A Daring Adventure: Part Two

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Helen Keller

Adventure can be defined as an exciting or unusual experience, a challenging undertaking, with an uncertain outcome, and I was super excited to be visiting the Grand Canyon in January 2017, accompanied by my dad and brother.  In Part I of A Daring Adventure, I shared with readers our planned adventure to hike an isolated back country trail, Hermit’s Trail.

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However, in the week prior to our arrival at the Grand Canyon, weather reports coming from Arizona indicated unseasonably cold weather as a winter storm hovered over the state.  This storm brought snow to the canyon…..a lot of snow!  More snow than the South Rim had seen in many years.

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A day before I was scheduled to fly to Phoenix, roads were closed, inside Grand Canyon National Park and outside.  Road conditions north of Flagstaff, Arizona, required chains.  Bus service within Grand Canyon Village was cancelled and the mule train to the bottom of the canyon was halted.

This didn’t sound good.  I had reservations about being so far from ranger service, isolated deep in the canyon on Hermit’s Trail. But I already had a plane ticket, and my dad and brother were leaving to drive to Arizona and meet me at the South Rim!

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I was going, no matter what, even if all I could do was stand on the Rim and observe the beauty around me!  A couple things reassured me.  We had been in touch with the back country park office, and were told that if our original plan to hike Hermit’s Trail wasn’t possible, they would help us make a different plan, and since we were visiting in the off season, there was a lot more flexibility in options.

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When we arrived at the Grand Canyon, I knew I had to let go of the original plan and idea I had for this adventure and embrace a new one.  There was snow everywhere!  Since Hermit’s Trail is not well used, it was likely our feet might be the first ones on the trail after the snow! That was more adventure than I wanted, and it would not be safe for us.

With the help of the Back Country Park Rangers, we decided to stick to the main corridor trails, primarily Bright Angel, which is well traveled, even with lots of snow.  We hiked 9 miles down the first day to set up camp at the bottom of the canyon at Bright Angel Campground, near Phantom Ranch.

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The trail near the South Rim was snow packed, and we used crampons to ensure we had traction, along with our hiking poles.  But at the bottom of the canyon, near the Colorado River, it was warmer and very comfortable camping weather.

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We camped at the bottom of the canyon for 2 nights, to give ourselves time to recover from the hike down, and to enjoy the warmer weather at the bottom of the canyon.  On our second day, this plan allowed us to hike north of the river, on North Kaibab Trail, which follows Bright Angel Creek, surrounded by the walls of the canyon.  For several miles, the North Kaibab Trail is relatively flat, until it climbs in elevation to Cottonwood Campground and on to the North Rim. We hiked out for several miles, and just enjoyed the views and the experience of being in this special place.  We saw only 6 people that day, along with a group of rangers monitoring the stream for fish.

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I sat on the edge of the stream, and listened to it gurgle, felt the sun on my back and was happy. My brother explored another trail, Clear Creek Trail, which provided views of Phantom Ranch and the Colorado River.

The third morning, we began hiking out, up Bright Angel Trail, to Indian Garden Campground.  We watched a helicopter deliver supplies into the canyon. We met and talked with kayakers on an 11 day adventure down the Colorado River and watched a group of explorers repel down a side canyon.

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At Indian Garden, we explored the camp area, and were one of only 3 groups camping there that night.  Needless to say, the accomadations were great; no crowds, and easy access to the bathrooms and water.  The ranger stationed at this campground shared extra sleeping bags with us and we had free access to a small library of books regarding the history of the area!  It was Dirty Girl camping at its finest!

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We got an early start on the fourth morning, knowing that the hike up to the Rim would be difficult and take a long time, with the last few miles being snow packed.

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What keeps drawing me back to the Grand Canyon?  I’ve been there three times, and I know I will visit this epic place as many times as I can throughout the rest of my life.  It’s not just that the canyon is beautiful, it’s about the experience of adventure.  On this trip, I learned to embrace the uncertainty that comes with planning an adventure in the off season and I learned to be flexible regarding those plans. The need to change our plans and be open to a different adventure gave us gifts we did not expect.

Life IS a daring adventure, and adventure makes our lives richer. What lessons and gifts will YOUR next adventure bring you?  Get out there and find out.  As for me, Hermit’s Trail will have to wait for my next visit to the Grand Canyon, but you can bet I am already planning it!

March Events Open for Registration

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Sign up now for one or both of our March hiking events! The Thunder Ridge Three Mile is a short but awesome trail and the price includes lunch and time around the campfire with the Dirty Tribe! March Madness is an 8 mile trek on the Perry Lake Trail. We’ll build the campfire and you can bring your lawn chair, lunch and beverages to chillax post hike. Choose one or both for some great adventure in March! Click the blue links to visit the Dirty Shop for registration.

The Thunder Ridge Three Mile is Saturday March 4th, 2017 Check in time 8:30am with our hike start 9am.

This is a great intro to hiking in Northeast Kansas. The Thunder Ridge trail has some great woodland scenery, a great rock ledge, some steep inclines and declines, rocky, uneven surfaces and pasture sections. That said, it’s a great hike! Bring your friends, bring your kids, come outside with us!

 

This hike is located at Lake Perry Kansas within Slough Creek Campground area off of Ferguson Road. We will provide details to registrants on Monday March 27th. We will start and end at our Dirty Girl Basecamp for the day with time around the fire. Bring your lawn chair and beverages of your choice to go with lunch! We’ll decide the menu based on the weather – think campfire food!

 

Price includes your lunch which, regardless of the menu will be delicious!

Club Price: $30, Regular Price: $40, Youth Price: $10

What are you paying for? Trail support, instruction, guide, environmental information, fire, food and fun! Refund policy: We will refund your full payment up to Saturday February 25th – after that it’s too late, we will have been shopping for lunch!

