I posted pictures of my trip, but I did not give many details about it, so I thought I would explain it.
My break started last Friday when Patrick drove me and him from Austin to San Antonio. We met up with Aaron and Luke in San Antonio to buy food and plan the final details of our trip. I ended up going to bed around one, and with that I began the series of sleepless nights that were to follow.
Patrick and I awoke at seven the next morning and left with Luke and Aaron around eight. We drove almost nonstop until we reached Albuquerque and spent the night there. We went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant that pulled out all the stops. We ate famous green hatch chiles and fresh tortillas, sopapillas, and a weird red sauce that was tangy and unidentifiable. We retired to the Hampton Inn afterwords.
That Saturday night, my dad hooked us up with two free hotel rooms he got from “points.” He travels all the time and never uses the points, so he provided us with two rooms to stop and rest in, instead of driving through the night. The rooms provided a bed, a free breakfast, coffee, and a mental break, so we appreciated them.
The next morning we drove until we reached the Petrified National Forest. We drove through that and got out at most of the vistas to take pictures. Patrick is a great guy with whom to vacation because he is great at stopping and smelling the roses. My mindset urges me to go go go and smell the dead roses at the end, so our yin-yang balanced the trip perfectly between seeing all the sights, but doing everything we wanted to do.
We got back on the road later than we had intended and arrived at the Grand Canyon around seven in the evening. We hastily set up camp and unloaded, then grabbed our gear and went for a short walk to the canyon. The view at night was surreal, because the canyon gets so dark. It becomes a chasm that exists only because you see the darkness of it, like a black hole (I would imagine.)
That night I cooked dinner and we made a campfire and Patrick played guitar. I do not think I can type three subjects of any sentence that could make me happier. I love cooking; I love campfires; I love hearing guitar at campfires. Goooosebummmppppps.
The next morning we awoke at six and threw on our packs. Prior to throwing on our packs we ate breakfast; and, one of my favorite traditions about backpacking breakfast is consuming banana instant oatmeal. I only eat it backpacking, and I totally hoarded it away this time so there was no funny business. It proved itself as a fuel on the hike to come.
We walked two miles to the trailhead and arrived around eight thirty. The walk over was beautiful, and the sun illuminated the canyon, juxtaposing the view I had of it hours before. We got to the trail head and began a slow, icy descent behind the fastest burros in the world. They outwalked us and pooped on the trail the whole time: very Mario Kartesque.
The hike down was pleasant because it was easy on muscles and we got to talk. After awhile my toes began smushing against the front of the boot, and if you could see them now you would probably wince unless you are a battle hardened mangled-toe viewer. I took most of the pictures on the way down because we were carefree, perfectly temperatured, and breathing light.
Soon we began to worry because we knew that we still had to reach the Colorado and turn around, and with every step downhill we took the thought flashed in our minds: we have to come up this later today. There was almost no one behind us which scared us a smidge. We did leap frog with several groups, including a gorgeous French couple in front of whom I kept ignorantly farting. Amurica.
We reached the Colorado two minutes before “the time at which we would turn back because we wouldn’t make it.” We supped there and at one in the afternoon began our ascent of the Grand Canyon. About four minutes into the climb, we were winded on the side of the trail, sweaty and red-faced, contemplating suicide. Things did not get better and honestly, the climbing did not get one bit easier until the very end. We trudged uphill in the heat with diminishing water resources and ONE clif bar each. It took us almost four hours to get back to the top, which is actually relatively quick.
Hear me now. I have done a lot of backpacking. Call it bragging. Ok, it is bragging. But, it is true. I have hiked a lot and I am very proud of it. This hike was one of the hardest hikes I have ever done; and, we only had light daypacks on our backs. Patrick and Luke had essentially never backpacked before that trip, and they steamrolled one the hardest climbs I have ever done. Mad props to them, as well as Aaron. All three of them were mentally rock-solid. As long as everyone is mentally guarded, then I knew we could just put one foot in front of the other until we reached the top. I did not have to worry that any of those guys would quit, and that relieved me so much. They killed it and I was really proud of Luke and Pat. Luke because he was working hurt and was inexperienced, and Pat because he was inexperienced and probably tired from talking to LITERALLY every person in the Grand Canyon.
After getting out of the Canyon, we walked around for another two miles trying to catch a sunset. That failed, and we trekked home, incredibly proud of ourselves. We hiked almost twenty miles that day. I have never walked or ran twenty miles in a day, and never have I hiked seven miles straight uphill.
That night we ate a lot for dinner. Patrick played guitar. And we had a campfire. Gooooosebummmpppps.
We woke up the next morning (late, because my phone died in the night) and hurredly packed the car. We drove to Sonoma which was about two hours south. There, despite the fact that my contacts eviscerated my eyes and I took them out and was walking blind, we did a dayhike. Patrick said that the trail was one of the best in the nation, but I do not know how they rank those things. The trail was fine. It was a good leg workout and released some of the tension I had from the previous day’s hell-hike. I did not take any pictures because my phone was dead, but this is what it looked like.
After that, our legs, knees, toes, eyes, hips, groins, hair, teeth, buttocks, bellybuttons, and beeswax were thoroughly wiped. Still, we went to the Chapel on the Rock. It was an authentic experience for me, because I felt like a man wandering through the desert who had stumbled upon a mirage or holy site. I walked into the elegant building with dust all over my body, squinted eyes, a crusty shirt, disheveled hair, and an insatiable thirst for Gatorade. I left with only an insatiable thirst for Gatorade. It was a cool experience and a good stop.
After that, we could not be more wiped if we were cafeteria counters. Patrick summoned the superhuman endurance to drive us to Las Cruces where we bedded. We stopped at McDonalds on the way and I ate a pb&j and the whole dirty affair took like five minutes. We limped into the hotel around one, and woke up the next morning at six, so we were still quite pooped. Patrick, again, conjured up some inner Gronk and drove us until mid-afternoon. That man fights slumber with a grudge on his shoulder.
The whole ride back everyone was pretty quiet, but no one was in a bad mood. I think we were mostly contemplative, and tired, yes. When we talked it was good and funny, but the whole experience was so quick, overwhelming, physically demanding, and unique that we needed a good eight hour drive to let it dribble down through brains.
Patrick dropped us off at my house where we said our goodbyes. Luke said bye to Pat, and I think things between them went really well. Neither had met the other before the trip, but they are each one of my closest friends and I knew they would get along. Aaron too, meshed well with other guys. Everyone, I hope and think, had a splendid time. I laughed so hard I literally bust my gut and died.
BEST SPRING BREAK EVER