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"

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.


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