then there was an illegal substitution between Rick and Michael. Cheaters. So, we just kept our pace constant and came in 2nd. It was a pretty demanding, good practice.

Monty goes for itTook Friday off and then did my first Protocol Test for my T6 research paper on Heat-Humidity-Sweat loss on Saturday. I'm gonna try and get a set of controls by doing a 8min warmup and then a 30min steady state bike on the fruit loop at about 80%hr exertion. It went well and got some good data. Today I'm gonna see if I can do it again. I did a before and after weighing to get the fluid loss data. Then I followed it with a 8x10sec sprint interval set and 30min more of riding. Felt really good throughout that workout.

post-race debriefingThen of course yesterday was the Bike-O at Terry Hershey. Aaron and I were joking that it would be just Monty who showed because that was the only confirmation we both got via email. To our surprise we had a pretty good showing: 3-1person teams and 2-2person teams. We started at about 9am and it lasted about 2-3hrs for the teams. Tommy finished up first at around 2hrs, followed by Justin and Barfoot, then Monty. Apparently Monty and Justin/Barfoot were neck and neck at the last CP, but Monty took an offroad trail that would take a lot longer that the paved trail the others took. It was a good outing and no real complaints, other than maybe that it was too easy for some. So for sure will have an advanced course next time...

Even a Fuchs has his dayNow I'm a bit distracted by Primal Quest! Crazy that I actually thought I was ready for that thing! Then again, there's always next year...LOL.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Zags of 96 Party Like It Was the Summer of 69

Class of '96For those looking for an adventure racing-related blog, I will tell you that I hit HART practice last Tuesday and it was one of the toughest ones in a while for me due to the humidity and on Wednesday I went over to Terry Hershey to vet the Bike Orienteering course Aaron and I were putting together. This is gonna be a real fun course--we never have any real bike orienteering practice, so I figured this would be a good opportunity for HART. OK, now, those who aren't interested in college reunions should read no further.

tagged the AD bldgI knew you couldn't resist...Man, it seemed like I just got off of a plane from the GC trip and here I was again, flying up north for the Gonzaga reunion. This time it would be farther north, back to Spokecompton...where it all happens. There were be no ardurous hike for water, no deperate search for shelter, or long shuttle drives the other side of a big hole. Just a lot of walking around and many visits to Jack and Dan's.

nice sturdy wingSo Mo and I flew out of Bush Intercontinental on Thursday. She warned me that she had the fear of flying, which I could kind of understand since she was both was scared of heights and claustrophobic. Not the best combo for getting on a plane. I didn't realize how bad she had it until we started moving. First we had to negotiate seats with another person since we didn't have seats together. I knew she was NOT gonna fly next to complete strangers. Well, I thought it would be relatively easy, but the NICE woman that I wanted to switch with already had negotiated a switch with one other fussy woman so that she could sit with her husband. When I say fussy, I mean FUSSY. I tried to explain to her that our seat was in the row just in front of us, but she didn't want to have anything with it. The deal was off with the nice lady and the nice lady had to come back up and, thankfully, agreed to sit in our other original seat. I couldn't believe this fussy woman! I guess fussy also wanted an aisle seat, not a window. We felt bad so we tried to negotiate a switch with a nice guy's aisle seat. It looked like it was working, but fussy was at it again and saw that the man next to her was a bit plump. She said, for real, in his face, that he was too big and didn't want to switch at all now. Unbelievable. I wanted to plant a knife in her pocket and rat her out.

get me off this thingSo with that not so nice start to the trip, Mo had a death grip on my hand...I thought I was gonna lose a couple of my fingers by the trip's end. Every noise alarmed her...she was going at about a 1 gasp/minute pace. Nice. How long was this flight again? I was hoping, praying for clear skies for her sake...and the sake of my phalanges. I almost cried during takeoff as she squeezed and squeezed and squeezed. Oh man, thank goodness that was over. So I thought we would be doing fine until landing, and we were. We were joking around, reading, eating snacks, and having a couple drinks to calm the nerves, but all the sudden she had that worried look on her face again. I asked her what was wrong and she told me she needed a motion sickness bag. Nice. There were none in our seat pockets so we quickly flagged down a flight attendant. He finally came back with one, not too soon. She unloaded. For real. I looked away for a second and then looked back and the bag was already half full! OMG! I was frantically looking for the flight attendant thinking we would need another one. But she did stop eventually. Mmmm, bag o vomit. Tasty. The flight attendant came back with ginger ale and started to joke with her. She was a good sport. Good times, good times.