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March Madness! Saturday March 11th, Check in time is 8:30am. Join us for 8 miles on the Perry Lake Trail! We will load the bus no later than 9am and should be hiking by 9:15ish! Plan for a late lunch around the fire around 1:30pm or so…. snacks for energy along the way are highly recommended!

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Join us to hike 8 Miles on the PLT (Perry Lake Trail). We will choose a section of this 29 mile trail to enjoy with you. This trail includes difficult, technical trail with steep inclines/declines. We’ll choose a great section of our favorite long hiking trail that will afford great views, solid challenges and a great basecamp for socializing around the fire at the end.  $40 regular $30 member $20 Youth

We will meet at our basecamp for the day so you can bring your cooler full of lunch and your lawn chair for post hike handiness! We’ll hop the Dirty Bus and ride to our start location then hike back to basecamp for time around the fire and social time with our Dirty Tribe.  This hike is going to be awesome, it is great practice and exposure to the Perry Lake Trail. If you are planning to “Go All the Way” in October this will be a great practice hike.

What are you paying for… Trail guide, coordination, information, trail support, bus ride, lead and sweep hikers for trail safety, fire, connection, eco info about our area!

Please know that we will hike in cold, snowy conditions – layer up and come on out. We will cancel if there is a risk of severe weather or if we judge the trail conditions to be dangerous. Otherwise, we’re hiking! 😀

Refund Policy – We will provide a full refund to you up until March 5th!

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A DARING ADVENTURE: Part One

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Helen Keller

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When I set out to visit the Grand Canyon for the third time, I wanted to go on a daring adventure, to visit a part of the Canyon that I had never been to, the path less traveled.  Knowing I would be accompanied by my father and my brother, both experienced hikers and lifelong outdoorsmen, I was brave enough to make a plan for backpacking a back country trail in January!

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I researched trail conditions, weather, water sources and chose Hermit’s Trail for several reasons.  It begins at a slightly lower elevation on the western edge of the South Rim, making it less likely to have snow. Initial portions of the trail are westerly facing, making it more available to sunshine (to melt the snow we might encounter).  Hermit’s Trail is a back country trail and in January, we were likely to encounter very few people, which appealed to the hermit in me!

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Hermit’s Trail would also give us access to see two of the Canyon’s most famous white water rapids, Hermit Rapids and Granite Rapids.  At times, these rapids are so powerful, you can hear their roar from the rim of the Canyon.  We would also be able to see remnants of one of the first luxury camps below the rim, built by Santa Fe Railway in 1911, closed in 1930.

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Hermit’s Trail would take us along the Tonto Platform, which is a plateau at an elevation between the Canyon floor and the Rim.  This would give us great views of the Colorado River and the colorful canyon walls surrounding us.

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I did have some worries going into this adventure.  I felt I wasn’t in great condition and I had gained some weight since my last adventure in the Canyon. I was also worried about the weather, knowing that temperatures in the Canyon can vary greatly from the South Rim to the bottom of the Canyon.  Typically, during January, temperatures on the South Rim will be as low as 20 degrees, with a high of 40 degrees and inner canyon lows around 33 degrees with a possible high of 60 degrees. I also knew it was likely we would encounter snow and bitter cold on the South Rim at this time of year.  I wanted to be sure I had enough clothes, and food and water and warmth but I had to be cautious in loading my pack!  Weight adds up fast and I did NOT want to carry a 60lb pack out of the canyon!

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I pushed past these worries and tried to plan for all conditions and situations.  I chose to embrace the definition of adventure as an exciting or unusual experience, a challenging undertaking, with an uncertain outcome. Uncertainty can be hard for me sometimes, not knowing what will happen or how it will turn out.

In Part Two, I will tell you about the lessons in adventure that I learned in the Canyon, and how my adventure really turned out!

Join us for the Dirty Girl Get Away!

Join us April 21st through April 23rd at Camp White on beautiful Council Grove Reservoir in the Flint Hills of Kansas.
Roll into Camp between 4 and 6pm Friday afternoon and stay through Sunday afternoon. (You may want to ride with a friend and make a few stops along the way to Camp White!)

We will sleep in bunkbeds in shared dormitory rooms within a cabin, just like summer camp – only better! You will need to bring your bedding and personal items but everything else is included.

This weekend will be one to remember! We will challenge you to learn some new skills, make new friends, relax and refresh your spirit and enjoy hiking, kayaking and great food!

This adventure includes 6 meals, lodging and amazing programing designed to both challenge and replenish your adventurous spirits! You might be tired at the end of the weekend but it will be a good kind of tired.

  • Friday evening we will start with some exploration, enjoy dinner together, watch the sunset and create a one of a kind piece of art to take home.
  • Saturday will be a FULL day of ADVENTURE! We will enjoy time on the ROPES Challenge Course (don’t let this scare you, it is Challenge by Choice – you might be surprised what you accomplish surrounded by encouragement and support), learn to navigate with a compass – building your Orienteering skills with plenty of practice opportunity, kayaking on Council Grove Reservoir, explore the grounds of Camp White, relax and reflect and navigate the Labyrinth (The labyrinth is a walking meditation, a path of prayer, a mindfully focused walk. Unlike a maze where you lose your way, the labyrinth is a spiritual tool that can help you find your way.)

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  • Sunday we will enjoy breakfast together, pack our gear up and then head to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve for an awesome hike (long and short hikes are available to accommodate all levels). From there you will travel home at your own pace.
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Photo by Alba Mora during Dirty Girl Camp 2016

This will be an epic adventure. Sign up to challenge yourself, to invest in your own personal growth and adventure to refuel and recharge for a more adventurous life.

Sign up now in the Dirty Shop!