A narrow escape or dicing with death in the Grand Canyon!

Published: September 16th 2011
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The Grand CanyonThe Grand CanyonThe Grand Canyon

Oh what a lovely morning
Woke up and it was nice and sunny, great we thought, had pancakes for breakfast to keep me going on the hike – not actually into the canyon but along the rim and off we set.

First we walked to the Bright Angel Trail to see where Howard had hiked back out from before, we went a short way along the path down and got to a corner and before I knew it I was running back up the path with my mind going get out get out!!!! See its’ sheer drops and no barriers I just cannot do them!!

Howard played about taking photos of the trail paths – he had not seen them properly when he came up before so it was great for him to actually see what he had done. He didn’t get to photograph the south Kaibab trail which he took down, as it couldn’t be seen in the rain yesterday!!!

We then set off on the rim hike – after taking photos for a group of 3 very excited young Japanese guys who all wanted one and had to get their peace signs right for the pics!. No cars are allowed to
The Grand CanyonThe Grand CanyonThe Grand Canyon

Taking pictures for the lads
drive on that part of the canyon but there is a bus that ferries people to various view points on the route. I wasn’t too bothered by the drops offs as there were scrubby trees and rocks in parts which helped break it up and the views were great.

We passed the first bus point and carried on as although the clouds were starting to look grey it seemed fine, then the rain began quite gently so we just walked on and then it got harder so the kagools came out (Boyes kagools’ are rubbish by the way) and the brolly, then the hail stones started but we thought just keep going as it will pass.

It did ease off a bit and it was incredible to see all these hail stones on the side of the path!! So took a picture and carried on then oh my god what a nightmare, it just tanked down and it was thundering really loudly, we were in quite a woody section and there were a few people about so we just carried on trying to get to the next bus stop.

By the time we reached it there was a long queue and a very full bus, there was no way we could get on so we sheltered as best we could in the trees and waited. As we knew buses coming back didn’t stop at all the view points we had to decide whether to wait and possibly find the next bus was full also or walk on and hope the storm would pass or try and walk back. As it looked like the storm would continue there seemed no point in going on or just standing and waiting so we decided to follow the trail back – big mistake!!!

By this point the thunder was getting louder, lightning was flashing and the rain was sheeting down, I was worried about being near trees with the lightning but it was a way off so we carried on. Eventually the rain was so heavy, the thunder so loud and the lightning so near we found a small rock ledge we could kind of squeeze under, there was no one else around at all. The rain was running off the rock straight into my boots but there was no room to move without being directly out in it all.
The Grand CanyonThe Grand CanyonThe Grand Canyon

At the start of the hike
The lightning was forking down really close to us and all I could do was make small squeaks and yelps!!!

In the end we decided we had to keep moving on as it wasn’t getting any better. By now the track was going downwards and although it had been previously dry, it was now crossed by raging streams disappearing off the edge of the canyon. There was no choice but to plow through, all the time i'm thinking we are going to die, we are going to be hit by lightning or slip and go over the edge! Eventually the path wound back nearer the road and I just said – get on the road – I was thinking it would be safer than the flooding track, the trees with the lightning and maybe a bus would stop. As we got to the road I could make out a bus stopped further down so I just legged it, now ordinarily I do not do running at all but on this occasion my body just took over and charging along we managed to get to the bus and jump on.

It was only once we were on the bus
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Look hailstones!
and stopped and looked at the other passengers faces that I really realised what a state we must be in! They just said ‘My God you guys!! Are you ok, what happened?!’ I just said we went for a hike and then laughed like a loon! The bus meanwhile still wasn’t moving and then the driver said sorry folks you are going to have to get off, oh no I thought, but we got off and then I realised we were in fact back at the start and only a 5 minute walk away from the car! Neither of us had been able to tell in all that rain! Fortunately the rain had eased right off so we squelched back to the car, got some dry clothes and went into the lodge to use the restrooms to change along with a handful of other unlucky hikers! It is now 1 day later and my boots are still sodden!! Once we were warm and dry again we realised that we had actually walked over 2 miles in that bloody storm! – it is an experience I never want to repeat!!!!!!!

Due to the weather it was obvious we were not going to be able to see anymore of the Grand Canyon so we decided to cut our losses and head off to Flagstaff where we were going to be staying. The drive was a bit of a nightmare as the rain was still sheeting down and there was drifts of hailstones all over the road in places! We eventually got to the Super 8 Motel and spread all our soaking wet and soggy clothes and boots out to dry.


16th September 2011

What no dawn or dusk at the Grand canyon!
What a disaster - I had visions of you in that glass bubble thing that hangs out over the canyon

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