JD'sHer nausea cleared, but now it was time for TD. Thankfully, no real problems. We had a massive 5hr layover in Salt Lake, so I figured that would give her good time to settle before the next flight. Plus, this one would be a bigger plane. We had to fenagle the same musical seat rotation as before, but this time it was pretty smooth--when we told them she threw up on the previous flight they quickly understood. Everyone around us seemed to be aware of her situation and were on puke watch. The guy next to us joked with her, possibly trying to calm her nerves--he urged her that if she did have to lose her cookies she should turn her head my way. Thanks, guy. Anyway, it was an eventless flight and we made it to the Spoke. Woods was there to pick us up...of course he had already hit Jack and Dan's (Jack Stockton, John Stockton's dad) and that was where we were headed after we got settled in the hotel.

Mo at JD'sJack and Dan's was expanded into the drugstore that used to be there at the corner. It was so much bigger, that it was almost unrecognizable. Plus, they served hard alcohol now! Wow. How things change...and how things stay the same. We quickly secured one of the old booths and just talked. We saw Seth, who was now down in Corpus Christi for a short time, but for the most part, our "crew" wasn't in yet. Tomorrow night would be a different story for sure. We hung out for a few beers and slowly people trickled out, trying to conserve strength for the for sure long weekend it was going to be. We would not be disappointed.

what is this starbucks place you talk of?Next morn we got up and enjoyed the nice Fairfied breakfast. On our way out we witnessed a four alarm fire going on in the toaster. Apparently someone must have put a cinnamon bun in there when the sign strictly stated to do otherwise...the desk clerk's eyes grew wide and he hurredly told the attendant who ran in there, putting on gloves as if she had seen this before. We fled the scene. We then drove to, of course, Starbucks for our morning fill. Plus, Theresa Timms of University Relations invited me there for coffee. Very nice of her. We just chatted about general improvements to campus and the reunion. She then took us over to the new McCarthey Center. I had already seen a game there, but she brought us through the "back door" and onto the floor. It is a sweet facility indeed. Theresa had to get back to work so we parted ways at the COG, since Tim had to get his spend on at the bookstore.

grizzly loveBy the time we were done droppin coin, we decided to walk campus for a bit and visit Alumni House. On the way we stopped by Crosby (named after Bing Crosby), which was a lot different too. First of all, they no longer had the polar bear, but it was oddly enough replaced by a Grizzly bear with a Zags jersey on. So odd, I had to take a pic with it. After quickly chatting with Bob Bartlett along the way about Humidtown we made it to Alumni house and talked with Kara...we found out she was Miss Montana one year! She tried to deny it, but there were photos on her bookshelf to confirm the rumor. They also happened to have the class yearbooks handy and we quickly skimmed through them to see our house photos, which Mo really enjoyed. Craziness.

da receptionBy the time we finished the tour of Alumni House (and were given numerous Zag trinkets) it was noon and we hooked up with the Murphy's who had just got into town. We had lunch at the High Nooner. I couldn't believe I've never been to this place--it was actually pretty good. Hey, if you have "nooner" in your name, how can it not be good? Next was heading over to the house to say hi to the family. My mom, sis, brother in law, and nephew were there. I missed my brother by one week--he should be there this week for Hoopfest. As usual, my mother and sister and brother cooked way too much for us and we hardly made a dent in the food...and my mom even forgot to cook my favorite dish, lumpia! Wow, we were stuffed. We hung out for a bit and then we had to head out for the reception. I think it went really well.

