Grand Canyon National Park - Day 4 Bright Angel to Cottonwood
Forget what makes sense. Going down into the Canyon is much harder than coming back up. OK, I havenít yet come back up but it must be true. My left knee is soooooore and only sore when I am going downhill.
Plus the psychology of going down 5,000 feet knowing that in a few days you are going to have to scale it, is a little much. That trepidation has spread throughout the beautiful Bright Angel Campground. Yesterday everyone talked loudly, joked, laughed and smiled. This morning there are no smiles and no hellos. It is a beautiful morning capped by a tangible pall. But weíre not going up today, so we donít really care. To bad for everyone else. Weíll enjoy our good fortune while we can.
Problem is my knee really hurts. We head up the Bright Angel Canyon on what should be an mildly uphill 8-mile stroll. Iím fine going up, but even the slightest downhill brings wincing. Gab interjects, ďYou really donít take pain well, do you?Ē Iím speechless. Sheís right. ďWhy donít you pick up a stick or something.Ē ďIíve been trying. Iím looking everywhere, but there just arenít any.Ē This is a complete lie. I have been making mental notes to look, but just havenít.
Then, out of blue, it appears: THE PERFECT WALKING STICK. Dead branch yes, but ergonomically bowed, pointy tip and a carved handle. It could not have been better designed. I realize the excellence and am almost scared to pick it up, but once I do, it becomes a part of me. The soreness gradually disappears and I have my companion through the desert. No, it does not turn into an asp, but it is sheer perfection nonetheless.
Gab and I are talking and keeping a nice pace. We pick our heads up and a man is running towards us. Heís got two water bottles, running shoes, running shorts and a sheer tank top. It hits us, he is running the Canyon from rim to rim. And we thought we were tough. That guy is nuts. Why would you ever want to run the Grand Canyon. Gab adds, ďhe probably is thinking, why would they want to walk the Canyon with 40-pound backpacks?Ē Fair enough.
He is only the first. One after another races through. At least ten. Havenít they read all the warnings? Donít they know it is the Grand Canyon? Either way, we suddenly donít feel so tough. And no, my knee doesnít hurt at all.