Once we made it down to the river, we were, of course, only halfway done. Less, actually, since we still had to go UP. Perhaps the word "up" doesn't adequately describe the scale of the task ahead. Essentially, we were about to climb out of the largest hole in the ground I've ever seen. Starting at around 10:30 am, we began our ascent of 4,500 feet over about 8 miles. Good hydration and a source of salt are essential. At Indian Gardens, about 3.5 miles up, we met up with the other group of seniors who had chosen who do a shorter hike, though also quite rigorous. Though many of us felt good to this point, the last 4.5 miles were a real test of endurance. The increasing heat of the day and the strain of the miles behind us started to weigh heavily on our legs. But the boys persevered, reaching the rim for a fitting culmination to their four years at Webb.
Alex poses with a flowering yucca.
In the middle of the picture, you can see the trail out to Bright Angel Point, the rewarding vista and turnaround for those who did the shorter hike.
On both sides of our hike, we were presented with this sign, which warns against doing...well...exactly what we were doing.
The view to the north rim on our hike up
Jeff, Patrick, John, Mr. Stockdale, Alex, Andrew, and Dakota about 2/3 of the way up. They're only smiling on the outside. And some of them aren't even doing that.
Shihan, Bailey, me, and Jason at the top. Success!
And now, if you'll forgive my inner botanist, a short montage of the flowers of the Grand Canyon. My inner botanist doesn't actually know their names, but you get the point.
After finishing the hike, several of us headed back to a lookout for sunset (above and below), where we watched the hues of the canyon deepen in the fading light. A tranquil end to a challenging day.