Kenny and MoWe met with Tim and the rest of the crew who finally arrived at Cyrus O'Leary's where they were having dinner. Apparently they were at C.I. Shenanigan's right before that boozin it up. Hilarious--it was like an Irish weekend extravaganza! Tim left for the airport to pick up Chantal while we finished up at Cyrus O. We then met up with them at the Fairfield to get ready for the reception.

the crowdReception was in the Spokane room of the COG (Center Of Gonzaga). It was great to finally see everyone. Everyone from Nora/Superior houses were there: Joker, Gavin, Jim, Tim, and I. After taking advantage of the free beer and wine, we of course headed back over to Jack and Dan's. The place was really packed now...hardly any room to move. Rains, Stoneback, Spink--the list goes on! It was great to see these guys again. As the night before, we didn't stay for too long since we still had the boat cruise the next night. We left at about 1230 and Timmer and Chantal got back at a little later.

SpikeSaturday morning started up about the same. Breakfast at Fairfield and then we drove over to GU for another campus tour right before the picnic around noon. Of course, Mo and I had to make a Starbucks run. We hit the AD building this time, where they were doing a lot of renovations. One of the differences is that the student chapel actually had pews now--we used to have just plain old chairs. Man, I remember being a eucharistic minister. I miss that. Over to Herak then Jepson, where they had built around it, ND stadium-like--you could still see the old exterior brick! Back to Crosby and then the picnic started.

picnicThis was more of a family-oriented event, so many more kids running around this time around. PG-13. Spike was there entertaining kids and adults alike. Food was a little disappointing--it definitely looked like the burgers and hot dogs from the old cafeteria at the COG. Nice. COG log coming up. After the class picture, which I missed as usual, we headed over to the Martin Center, site of the old "Kennel". Man, the athletic facilities for mere mortal students were improved dramatically! I'm so jealous--I could have been HUGE if these apparati were here during my tenure! We then headed back to MaCarthey for those who hadn't seen it yet.

nora houseDone with campus, we decided to drive over to Nora house. What a hole. Man, so many memories at that place--I couldn't stop laughing, remembering all the stories. We walked around to check out the "improvements" to the house, then we headed over to O'Doherty's for dinner. Timmer and I had to get the green drink for some reason. We didn't stay too long because we had to get changed for the cruise.

Captain KennyBack to the hotel to get ready for the booze, er, boat cruise on Lake Couer d' Alene. We loaded up on the bus at the AD building minutes later and we were headed east to Idaho. The weather was great all weekend long and it was certainly highlighted during the cruise. There was some kind of car show going on so we had to load up using the back door, but no real problems. We were all on in and moving in no time. Of course, without delay, I had to take the helm of the boat. Nice. Everyone said they could notice something erratic about the steering!

Da House!It was perfect. We had more time to talk with everyone in a more relaxed, roomy environment. I finally had time to talk to Maddog--she was pitching the move to Portland again...someday! Everyone was looking great. Later in the cruise we took the house photo--no one would be naked this time. Next thing you know, the cruise was over. The weekend was now accelerating--it was almost over.

bussin' da boozersBack to the bus and we were back to Spokane and Jack and Dan's...for most people. We decided to change venue and show the Bulldog some love. I think the dramamine was getting to Mo because she had to head back home. The best part of the Bulldog, which is somewhat sad, is the free popcorn. In true form, Chaela went straight to Goldslager shots. Tim and I joined her. Good times. We took the booth in the back and just chatted and joked around while trying to get popcorn in each other's beer. How old are we again? Eventually everyone dispersed and we headed home with Danny in his new Prius. This was pretty much it. The reunion was over...so quick. I really enjoyed it, as much as I knew I would.

nice green drinksNext morning, Fairfield breakfast. Tim and Chantal visited Riverfront Park while Mo and I went up the South Hill. We hit the highlights: High Drive, Moran Prarie, Ferris HS, Lincoln Heights, and finally Manito Park and the rose garden. It was as beautiful as I remembered it. Thankfully, the flowers were in bloom. After walking around for a bit we headed back to see Mom and the rest of the fam for one last time. Thankfully we ate breakfast already or they would have stuffed us again! We hung out as long as we could, but then had to head back out to catch our plane. It was a perfect visit.

