Day Three: The Canyon, Little Prep, Couple Statistics, and Good-Bye

We woke at Jacob Lake Inn to a beautiful 39 degree morning. We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at the Inn, and Annelies was able to use her very first pay phone. It cost $1 to call my cell, which hasn't had service for 24 hours (the reason I haven’t been posting).

We drove three hours to the Grand Canyon South Rim. Half-way there we stopped for our first glimpse of what the Canyon would look like from atop a bridge. I almost threw up, the height was so nauseating – and that was only 475 deep, tomorrow we hike down a mile!

We made our way, and finally arrived at The Grand Canyon.

We drove to the Backcountry Permit desk, picked up some maps, and inquired about the status of the trail and weather. All look great. We spent nearly one hour unpacking our suitcases, in the grocery store parking lot, in order to put a duffel bag together with our clothes and cosmetics that the mules will be carrying down to Phantom Ranch for us. We had to get the duffel to the Mule Barn by 4:00pm.

We got there at 3:50!

We checked in at Bright Angel Lodge, and drove to the Visitor Center for a couple more passport stamps and pins. We are saving our souvenir shopping for when we arrive at the bottom tomorrow. Apparently there are ‘Phantom Ranch Exclusive’ items.

We are now sitting in our lodge; Paradis is reading, Annelies is watching a movie on her iPad, Scott is packing (see contents below), and I’m catching up on three days worth of blog posts!

Tomorrow our plan is to wake by 7:00, pack up, get some breakfast, and drive our van to the Backpack Parking Lot. We will take the shuttle to the head of the South Kaibab Trail, and start downward. We need to reach the bottom by 5:00, because that is the time dinner is served – and they don’t wait for slow pokes (and everyone knows food is a priority for me). We will stay overnight at Phantom Ranch, and explore The Canyon all day Sunday. On Monday morning we will put our ‘hopefully-rested-bodies’ on the Bright Angel Trail, and head back to the top.

I live my life by statistics. Many decisions I make in life are based on statistics; “Do I shovel enough to justify buying a snow blower?” No.  “Do children get kidnapped by a complete stranger often enough to justify worrying about it 24 hours a day?” No.

So I looked at Grand Canyon statistics in preparation for our hike tomorrow. The Canyon is 1 mile deep and 10 miles wide. Four-and-a-half million people visit The Canyon each year, but only 5% hike to the bottom. Approximately one person falls to their death in the Canyon each year, and over 250 people are rescued. Three people die in The Canyon by flying in a Helicopter over it each year.

So what does this mean? I’ll be honest … I have absolutely no idea, other than I’m safer walking than flying! But I’m confident we can do this. I’m confident this hike is possible. I’m just hoping I’m still married, and my children don’t check themselves into Social Services when we return to the top.

Before we turn out the lights, hoping for a good night’s rest, I leave you with a blog post I came across during my research. Warning: Some of the language is offensive. Click here to read. I read it to my hiking team tonight, while they recorded me, so I could pull it out when we need a laugh tomorrow. If you don’t hear from us by Monday night, you’ll know the statistics meant we shouldn't have attempted this crazy adventure! Good-Bye for now … wish us luck!

Day Three: 195 miles (481 total); $0 on gas ($44.65 total); 3 states (3 total); $143.00 Lodging  ($452.60 total); $92.92 Souvenirs ($339.29 total); $0 Tourist Traps ($75.80 total); $0 Redbox ($2 total); 0 fights (0 total); 0 injuries (0 total)

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