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GCNP Trip Report Spring 1998 : I'm 12, I Hiked the Grand Canyon and I Have a Story

By Tony Coslett

My eyes were barely opening when it hit dawn, I knew we had a hard task in front of us, we had five days to hike and camp the whole Grand Canyon. I was ready for what was ahead. We loaded the car with backpacks that weighed from 10-60 pounds those packs had to go on our backs, the packs included five days worth of clothes, energy bars, tents, sleeping bags, cups, food, shoes, hats, I could go on but I would just waste your time. We got in the green GMC Suburban and we were on our way. There were six of us my mother, my father, my brother, my Aunt Mary, my dads' best friend Bob, and myself. It took us two hours to get to the Grand Canyon from Strawberry where we stayed the night before. My heart was beating uncontrollable the whole way. We found a parking spot got out, put on our packs got on a shuttle bus and went to South Kaibab Trail.

South Kaibab trail was a very icy trail, the ice was very slick you could slip off very easily if you took a wrong step. The good thing was that we had crampons, crampons are little things that you strap to the arch of your foot and they grab the ice when you step so you don't fall off into a very icy death. The pathway down was no bigger then three feet wide sometimes even five feet wide, we each had to walk single file so a person coming up could get pass. The whole way down was fairly easy except when I slipped a few times. The canyon where I was white because of the snow but it still was very breathtaking. Throughout the way down there were Mule trains, they were very annoying because they had a horrible stench and they left green messes behind The weather kept on driving me nuts, it rained, snowed, and at times it got really hot it would not make up its mind. The trails were so twisted you could almost throw up. At one point in the canyon I started to get very sick to my stomach, my father said that is was because I was so dehydrated. The canyon was so beautiful all sorts of vibrant colors so many shapes so many different things. We had finally made it down to the Colorado River it is kind of a muddy color but still magnificent.

I started walking and made it to a point where I could look over and see our destination Phantom Ranch, it was really weird because I was so tired till the point I got to see it, it was like my energy just recharged. I came to a black bridge that crosses over the Colorado River to get to Phantom Ranch, when I was crossing the wind picked up so much that it started swaying the bridge, I did not care because I just wanted to get to Phantom Ranch. I started on down a long dirt pathway that led to my destination. My brother of course was at our camping spot, he ran up to me and took my bag and led the way to our camping spot.

As soon as I got to the bench in our camp I took off my shoes and started massaging the acids that develop in your foot when all your blood drains to your feet. My brother and father put up our yellow Eureka tents. Right when my brother got done with mine I jumped in and took a long nap.

My mother woke me up for dinner, the candles were burning and my spaghetti was sitting in a little cup with the steam rising. We had two miniature stoves that heated our food. Right after my spaghetti I went to sleep thinking what I was going to do the next day.

The next day my feet hurt so bad I could not walk. The place I was at had a little stream that was right next to us it was so pretty, with the leaves blowing in the water and the rocks sitting as stiff as a tree it could put anyone to a relaxing sleep. The canyon was surrounding us; we had made it to the bottom of the canyon. My brother, my Aunt Mary, My father and his best friend Bob took a long hike as my mom and I stayed and relaxed.

I started to walk on my feet to spread the acid till my feet felt a lot better; well we had to hike to Indian Garden the next day so I was so glad. That night I had noodles and hot cocoa, the cocoa hit the spot making me warm, later we went to the Phantom Ranch lodge and played UNO and again had hot cocoa.

The next day we had some Pop Tarts for breakfast, and then we had to pack up and get ready for the day, I was ready as can be. I led us out that day, we took a trail called Bright Angel it was like desert on that trail but it was very pretty. The canyon had swiveling colors like granite and Jade. There were little creeks everywhere I dipped my head in one of them it felt so good. That day we had to get up high. We stopped and had lunch by a different creek. We had to put our legs up in the air so the blood wouldn't just go to our feet and create the acid I talked about earlier.

I started before them again leaving them at the creek; I just kept on walking, and walking. And walking until finally I got to the Indian Garden. There were tall trees with the greenest leaves I have ever seen. Bob was right behind me; we both picked out a wide area to lay the tents. It was backed up to a red mountain with black mixed in. When everyone got there we laid out the tents got used to the area had dinner and then went to bed.

The next morning my parents my aunt and Bob went out to look at the views at a place called the [Plateau] Point, while my brother and I lazed around taking naps. These obnoxious people that just came into camp awakened me, they were laughing so loud I almost lost it. My brother woke up to the sound of those people too. We just started to make lots of noise till they left. My parents finally came back, my dad had blood on his knee, and I asked what happened he said that he almost fell off the edge of the cliff but caught himself with his knee. I was just glad to see him alive. Well it didn't look like his heart had slowed down yet but it did after awhile. After all that we had dinner I had noodles again. Everyone went back to the [Plateau] Point except for my mother my brother and myself, we played UNO until the wind picked up and till it got dark.

The next day was the last day; we had pop tarts and packed up. We left with my brother in the lead we were still on Bright Angel Trail that's the one that leads out of the Grand Canyon. This part was the hardest part it was so steep. But I knew I could make it. Now there were no showers in the canyon so we just plain stunk. The heat was unbearable the sun was beating down on me, the balls of sweat was rolling down my cheeks, my camera lens was fogging up and my hat was soaked.

On the way up I saw a bighorn Sheep it was just chewing on some grass, its gray coat was glistening in the sun. My mother kept on saying "we are there we are there."

It got to a point where we had to put on our crampons because it was ice just plain slick ice it was so dangerous I was praying for my life. At least I got past that part, from there I could see the ending I was so proud of myself, I started pushing people out of the way to get up there. I did it I was done I survived the canyon!

As I looked back on the canyon I was in astonishment I could not believe I made it. After all that we went and had Pizza Hut, Pizza it was so good!

That night in bed I was saying to myself "I have got to do that again!!!!"

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