tell the mouse joke, Chaela!Tim and Chantal brought us to the airport and said our goodbyes. Back on the plane...hopefully no upchucking this time. Flight to Phoenix was alright--the lady next to us was a bit annoying, but no real problems. Another long layover, ONLY 4hrs this time. Flight to Htown was good up until we got into Houston--there were thunderstorms steaming through the area and we were stuck in a holding pattern for over an hour waiting for it to leave. Lightning shows are not as beautiful looking at them from a plane. Finally, we got the green and we had to fly through some turbulence (I almost lost my fingers again), but no problems. We were down on terra firma.

Manito FlowersIt was 230am...yes, we rode the red eye. I just wanted to get home and get some resemblance of sleep before work. Ugh. Man that was a rough day. Anyway, that was it. No workouts even though we had a college-level track athlete (Jeffro) and a triathlete (Woods) in the group. I think we just wanted to spend as much time with each other as possible...and we did. We vowed to revive the annual reunion for the core group. Hopefully it happens. Timmer, you need to get married next year to start it off nicely--Denver here we come!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Grand Canyon Day 4: Straight Outta Canyon

good mornin!
This was the last day...and possibly the toughest. This was the first time we got up before sunrise...at least for everyone but Raymund. Hoorah! We packed up post-haste, hoping to skip most of the sunlight for the day. The last day of oatmeal...for a while! Connie, who slept on the table because she didn't bring her tent, was up and ready when we were. Even with getting up early, I think we didn't get out until 7am. See ya Cottonwood...next stop, the North Rim.

roaring springsIt started off really nicely because we had nothing but shade for the first third of the hike. The canyon walls helped us out by blocking the sun as long as possible. But as soon as we hit the turn close to Roaring Springs, the sun started to peek out. We took this opportunity to stop for a quick snack. We huddled behind the shade of a big rock and nibbled away. With all our craziness I was surprised that Connie stayed with us for the whole hike out. The best example of this was Ross' inability to eat a piece of food that hit Caroline's leg and then the ground. He confessed that if it had only hit the ground and not Caroline's leg he would have eaten it. WTF?!! Gaw, Gah! That would be a turn-on for some people, but it seemed to be the ultimate turn off for Ross. Hilarious. He had nothing against "nature germs" but abhorred "people germs." Then the scenario about food falling in mule manure came up and he qualified that nature germs meant "rocks, trees, and dirt" etc. Too funny.

looking backWe reloaded and headed forward. The heat was getting to us and we started taking breaks whenever there was a sliver of shade along the trail. Plus, the switchbacks were starting. We took another extended break after passing Roaring Springs, at a shaded cove. This is where my gps decided to die. I mean, not even switching batteries worked. So, yes, I pulled out the compass. I determined that we had to go up. What navigation. We got going again and I figured our lunch stop was coming up, at Supai Tunnel. So I decided to keep going until the tunnel without stopping. Up, up, up the switchbacks, which were now back in the shade, thankfully. But no tunnel in sight--where was this damn thing?! I looked down to see where everyone was and I didn't realize I was so far in front. I kept going because I knew we would be stopping for lunch soon...so I thought. Up, up, up....finally I looked up and saw that the trail seemed to end at a rock face. That's where the tunnel must be, I thought to myself. And, yes, it was. I quickly got that pack off and sat in the shade waiting for everyone.

north rim trailheadWeihan was first to show, then the rest of the crew showed up at the same time. Lunch time! The last time for tuna and cheese and crackers. :( It was soooo good even though it was the 4th day in a row we've had it. We chilled, chatted with the folks on mule/horseback and refilled our hydration bladders for the final push for the top. Then some guy hiking down from the North Rim said "you are those guys!" Apparently our fame precedes us. LOL. I have no idea how he heard about us, but we played along. Then we just wanted to get it all over with. The sun was back in effect--that and the combination of dust and horse manure made this last climb less than optimum. I must have stopped at every possible shady spot. It was hot. I hung out with Warship for most of this section, but then he went on without me, claiming the glory of getting to the top first. One more switchback and I was about to scream in disgust. Thankfully, it was the last one as I saw clear skies, not lines of trees, above me. There was Warship waiting to capture the moment, so I gave it my all for "big arms." There was a nice reception of people at the top, clapping, among them 3 ultra runners doing a rim-to-rim-to-rim run. Insanity! We waited for a short while and the rest of the group finished up gloriously. We had finished! Yeehaw!

