Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving in the Grand Canyon

"I believe in evolution. But I also believe, when I hike the Grand Canyon and see it at sunset, that the hand of God is there also." - John McCain

"I believe in evolution. When I recently hiked the Grand Canyon at sunset, it was really photogenic."- Gabriel Thompson

We decided to go to the Grand Canyon for Thanksgiving (and, more importantly, to celebrate Daniella’s 31st birthday). We arrived without making reservations. A lot of people seem to make reservations weeks or months in advance, and when we arrived we were told that there weren’t any available campsites at the bottom of the Canyon. So we camped out at the rim of the canyon for two nights—doing nice hikes during the day and freezing each evening (low temps in the 20’s)—before hiking into the Canyon and camping two nights. On Thanksgiving we hiked 7 miles down to the Colorado River and spent the evening next to a stream. Then we hiked up halfway and spent the night at the Indian Gardens campground. Then we hiked up.

The trip was fun. And though we’re tempted to give people a thorough run-down of our activities, we’re too young to be that relative in the living room dimming the lights and ruining everyone’s pleasant evening by rambling on for three hours about recent travels, complete with endless slides. So instead, we’re simply posted some photos below, with captions.

Simpsons Clouds (above)

The Grand Canyon is a bit ridiculous to photograph, because everything looks incredible. Eventually one just has to put the camera away or the whole trip will be one big blur behind a digital piece of equipment. Here is a shot along a hike about midway down the Canyon. While we were there, many of the clouds looked like they were straight out of the Simpsons intro.

Daniella Along South Kaibab Trail
For some reason Daniella really brings out the surreal nature of the place; lots of these shots seem like they've been through the Photoshop ringer. Here she is somewhere near the top, heading down the South Kaibab Trail.

Kaibab Trail #2
Again along the South Kaibab Trail. Daniella had a habit of walking up to the end of whatever ridge we were on and staring, apparently in deep thought.

Rim Hike

This is at the top, on our first day at the Canyon during a six-mile hike along the rim. This is also the exact day Daniella turned 31. On this day she was also carded at a local store when purchasing matches. Again, she's pretty close to the edge.

Grand Canyon Wildlife

This is a resting elk. We decided to take a nearby campground on the rim to be near him. At first it was exciting to be near the beast and snapping photographs, but he didn't get spooked at all, which took some of the drama out of the experience. We eventually forgot about each other.

Gabriel as Trip Leader

Gabriel trudging along, getting closer now to the Colorado River. One of the coolest things about hiking the Grand Canyon is that your pants and shoes end up changing colors along the path. In a short period the dust can change from red to orange to white. Here his jeans and shoes are peachy.

Mighty Colorado
Now almost to the bottom. This is the Colorado. We crossed the pedestrian/mule bridge below and walked another half mile to the campground. Following a ranger's advice, we didn't take a tent, which lightened our load and made for some nice sleeping under a full moon.

If we haven't bored you yet, you can check out the rest of our photos (no captions) here.


km said...

Thanks for posting all this! I'm just a random stranger who stumbled upon your blog whilst searching for some info about Thanksgiving at the Grand Canyon -- which is where I'll be this year!!!

I'm curious -- how cold were you? Throw another log on the fire" cold, or "Screw this, I'm going to bed" cold?

Mr. Thompson said...

Hi -

I just saw your comment. I actually haven't been on the blog in months! It was COLD like are water froze and we went to the store to buy long johns and warmers socks cold. We were not prepared. It's a good 15 to 20 degrees warmer on the bottom of the canyon but if you are planning on camping on top definetly dress warm!

Have an awesome trip


Anonymous said...

hi..Grand canyon looks amazing. I m planning to hike down the canyon this thanksgiving. One interesting thing i found in your blog was that the Ranger advised you not to take the tent. So , did you still have to make a "camping" reservation, or a good sleeping bag was sufficient :)
I want to hike down and up in 2 days, but I doubt if I can get a reservation. Any other tips for a solo hiker?
If you got a minute, please reply at nardeepj@gmail.com
Thanks much

heidie said...

We are already planning our extreme hike next spring. We want to spend some nights in the Canyon so we can do some summit climbs! las vegas tours