Day 154: 12/25/17  Christmas in the Grand Canyon!!! Park #13

Miles: 17 Steps: 37,785 Vertical gain: Strava Knows!!! Liquid consumed: 90 oz. Wildlife: Lots of tracks (including mountain lion!) but only actually saw a few birds. Animals like to hide in the winter I guess! Faith in Humanity: I had cell service for a brief moment and quite a few people wished me a Merry Christmas, how nice!!!! I didn’t sleep that well last night. Santa and his sleigh kicked up some noisy wind and while this typically doesn’t bug me it did for some reason last night and it seemed like I only half slept. Oh well... Christmas morning and no presents, because the big present came mid day: Grand Canyon National Park!!! I hiked on snow covered dirt roads the first 10 miles of the day. Not much snow, but definitely a little the whole way. I was pretty nervous that snow would be on my route this causing me to have to abandon my original plan. On the Saddle Mountain Trail there was a bit of sketchy snow, which made me a bit pessimistic about my Nankoweap plan, but I got to the Trailhead and the trail was dry!!!!Yay, got the present that I wanted! Nankoweap Trail Trip Report: do not do this Trail with shoes with poor traction or if you’re scared of heights or exposure. In my opinion the National Park Trail description exaggerates things a bit, but this Trail is pretty exposed, probably to a point that would scare a lot of people! I kind of enjoyed the exposure and even though I’m only half way down the trail it hasn’t been so bad. A bit of a sloping trail near a steep cliff in a few spots, haha. Honestly though if you are confident in your balance and done just get terrified of the look of things it’s really not so bad! And no snow, yay!!!!! Marion Point is gorgeous! I stopped and took in the beautiful ridge top panoramic view before continuing on. I debated camping there as the site is directly atop the ridge. Just unreal! I didn't have tons of water though, and it was pretty early so why not carry on? At this point my left knee started to feel some substantial pain when stepping down. Uh oh! 4,000 more feet down to go... I’ll take it easy and see how things go. I was a bit worried about this as it’s been hurting since cycling... hopefully won’t end my Grand Canyon trip early! The trail kept up its sketchy Traverse, with some looseness and exposure. Not so bad though, honestly really fun and the views are seriously amazing! I encourage everyone to not just come to the Grand Canyon, but to go down in it for a more dramatic experience. I’m not sure I’ve ever been anywhere I’ve enjoyed more! And every time I come it’s different and honestly just breathtaking. I love me some Grand Canyon!!!! I made it to a ridge above Tilted Mesa and took a break. Quickly, two ravens perched themselves in a tree quite close to me. Haha. They’re smart, waiting for me to leave my food unattended. This was another beautiful campsite with amazing views but I looked at the map and decided to go just a bit further down. At some point the trail gets super steep and I’d like to do that first thing in the morning when I’m the freshest. Plus I don’t have that much water so the closer I can get to water, the better! Pretty cool Christmas really! The Grand Canyon is so beautiful and today is Day 1 of an 8 day 7 night trip below the rim! On tap for tomorrow: go down insanely steep trail, get water, hopefully camp with rafters that will give me a ride in the raft to the Little Colorado River! Exciting times abound!

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