HART plus ConnieThere was a little confusion about the shuttle back to the South Rim (read: Kenny forgot his schedule). So we decided to walk over to the general store and make a call to the shuttle service and to get something to eat. The first time I called I got their answering machine, but the second time I got a real person and was able to confirm that they had planned to pick us up at the trailhead at 2pm. With blind luck, just as I got off the phone, the Transcanyon Shuttle van drove up to the general store! I asked him if he was the one who was going to take us back, and he said "yes"! Sweeeet! The timing seemed to be perfect this whole week. He gave us time to shower and then we loaded up in the van and headed back. Connie wasn't sure what she was going to do (she was thinking about hiking back to the South Rim!), so she decided to stay at the North Rim. We said our goodbyes and exchanged info and took pics. What a great person to meet along the way. Good times, good times.

kenny and the fine womenWe weren't done yet--we had a 4-5hr drive back to the South Rim! But it went by fast as there was a lot to see and talk about along the way. I tell you, Caroline was definitely the one person able to nap in any situation! Plus, our driver kept us entertained--another nice person we met along the way. He dropped us off at the backcountry office, where this whole journey with backpacks started. It was so nice to be back and not carrying those bags that still seemed to be as heavy as they were when we started, despite all of the food we ate! We quickly made a reservation at the Arizona Room for dinner and then checked into Maswik Lodge.

amazing colorsDinner was great! So was the sunset! It was a nice way to finish our visit at the GC. We even splurged and had dessert...a la mode! We headed back to the lodge and realized that this room didn't have air conditioning. WTF?!? Man, that room stayed warm for the longest time. Finally Deb opened up the front door and that cooled it down quickly.

back at the GC entranceThe next morning we had breakfast at Maswik again and checked out and made one last visit to the Rim. Sad to go. That was pretty much it! Drove back to Phoenix and hopped on a plane back to Htown. Mo was there to greet us and take Warship and me home. Another great trip to the GC! So, what's next year's trip, gang?!?!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Grand Canyon Day 3: Frolicking Under Ribbon Falls

duct tape: priceless
It was starting to become routine: we get up, Weihan and Raymund go to get some sunrise photos, and we all pack up and start on breakfast. What's on the menu? Oatmeal, of course! Yummers. We were getting good at this, so we were packed and ready to go in no time. While we had not injuries to talk about, Caroline had developed a blister on the bottom of her foot, at the heel. So, like any try adventure racer would, she simply placed some duct tape on it and soldiered on. Plus, she was looking even more like the walking wounded with her bandaged up hand from her incident at Aqua Terra. No complaining though. I thought she was so cool that I even put duct tape on a hot spot on the ball of my foot. Wannabe.

straight outta bright angelSo we headed out of camp, past Phantom Ranch. This was our first time in the side canyon which Bright Angel Creek cut through. The colors were beautiful and we were still shaded from the sun by the sides of the canyon. It was a good start to the day. Even so, we decided to stop after about an hour of hiking to take a quick dip in the creek to keep cool. Sweet. Ate a snack and we were off again. We passed this girl who was hiking by herself and we were quite concerned. I think Caroline asked if she was hiking alone, but she said nothing, so we figured she didn't speak english. Along the way, to Ribbon Falls, we kept frog hopping with her, but still no true communication with her. We stopped one more time to cool down in the stream before Ribbon Falls. A few more minutes down the trail we saw a sign saying there was access to Ribbon Falls via a bridge going to the right, but there was a very obvious climb to get to that bridge. So my suggestion was to go left and do a creek crossing, which I remembered from my previous trip here.

