are a couple things that I would like to share about this trip that
I may have left out of the narrative. I'll just list them off the
top of my head as I think of them.
There were too many of them. I hope no one thinks this sounds elitist
or whatever, because it's not meant that way. I have no more right
to the Grand Canyon than anyone else. And quite frankly seeing all
those people did not annoy me in the least. I find the people I
meet in the Canyon (as opposed to those who only peer into it from
a point no further than 100 feet from a motorized vehicle) are almost
uniformly fantastically nice, friendly, honest folk, who are quite
willing to share whatever they have with a fellow Canyon enthusiast.
However, I did not include in my report every person I ran into
over my 5 night stay, and I would estimate that while I was in the
vicinity of the trails, I must have averaged a human encounter every
2-3 hours. I would prefer it be less, and for that I will have to
change MY habits and perhaps go to areas where human contact is
less likely. Once again, this is my problem, nobody else's and I
don't begrudge anybody their right to be where they are, even if
I'm there, too. After all, the reason we're there is our love for
and desire to preserve that big, beautiful ditch.
It was terrible. I was shocked at how hazy the air was. I remember
a *little* haze in the air on previous trips, but this was a quantum
jump worse than what I have previously seen. It is quite visible
in some of my photos. This was my first spring trip. Perhaps time
of year has something to do with it.(???)
Not only airliners, but the tour aircraft also. There were times
when I looked up and could see two fixed wing aircraft and one helo
in the immediate vicnity of each other over the Canyon.
Or maybe false dehydration. Two points. I try to gauge my level
of dehydration by how yellow my urine is. I also put Gookinaid in
all my water until I run out. On this trip, every time I peed, it
was darker than I thought it should be. And I thought I was drinking
up a storm, including prehydrating to the point of bloating on some
days. On the last day, I ran out of Gookinaid two quarts from the
rim. My next pee was clear as glass. So, would I be safe in assuming
that Gookinaid darkens your urine? Anybody know?
I was real proud of myself on this one. I came out of the Canyon
carrying two Clif bars and two packets of instant oatmeal, meaning
I calculated my food needs for five days almost perfectly. Here
are some things I would and wouldn't do again in the way of food.
First of all, I subscribe to Backpacker, and it seems like every
month they have some fancy-schmancy recipe. I'm here to say SCREW
THAT. After a day on the trail, the last thing I want to do is take
45 minutes to break out the bone china and whip up a Cajun pepper
lamb chop with banana-mango chutney. Fuhget about it. I want something
that tastes decent, fills me up and I can fix in ten minutes or
less. So here's some of the things I took, and the verdict on each.
Peanut butter. Too heavy. Too
hard to clean off the utensils, and it makes me thirsty. I like
pb at home but I think that's where I'll leave it.
Gorp. I am just so sick of gorp.
I forced myself to eat it this time, but next time, no gorp. Sorry
gorp fans, I'm just tired of it. Ix-nay on the Orp-gay.
Ramen Noodles. These were absolutely
GREAT. The ones I got (made by Maruchan) came in a package about
4x6x1, if that big. Very lightweight, very small. The noodles cook
in THREE minutes! THREE! Then you rip open a flavor packet about
the size of a 50 cent piece and stir it in. Bingo, you're eating.
Fabulous backpacking fare, IMO. Also the Lipton pasta dinners that
come in the foil envelope-type packages are good, but they take
longer (about 10 minutes) to prepare.
Cup meals. These look like they
would be excellent, but the problem is the packaging. I taped the
tops of mine w/ duct tape, but one opened in my food bag and spilled
some of the contents before I even got out of my hotel room. The
problem is that when wedged down in my pack and compressed, the
cups deform, and the top rips away from the cup, spilling the contents.
The meals in the flexible foil envelopes work much better.
Freeze dried backpacking meals.
I like these for the most part, but they are so expensive compared
to some of the other stuff I took. Maybe they are more "nutritious",
I don't know. I suppose I will always include one or two of these
for every trip, because I LOVE that Mountain House rice & chicken,
but the meals I desribed above are a heck of a lot cheaper and more
My personal favorite on this trip?
I bought a can of Pringles at the supermarket and emptied the chips
into a freezer bag at home. I then filled the Pringles can with
Carr's Water Crackers. I picked the Carr's because they are round
and fit into the can nicely. This worked out great. After all the
smashing and smushing my food took being packed and unpacked, only
one cracker in the can broke....the bottom one. To put on the crackers
I bought one of those spray cans of cheese by Nabisco. Imagine my
delight when I picked it off the shelf at the store and saw "No
refrigeration required." Paroxysms of delight! My only regret
is that I did not take TWO cans of crackers and TWO cans of cheese
and I say this quite seriously. It tasted GOOOOOOOD down there in
the Canyon and I damn near cried when the spray can fizzled out.
These two things are also not very heavy and I think make a great
quick snack along the trail.
Gookinaid. The only two other
things I might mention is that I take a pile of Gookinaid on these
trips. I figure about 6 a day works good for me. I put it in all
my water until it runs out. I think it does a real good job of masking
any mineral or other unpleasant taste in filtered water and encourages
me to drink more. This time I took around 25-27 one quart packets
and that was just about right. I ran out with two quarts of water
left. As for predeparture water, I used to use spigot in the picnic
area across the parking lot from Camper Services. It is no longer
there. That area is all torn up with construction. So that's why
I used my bathtub at Yavapai Lodge. Where to go in a case where
you haven't rented a hotel room is a mystery to me right now. I
didn't have time before or after to seek one out.
And one last word.....I can't
say enough about my equipment. Water filter, stove....it all worked
like a charm. They sure make good stuff these days.