|The hikers at North Rim. 6am, ready to go.|
(L-R Derek Baker, Jen Curtis, Nathan and Rachel Larsen, Bob Allan, Brandon Allan, Jon Lewis, and Jim Curtis)
|At the lookout point not far from the top of North Rim|
|Nate and I at the look out point. You can see the canyon we'll be hiking behind us.|
|Ribbon Falls in all it's glory.|
|Still smiling (kind of) in The Box|
When we jogged into Phantom Ranch I was worried. We were roughly two-thirds through our hike, but my muscles were already screaming. We got into the little lodge/store thing and found Jon there guzzling ice cold lemonade and refueling. We ate. Our fuel was simple, and I think that really helped us. We chose peanut butter filled pretzel, nuts and freeze dried fruit. Jon said he'd been there for about a half hour. The first thing I noticed about Jon was that he was covered in dried salt. Seriously, white waving lines were all over his hat, his face, his arms and shirt. I'd never seen anyone visibly lose that much salt in their sweat. I asked about his fuel. He said he still had plenty of salt replacement, electrolyte replacement and the like. He was very chipper. He stayed with us while we waited for the others. When they arrived my sister's boyfriend, Derek came in and laid down on a bench at a table. He just walked in, groaned and laid down. He didn't rush up to the counter like the rest of us for some lemonade, he didn't move. Uh-oh.
|Refilling water, checking and bandaging blisters at Phantom Ranch. (L-R: Rachel Larsen, Derek Baker, Jen Curtis, Jim Curtis)|
|Nate and I by the Thermometer outside Phantom Ranch. it reads 124 degrees. In that bulletin board there is a sign referring to the thermometer that says, "That can't be right, can it? Yes it is."|
|The trail heading out of Phantom Ranch|
|On the bridge over the Colorado.|
|Trail on the South Rim side looking back toward the green patch of trees in the distance that is Indian Gardens campground|
|A snake that crossed our path on the switch backs of the South Rim.|
At that point, a man joined me. His name was Eric. He said he was on a flashlight rescue mission as well, and should we go together? I gratefully accepted. About a half a mile down I saw Jon. Alone. Nate had to attend to his father, and Jon couldn't be stopped. He wanted out. I called his name. As he got closer he whispered my name and collapsed on top of me. He's not a small guy. Eric grabbed him and set him on a rock. I gave him juice. I knew he'd puke it up, but he needed it. Then Jen walked up, crying. I gave her some juice and she sobbed, "you read my mind." and kept going. She's so cute. Derek and my dad came next, followed by Nate and his dad, who was also battling altitude sickness. Oh we are a sight, I thought. I took Jon's arm and talked his ear off to get him to put one foot in front of the other.
We made it out. It was 10 pm. The south rim was all but closed. Jon's muscles were seizing and he was still puking. Chuck was too. We drove the Polish couple to their car, listening to them argue and her tell him, "We are not hikers!" We tried to find the clinic. We even split up on foot to find it. Jon was getting worse by the minute. He kept saying, "Please hurry. Please hurry." I called 911. I told the operator we couldn't find the clinic. She told me the clinic was closed. Then would you mind sending an AMBULANCE, lady? The rangers arrived, chewed us out for going Rim to Rim, did we have any idea how hot it was today? Uh, yeah, I think we have an idea, thanks. Derek was still grunting. "Is he OK?" The rangers asked. "Yeah, he's just cramping."
We split up again. Nate and I followed Jon in the ambulance, and the others headed two hours away to our nice resort hotel in Paige. It was an hour and a half drive for us. We had to wait an hour at the ER, to see if Jon needed to stay over night. He did. He had all the necessary nutrients in his blood, just not water to carry them. We went in search for food. There was only one food place open that we could find, McDonalds. Sick. Those were the best tasting cheeseburgers I have ever had though. We had been up 22 hours, we were sore, and we stank. The last available hotel room in that whole sleepy town was in a disgusting motel 6. We didn't even care. Jon received 3 1/2 liters of fluid and was a whole new man in the morning. Jen said Derek woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed the next morning, he wasn't even sore. Brandon and Chuck likewise. All's well that ends well, I guess. I had nightmares about the trail for a few days. I still feel a little traumatized.
|My dusty, dirty legs and feet while waiting in the ER|