this is how you do itSo a few hundred meters or so, we started skirting the creek looking for a good spot to cross. There were no real crossings that would keep us completely dry, so both the Warship and I switched out to our Tech Amphibians while the rest decided to just go and get their boots wet. Raymund delicately maneuvered on top of rocks, taking care not to wet his boots, the others trudged through the water and Weihan and I thrashed through with wild abandon. We then had to relocate the trail heading towards Ribbon Falls. After a few probings, we found it again and headed for the falls. The woman who we kept seeing on the trail was with us now. We're irresistable I guess. When we finally got there, there were several groups there, with the same idea of taking a break from the sizzling sun. This would be a sweet haven.

ribbon fallsIt was almost just as I remembered it, except this time I noticed a couple of holes in the moss-covered rock behind the falls. I was quite tempted to see what was on the other side, but you could only find that out if you went completely in, behind the falls. It was so dark! I finally strung up the courage to do it. Parting the falling water as if it were a curtain (dumbass), I charged in. It was a little cute cove on the other side! It was fun looking back out from behind the water! Then I noticed that I could probably scale the rock to get to the hole higher up. So I did. So cheezy, but funny.

cool showerAfter messing around at the bottom of the falls and everyone getting their turn at checking out the other side of the falls, we went up to the top of the falls. There, Raymund's flare for the dramatic infected some of us as we went up on the top of the rock and stood in the deluge of water spilling from the top of the formation. It was so cold, and invigorating! Amazing! The other people looked at us like we were nuts, but I didn't care...it was so refreshing. We finally had our kicks, so it was time to head back down and get some lunch in our tummies. Day 3 of tuna...amazingly, not bored of it yet. We quickly chowed then it was nap time.

sweet alcoveWe decided to use this place to wait out the blazing heat of the day. We hiked up to a side alcove for cool shade and unrolled our sleeping pads. Deb crashed on the side of the hill in the grass that was shady at first, but she had to move to our spot once the sun eventually shifted. I can't remember how long we napped, but it definitely was a good one for me--I went straight to sleep. Next thing I know, I get up and its just Caroline and I. I was fully rested, so I packed up and headed back down. I started to explore the area around the falls then perched myself above Ross and proceeded to rain little pebbles on him. I don't think he noticed at all, but it gave me a chuckle. Raymund then asked me to yell over to the alcove to wake up Caroline. Bellowing out her name, she got up on the first shout. It was time to move out and head for Cottonwood.

picked up connieAs we were packing up our things, the unknown woman started to talk, in fluent english. She was German, but you could barely tell. She turned out to be very nice and funny. Connie was hiking by herself, so Deb invited her to come with us since we had the same itinerary going up to the North Rim. A guy we ran into on the way out of Bright Angel as he was heading the other way made it sound that this portion of the hike would be hellish, but it really was pretty easy. We were there in no time. Cottonwood. Most of the sites were already taken since we decided to take a extended stop at Ribbon Falls, but it didn't really matter by this time since the sun was now setting behind the western canyon walls and all the sites were out of the direct sunlight.

dinner at cottonwoodAgain, figuring it would be boring to hike the GC alone, Deb told Connie she could camp with us that night. She was quick-witted and seemed to mesh with our odd humor, so it worked out fine. We set up camp and had dinner shortly. We decided to call it a night early because we had a long, hard day of climbing out the next day and would need to leave early in the morning in order to get to the North Rim in time for our shuttle back to the South Rim. With the hope to offload as much weight as possible before we started out the next day, everyone pretty much offered to cook up all their dinners. It was a feast of freeze-dried fare! The best part for me was dessert--rasberry crumble! Mmmmmm, I would sleep well that night.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Grand Canyon Day 2: Respite at Bright Angel

rise n shine!
I saw the sun trying to peak over the hills, slowly. I just watched it get closer and closer. It was breathtaking. I heard talking in the background so I knew Raymund was up already, probably with Warship. Then I heard Raymund bark out some command to get up so I shot up out of the tent with my arms raised. Raymund responded with arms up and a yell of affirmation. It was a great feeling to wake up in the middle of nowhere, just nature and 5 of your close friends. Caroline, in the same tent, heard the ruckus and got up to see what was up. It was time for breakfast. Raymund and his super-fast Jetboil had probably already heated 10 cups of coffee by now. We had our oatmeal and coffee and we were ready for a nicer, cooler stay at Bright Angel.

