Saturday, November 25, 2017

Desert View - Day 16 - Grandview grinder!

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8:01 am - Saturday - November 25th - 32º F, 49% humidity, wind 2 mph out of the south by southeast......clear blue skies with a forecast high of 67º F today....perfect weather!

During this current work week (Monday to Sunday) TLE and I have only one common day off, Friday, so we decided to do our first hike since arriving here at the GC*.  On our initial site seeing foray two weeks ago we identified a trail that we would like to use as our inaugural hike, the Grandview Trail, whose initial destination, just 3.2 miles away, is Horseshoe Mesa.  It seemed like a moderate hike with which to begin our Grand Canyon hiking quest.  The sign indicates the trail is not well maintained, and if that was all we could have lived with that, or I should say TLE could have lived with that......we began our hike from the Grandview Vista parking lot about 10:15 am.......

 Everyone is still smiling

......the initial 500 yards of the trail were poorly maintained as the sign warned, but they were also treacherously steep, and mind numbingly narrow.  Within minutes of beginning our hike I heard TLE's voice behind me saying "I can't do this.....".....I've heard this before, but I have always been able to convince her to continue on a little longer to see if things improve enough for her to continue.  As I turned around to make my case for continuing I could tell by the look in her eyes I would be wasting my breath.  She was frozen in place like a statue and no amount of cajoling, encouraging, begging would move her one millimeter further along the trail.

I suggested I walk a few hundred feet further along the trail to see if things did, indeed, improve, and then come back to see if a positive report would help her move forward.  The trail did improve in width, and gradually became less treacherous, but upon my return she had made up her mind that her hiking day was finished.  I decided to give her the car keys so she could go home, and told her I would continue on the this time it was 10:30 am, and I told her that if she did not hear from me by 3:30 pm (cell service can be tricky) to just drive back to pick me up......I was sure I could do the 6.4 mile roundtrip in less than 5 hours.

So we said our I love you's and parted ways.....TLE back up the trail, and me ever downward.  Within minutes the trail improved enough that I felt I could hike it without being petrified, so I continued.  The trail looked like this in places with steps formed of large flat rocks gave it the appearance of a stairway........ other junctures it looked like this.....hard to even tell where the trail is, right?

There were a few sections like the one below where the tread was delightful, and I was able to cruise along at 3 mph.......

......but most of the trail looked like this.......

......and there was at least a mile of switchbacks that looks liked this........

......a cobbled pathway that averaged about 10% decline most of the time, and up to 15% at others......of course if you go down it you must go up again, if you wish to live out the week.

I would periodically stop to take in the amazing cannot enjoy the view while hiking, or you will most certainly perish.....this trail requires your constant, vigilant attention.  There are perhaps a dozen spots where the consequences of a false step would involve a plunge of a thousand feet, or more.

Going down I was able to average a little over 1.5 mph, so I would stop periodically to take pictures, which really do not do the views justice........

Red arrow indicates Horseshoe Mesa 3.2 miles by trail....much shorter 'as the crow flies'

Wait, what? 12:20 pm I had made it to my turn around each of these pictures (above and below) you see signs indicating not to go that direction as there is radiation remaining from old uranium mines in the area....actually, quite a bit of uranium was mined not far from these signs in the mid part of the 20th century.....

 There it is again....

 Proof I made it

 Remains of an old prospector house.....dry stacked rock the point I made it to the second 'radiation' sign I had traveled just over 3 miles, and I decided to continue on to the camping area, as well as the pit toilet area just to check them out for future reference.

I took the following video to memorialize my arrival at Horseshoe Mesa, but it came out sideways for some reason, and I am not able to 'right' it, but you'll get the idea......just tilt your head to the right a little......

Horseshoe Mesa up close and personal

......the second one came out correctly, and continues my thoughts from the first......

 .....I took about a 10 minute break eating a Power Bar before I began the 3.2 mile trek back to the Grandview Vista Parking lot.....I knew it would take me more than the two hours it took to descend to that point, but it was only 12:30 pm which gave me 3 hours to make the return trip, so I set off at a steady pace.  Let's be clear.....there are really very flew flat spots in this trail, and you are either going down 99% of the time, or you, in my present situation, are going UP 99% of the time.  The initial grade from my turn around point is about 5-6%, but within 1/2 mile it increases to 8%, then stays over 10% the rest of the is a grinder.

I covered the first 1.9 miles in about an hour, but then my pace slowed considerably as it took me another 80 minutes to cover the remaining 1.3 miles.....I found myself stopping every 100 yards to slow my breathing and heart rate a little.  I reached the Grandview Vista point around 2:45 pm, gave TLE a call to get her on her way to pick me up, then took a selfie to memorialize how I felt......

.....I was gassed to say the t-shirt, outer shirt, and pants were soaked with perspiration.  I sat down for about 5 minutes to catch my I sat there I began to realize the parking lot was gridlocked with people trying to get a parking space late in the day......I thought it would be unfortunate for TLE to get there to pick me up and then have to wait 30 minutes just to exit the parking lot, so I decided to walk the .7 miles back out to SR-64 to meet her there and save her from the experience of the gridlocked parking lot.

I arrived at the intersection just after 3 pm, and she arrived 2 minutes later.....we were back home in under 25 minutes, and I was in in the shower within minutes taking a much deserved long, hot 30 minute soak.  By the time I emerged it was close to 4 pm, and within a couple of minutes of that I was ensconced in my recliner getting some weight off my sore feet and legs.

In retrospect, this was not a trail for TLE.....while I know she could have made it down to Horseshoe Mesa, it probably would have taken 4 hours for her to make the hike out, and she would not have been happy with me one little bit.  

So, here are the Strava results of my first hike into the bowels of the GC*.......

.......moving time (time not stopped catching my breath) 3 hours, 32 minutes and 6 seconds,including the walk out to SR-64.....I averaged 29 minutes and 48 seconds per mile.....over 2 mph for the entire hike....that surprised me.  I burned some 1,277 calories, and the vertical elevation gain was 2,856' over 3.2 miles.....that is just under 1,000' per mile descending and then ascending.  In all I covered 7.1 miles because I hiked out to SR-64 to meet TLE.  I had weighed myself that morning, and then again before I took my shower.....I lost over 3 pounds doing that hike!

I spent the evening watching several NCAA football games, took an hour nap, and was in bed by 10:30 pm......quite a day for the old guy.

Thanks for stopping by!

* GC = Grand Canyon

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