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  • Writer's pictureBlaine Hoppenrath

To The River

Updated: Apr 9, 2019

My first trip to the Grand Canyon was one that I will never forget. I parked my car at the visitors center and then made my way to Mather Point to take in my first view of the Canyon. I fell in love. The vastness of it amazed me. I took a brief trip to Cedar Ridge before returning to the Rim and heading home to Flagstaff.

Yesterday, I wanted to see the river. So I started downward. I hit the South Kaibab Trail early and descended into the canyon. It seemed easy enough as I was drawn to the river and nothing was going to stand in my way. I made it to Cedar Ridge in a good amount of time and every wall of the canyon I made it around lead to another magnificent view.

Then for the first time I saw a sliver of the river. It wasn't much. But it was there. This magnificent river that carved the canyon. I grew up on the Missouri River, and I passed that muddy sun of a gun every day as part of my routine. The Missouri isn't something to be messed with, she is muddy, swift, and can create a complete disaster when she overflows her banks. She has shaped the land. But not in the same was that the Colorado has created the canyon. Two vastly different rivers. And to see the Colorado for the first time was a perfect moment.

I couldn't help but keep descending.

I made my way down and by lunch I was at Phantom Ranch. It was perfect. Warmer than at the top of the canyon, the river was flowing, the beach was a perfect place for lunch, it was a place that I didn't want to leave.

But if I wanted to be out of the Canyon by sunset then I needed to head back out. I walked along the river for a while until I made the turn at Pipe Creek to follow the Bright Angel Trail back up to the rim. The trail was long and the views were limited. Instead of walking into the vastness of the canyon, it was the feeling small facing the walls of the canyon during the ascent.

I finally made it to Indian Gardens and took a break. I could feel the previous 12.5 mile I hiked that day setting in. And those were the easy mile, they were mostly down hill. So after little time at Indian Gardens I made my way to the 3 Mile Rest house, 1.5 Rest house and eventually the Rim. The final part was miserable. But there was a point in the trail where you know you are almost out of the canyon, the sun is setting and the canyon lights up with color that you just don't see all of the time.

I made it out after 17.3 Miles and it was quite a day, an amazing day. One that made me fall in even deeper love with the Grand Canyon.

#nationalpark #arizona #hiking

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