Day 4- Phoenix/Grand Canyon R2R2R – Joining Forces and the Drive to the Rim

This post is out of sequence – I missed a day. 😁

This morning I was up at 6 to Shower and adjust my pack with all of the last minute adjustments.

I took the shuttle to airport from the motel with all the other flyers for midweek flights.

At the baggage carousel I met the crew going on the hike. 18 people – 2 of them drivers 9 people per van and 2 driving

Kenny and Dawn at baggage claim – Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport

Kenny is my room mate for this trip. Kenny is a 70 year old retired Houston police officer with a penchant for collecting motorcycles and climbing Colorado’s 14,000 foot mountains. Kenny is also a classic rock aficionado so it was not like we didn’t have a common topic for conversation

The van stopped at Subway for lunch and then we were back on the road. All told the trip was only 3.5 hours.

Van #1

So far I had managed to forget razors, gaiters and a walkie talkie (Dawn lent me her extra one but I never had to use it.)

I picked up some beer and actually bought a shirt (I usually never buy anything).

Our group was staying at the Yavapai Lodge. (Ya-Va-Pie – I checked the pronunciation with the staff ). The lodge is on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Alan at the Lodge reviewing logistics and discussing start times.

I immediately jumped on the Red bus route and went as far as I could before sunset. I got off at the first stop and hiked the South rim stopping to take photos and videos.

Bright Angel Trail from the South Rim (The upper portion)

I watched as the thunderstorms rolled in and went straight up the canyon. What I didn’t know, at the time, was that it was not rain I was seeing but inches of hail. A cold front came in and the temperature dropped from 100 to 55 in minutes.

Panoramic view from the South Rim

I just missed the sunset because it looked dismal and then when riding on the bus – the sun peeked out.

Hail Storm coming up the canyon

It was not a write off though as I saw 3 Deer on the side of the road and one Elk.

In the village, I could see it wasn’t rain that I had seen – it was hail! The storm had left piles of hail on the side of the road

The massive cold front spared us the heat of the day for tomorrow. Weather here is unpredictable and microclimates are everywhere.

Elk with hail on the grass in the foreground

I grabbed a burger at the lodge when I got back.

Kenny was in the room and he and I packed our respective packs commenting on how much water/food/ gels etc we would take. We fussed about until 8:30 and the fell asleep.

I did toss and turn all night, not because I had to pee (although I did) but just nerves over the coming hike.

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