August 6th 2014 – Day 5, Grand Canyon, Helicopter!
Woke up at 6, nudged Jeff who said he didn’t want to go for a run, but he got up 10 minutes later and we went for the most scenic run ever. Here’s the run. The first half was very hard, due to altitude, but also, we realised on the way back, because it was uphill. The way back was much easier. Saw tiny little squirrels and deer. And some mules. Lovely start to the day, will do the same tomorrow. Helicopter ride later!
Jeff was trying to book us a mule ride, which apparently should be done months in advance, but there were 6 slots today, we can’t go today due to helicopter ride… He has just arrived back and we go on Friday. Yay!
Back from helicopter ride… Most amazing and sickening experience. After about 5 minutes I just felt queasy and spent the rest of the ride in amazement and misery. Daniel felt sick too. Because we had headsets on and could hear what everyone else was saying we just stayed mostly quiet. The French people riding with us said ‘magnifique’ a lot. We all screamed when we went over the rim the first time around. Everyone went quiet after the first 15 minutes, either in awe of the beauty or feeling really sick. Or both. I was feeling both. It took about 20 minutes after landing to feel normal again. Jeff loved it, and didn’t feel sick at all. We got the cheesy photo they took of us in front of the helicopter. Here are the helicopter ride photos/videos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/plasmatika/sets/72157646394054627
Bought a hat which is appropriate for mule ride on Friday, i.e. rim all around and can be tied. Jeff and Daniel already had hats which fit the description. We were given nice water pouches to take with us, and the only thing I’ll be taking is the camera, no backpacks allowed. The waivers we had to sign were pretty scary though, it put me off going, and this was my thing that I wanted to do. The mules are pretty big too, I thought they were horses when I saw them!
At around 5:30 Jeff and I went for what was going to be a short walk along the same route we took on first day, towards Hermit’s point and very much uphill on the way there, downhill on the way back. We stayed out for nearly two hours (I didn’t map the first half of the walk). The Grand Canyon is so beautiful, I can’t get enough of it. Everywhere you stop has an amazing view, which constantly changes depending on the light.
We walked until my shins started to hurt and my lower back. I seem to be able to run for longer than I can walk. We decided to come back and it took about 1/3 of the time it took to get there. I was running down, I felt a bit like a goat for some reason. We saw a deer with her two bambis, and tiny rabbit, lots of blue birds and tiny squirrels, the size of a mouse. I regretted not bringing my camera, so all the photos were on the phone, I didn’t know it was going to be such an amazing walk. On the way back, near the end, we saw a group of about 12 people, with an electronic keyboard and the bibles out, singing to Jesus. I nearly stopped to take a photo but thought better of it, and just ran past them, still all goat like. I think I already know the Grand Canyon will possibly be my favourite bit of our visit here… There are a lot of Europeans here, lots of French, Italian, Polish, German. Next to us there was a family of Brazilians, they left this morning.
Just before bed Daniel and I went to look at the stars again for a few minutes. He said he doesn’t think he’d go on a helicopter again. I’m on the same page. The most unsettling thing about helicopters is that they look so steady and elegant, but when you are inside one it’s very shaky and unsteady. And sickening!