yummy oatmealWe packed up our gear and proceeded back down the trail. Deja Vu. This time we took the time to stop along the trail and look at the views and take pics as usual. It was a relatively short day, hiking wise, as we were done in about an hour and a half. We got there so early that we pretty much had the pick of the litter in terms of sites. We settled on this nicely shaded spot next to sheer rock that went up and up. I remember getting a site right next to the water the last time I was here, but didn't remember why until that night, too late...we dropped gear, some set up their tents, and I went pretty much straight to the creek as my watch was already reading temps in the 100s. It was cold water, but not as cold as the Colorado. It took me a minute or two but I was able to get all in. It felt great and it kept me cool.

celebrity hot tubEveryone started to trickle over to my spot, which someone before me fashioned into a hot tub-looking structure. It was nice because it protected us from the current. It was also a haven for small fish as they started to collect right under my leg and would once in a while take a test nibble out of me. I didn't care--I was cool and content. It didn't protect everything from flowing down the creek, though. Somehow Raymund loss hold of his nalgene and we had to tell him that it was slowly making its way to the Colorado. It then turned into a Salomon Tech Amphibian commercial and he sprinted and tracked it down. Impressive! We must have hung out there for about an hour and everyone except for Ross at least had their legs in. Warship was the only other one to join me for a full body immersion.

special testWe eventually got out of there and then had lunch. For entertainment, we had lizards having sex. Nice. Satiated, we headed over to Phantom Ranch for a couple beers and to chill in the air conditioned lodge. It was a good time. We people watched, read books, and asked the cashier about their high speed internet to pass the time. The eventually kicked us out because they had to prepare for dinner, for the ones staying at Phantom Ranch, not us.

money face!We headed back to our site and napped until dusk, when one of the park rangers was going to give a program on the geology of the GC. I eventually got tired of my nap because I kept sliding down my sleeping pad. I then joined Warship and Raymund over to the silver bridge to take some photos before sunset. Beautiful as usual. By the time we got back it was pretty much time to head over to the geology presentation. The park ranger was a little odd and a former marine, which made for a very, very interesting combination. I must say though, he was very excited about the topic...especially the Vishnu Schist. He was quite entertaining to say the least.

kenny's cookedThe bar opened up again at Phantom Ranch after dinner so we headed there after the talk. They had board games, so we picked Pictionary. At the same time, Deb was trying to fenagle herself a piece of leftover cake, to buy from them. But they insisted they couldn't sell it to us and it was only for the people at the Lodge...so most likely the leftovers would just get thrown away. Such a waste. Oh well. So we played pictionary, Deb, Raymund, and Ross on one team and Caroline, Warship, and I on the other. It was pretty one sided as it seemed like the Warship had his mind on conquering other battlefields. He decided to call it a night so I decided to go with him--we should never leave teammates alone. They proceeded to play and apparently Deb was so bent on winning that she resorted to questionable drawing tactics. Sad.

gaming gets gruesomeWe got back and as soon as we turned into our site the temp seemed to shoot up 20deg. That is why we got the site by the water a few years back--it was much cooler! Man, it was like an oven. By the way, temps peaked at about 130deg F in the open and about 105deg F in the shade! Wow. Warship and I went straight to bed. Then I heard rustling around and some alarmed voices. Apparently we were being raided by a ringtail. I for the most part ignored the ruckus then only got up to check it out when my bladder started to call. The ringtail must have scaled our makeshift clothesline up to the food hanging bar. Funny. I went back to sleep. We would need it because the next day would be another long one. At least we would be able to stop over at Ribbon Falls.