Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cedar Ridge

Since Monday was a holiday and the boys didn't have school and Gary didn't have work, we planned to go into the Canyon and finally take the boys on one of the trails. I've been nervous about taking them. Drop offs, icy trails, plunging to their death. You know, basic paranoia. We talked to several people and decided on our day hike. We took the South Kaibab Trail which is one of the most popular trails that take people to the bottom when they are hiking rim to rim. It had the perfect distance for our first attempt; a three mile round trip journey to the Cedar Ridge overlook.

Gary loaded up the car with the camelbacks we all got for Christmas, snacks a plenty, extra clothes and jackets for all, and the backpack to carry Dylan and off we went. We didn't get started until about 3:00 because Tom had practice for Odysey of the Mind but it actually gave us the perfect time of day.

The first mile and a half is, as you can imagine starting at the top of the Grand Canyon, a continuous downhill trail. Easy on the lungs, not so much on the knees. Ethan held on to my hand and Dylan rode up top in the pack constantly begging to either get down and walk or have another drink from Gary's pack. I can't believe Gary could carry that the whole way in and out. I have to remember who I married though!

Here are Gary, Dylan, Logan and Tom about half way down the trail. The top have was a bit snowy and icy and then we got out into the sun and it was either muddy from snow run-off or dry.

After about an hour, we made it to the look out! Ethan did awesome. He never complained or wanted to stop and take a break. His camelback was leaking and by the time we reached the overlook, his pants were soaked from his waist to his ankles. What a trooper!

Tom and Logan were also amazing hikers. They listened to our rules about no running, jumping and climbing and we didn't get too nervous with them hiking the narrow trail. Dylan was the warmest dressed and the coldest because he didn't hike but he also did great. The first half of the hike he had to have his sunglasses on. It really added to his nickname of Your Highness as he was being carried into the Canyon.

The view was definitely worth the hike! I still can't believe we call this our backyard!

Time for a much needed snack break before we start the journey back up.
We took our binoculars and saw some Condors flying right over us on the way down. Dylan loves looking through them. When we'd ask if he could see anything, he would answer with, "I see rocks!" He was thrilled as could be to see some rocks.
Here's Ethan hanging out at one of our rest stops on the way back up.
Logan had some added inspiration to keep going. His teacher and her first grade daughter hiked to Phantom Ranch in the bottom the past weekend. We've been talking about doing that and told him we need to build up to it with some day hikes first. He was an awesome hiker and is already asking about our next adventure.
Tommy Boy never complains. He just hikes along and loves being outside. He's always been the one to just keep going and not ask to be carried or to rest. What an amazing kid!
Back up the trail we go. It was about this incline the whole way. Sometimes there were steps to climb as well. All I could think about was climbing Old Main hill in Logan when I was going to school.
Dylan was a pretty thirsty kid once he figured out he could drink from Gary's camelback! He drank half of it I bet and his diaper really showed it.
"Yeah! We conquered the Grand Canyon!" At least that is what they were saying. We'll see how they feel after a longer hike.
If you look closely, you can see some zig-zags in the snowy hillside. Those are the switchbacks the trail starts with. They were a bit slick but much easier going up than down.
Here's a shot from the top of the switchbacks. You can see the trail snake around into the sun.
We made it back to the car! It only took us 2 1/2 hours which is much faster than Gary or I thought it would. We made it back up in about the same amount of time as going down which was really surprising. We passed two different couples on the way up. One was from Canada and let us pass them and then they would pass us the whole time telling the boys how inspiring they were that they could do this at such a young age. It was fun to hike along side them. The other couple was starting down the switchbacks just as we were about to the top. Just after passing all of us, I heard her say, "That is all the prevention I need!" Gary and I have been laughing at that ever since. The boys weren't even whining or crying or anything! They were just happy hikers.
Now that we've conquered, or so the boys think, this trail, I am excited to go on our next hike as well. It is amazing to live here and awesome to think there are numerous trails to hike still!