North meets South in the West
Part I= planning phase
The conception date of the GRAND adventure goes back at least a year, possibly more. You see, my dear friend Ashley and I are not your typical girls(I would use the term women, but I like to think of us as girls, running wild and free). Yes, outwardly we are extremely feminine, love the color pink, and we will wear eyeliner to run. Yet, much to the contrary, we enjoy running for hours at a time, preferably in the woods, getting dirty in the process. Additionally, I dare say we flirt with the crazies at times. A need to experience the highest highs life can naturally offer, is the fuel behind the drive. Personally speaking, this is probably my gift and my curse. Without conducting some sort of interview with Ashley I am unable to share her take on this, but I am at liberty to share that on many levels, we connect. An unexpected, deep friendship has developed with a person that I admire for possessing true tenacity. My respect for her goes beyond the outwardly visible beauty, to the kind soul she possesses. And of COURSE, I love that I have someone to normalize my often irrational ideas!
That being said, lets get down to business. Like I said earlier, our plan to escape, I mean go adventuring, was hatched some time ago. Although formal plans did not exist until recently. Things really began to take shape for our reunion extravaganza once we started looking at flights. The trip was becoming tangible, and I was ecstatic. Seeing as Arizona is a good 2,500+ miles away, or 1day 19hours, and we both have children, husbands, and other responsibilities, flying made the most sense.
Southwest rocks, therefore I deemed this air carrier to be my primary mode of transportation from the land of coffee milk to the land of cacti(?). ALL of my stuff will fly FO free dollas! That means the camping gear, running gear, candy, and other necessary supplies that will be crammed into my backpack will not be categorized as extra fee items. No, I don’t work for Southwest, but another beautiful friend of mine is their finest employee! That’s not why I am giving them props though. They really do have the flying business figured out, in my opinion.
Ok, so plane booked on 1/26/12. Next on the agenda, determining accommodations. Without question, camping was the logical/illogical choice(hey, depends on your perspective!). When you decide to run from one rim of the canyon to the next and back in one go, why would you NOT camp? Certainly we wouldn’t let thoughts of feeling beat up and hungry after the trek entice us to the hotel with warm baths and soft beds would we? No, that wouldn’t serve to build character in the least! Soooooo, I booked a worthy site at Mather Campground, right smack on the South Rim for a couple of nights. Not sure yet what we will be doing for subsequent nights’ sleeping arrangements, but it will probably involve some road trippin’ with good tunes blasting, and more trail running, followed by tent pitching in the desert. Fortunately, the land outside the canyon is available for “Dispersed Camping: Camping “at-large” is permitted in the national forest outside the park. Camping must be at least 0.25mile/ 0.4 km away from Highway 64. Other restrictions may apply.” Who needs showers anyway?? Full disclosure, I will bring dry hair shampoo(best product ever), and other products to make me feel somewhat clean on the return flight.
So it appears as if plans are really coming together. With the exception of a rental car, (I think we are both hoping to magically find an awesome deal on a sweet Jeep Wrangler,the ideal vehicle for desert conquering)we are looking prepared. Although, I do need to engage in a decent amount of vigorous training before departure. Living at sea level is NOT to my advantage!
Stay tuned for future installments of NORTH meets SOUTH in the WEST.
Coming editions will feature packing lists, including special gear purchases, desires and expectations of the trip, and of course the trip report itself!