Pity Party, Table for One!

So, when we last spoke I mentioned I’d accidentally/on purpose rubbed off a scab and I had a gaping hole in my body, right? Well, that turned out to be a good thing because it scabbed over in a much better manner and it’s not so tight and weird and I feel better about that one.

But to not let me get too comfortable another incision site scab came off totally on accident and it’s a huge gaping hole that looks like an open wound and it is NOT scabbing back over on its own and now I have to go have this one looked at. Oy. Without question that area will be one nasty looking scar.

The gas issue is still an issue and I’m trying out different things to help it not be an issue. One of which is Gas-X but it, honestly, doesn’t seem to do a whole lot but a wee bit of relief is better than no relief so I’ll take it and when I’m out of that I’ll buy some Beano and see if that works better.

I also, in all of my research, found a message forum full of people that have had this operation and they seemed super supportive of each other and knowledgeable and I thought “This will be helpful. I can stop sounding like an old country grandma with aches in her knees when the rain is coming and just talk to people that have experienced this and it’ll be great!” Cut to my very first post resulting in a person telling me to stop feeling sorry for myself.

I don’t think that I was, I think I was simply explaining what’s happened, what’s going on, how I wasn’t mentally prepared for this as nobody told me the side effects of the surgery going in, etc. If that’s me feeling sorry for myself, I guess put me at the table in the back near the kitchen.

Another hike happened! A still not hard hike but with two long uphill portions and when I got home I crashed out on the couch for about an hour so I guess I’m either still recovering or just way out of shape. Or both!

I’m doing my hallway walks at lunch at the office and getting myself used to not just going home and plopping on the couch. Slowly but surely I’m building back up to the 10k steps each day minimum and soon I’ll even venture to the gym. Baby steps, I guess.

Tomorrow I get my temporary crown. One of my life goals was to keep all of my teeth forever and now that I’m getting this crown I feel like I’ve failed at this goal. I mean, technically the tooth will still be there. It’ll just be a ground down, covered version of itself. Bleah.

Overall my mental status I would put at an “yeah, I’m ok” level. Because I am. I’m just not super perky yet and that’s fine.

Current events are ridiculous and I’m dead tired of people being ridiculous over everything. No to Oprah for President! Yes, men, you can still flirt with women! Just don’t do it at the workplace if you’re not picking up a vibe from her! If you flirt with a woman and she expresses no interest stop flirting! Do not ask a co-worker or subordinate to watch you masturbate or anything else sexual! No, women, a man simply saying hello to you is not harassment, settle down! If a man tells you he likes your shoes, it’s fine to just say thank you! Unless he adds “I’d like to see them up on my shoulders.” A compliment is nice, say thank you. It’s ok to indicate and understand that a man yelling “Nice tits!” out of a car window is not the same level of horrible as a man forcibly stripping off your clothes and attempting to put his penis inside you. They are both wrong but they are not the same level of wrong and I’m a bit tired of being told I’m a bad feminist for understanding context and nuance. Stop thinking that just because one person of color says something isn’t hurtful to them that they speak for all persons of color! Stop only reading the headlines of stories and getting all social media outraged; the articles usually give way more details and you find out that there is a more complex story there than the headline implies. This includes 7-11 raids that everyone is mad about even though Bush AND Obama did the same thing. And on and on and on and on and on.

CONTEXT AND NUANCE PLEASE RETURN SO PEOPLE CAN BE REASONABLE AGAIN!!!!!!!!

I might as well just be pissin’ in the wind…

Advertisements

Back That Thing Up

2017 is damn near over….let’s recap this bitch!

January

We started the Weight Loss Challenge at the office.

I wasn’t ready for the National Trail Trek this year even though I signed up to do it. So, I just didn’t do it.

I hiked the usual New Year’s Day hike. Then another hike. That was all the hiking.

February

My Dad visited for the Waste Management Open, as per usual. We had a great time, also as per usual.

My boyfriend decided he was ready to bring a new doggy into his home and started the process of meeting with Rudy and I was at the home visit and then we found out we were approved and now there’s a little Rude Bear in our lives.

I hiked three times.

March

I did the Hike for the Homeless, which was great. Then I hiked one other time.

Rudy’s adoption became final and official.

April

We ended the Weight Loss Challenge at the office and I didn’t win but I did lose weight so I won!

Went to a friend’s birthday party at As You Wish and we all drew names then painted mugs for each other. It was so much fun!

The Final 4 was in town and we went to the FanFest and got in free thanks to it being sponsored by CapitalOne and I have a CapitalOne card! Woo! I like free fun.

I hiked three times.

We went to a Seder with my friend’s family again.

I gave my trainer the news that I would no longer be partaking of his services and he understood and I promised I’d still go to the gym on a regular basis and that he’d still be seeing my face. That was true for a little while…

May

We went to Spain and I ate my weight in chorizo and potatoes and it was lovely and nice and I enjoyed it immensely! So good!

I hiked twice.

I had my very first episode of feeling like I was having a heart attack.

June

I stayed home with Rudy while my boyfriend went to Texas without me and that was all for the best. Little Rude Bear was sick and my boyfriend is a good uncle and wanted to be at his niece’s graduation.

Went to an Eddie Izzard book event! He wasn’t doing a meet & greet or signing but he did read excerpts and expand on the stories and was funny and charming and I enjoyed it immensely. I’ve not been lucky enough to make it to one of his stand up shows so this was the next best thing.

We put together a surprise hike birthday party for one of our friends that was turning 60 and she was, in fact, so surprised and happy. We then had a party later in the day and it was so nice.

We went to Kartchner Caverns and OMG!! Best caverns I’ve ever visited. I want us to go back in 2018 to see the one that was closed to protect the bats. It was just that good.

My issues with eating and feeling like I was having a heart attack reached a high point so I went to the ER. Fun times.

July

I hiked three times!

I went to lots of doctor appointments and had lots of tests that revealed nothing at all other than my gallbladder is likely acting up. So, we scheduled to take that buggar out.

I turned 45! It was such a nice day. Until I threw up on the side of the road after trying to eat Mexican lunch because YOLO! Sometimes you really shouldn’t YOLO. But my birthday was still really nice despite that.

August

I had surgery to remove the gallbladder and I recovered from that really well.

My boyfriend had his birthday and we had a lot of good times. One of which was going to the Odysea Aquarium and it’s really great! Way better than either of us had imagined.

I took him to a baseball game to see the Cubs play the D-backs. This was three days after my surgery.

One of my Flickr friends was in town so we met up with him for lunch.

My symptoms all returned so I started the process of seeing the docs and tests all over again.

I hiked not at all.

September

I took my boyfriend to a Phoenix Rising soccer game and it was really so much fun. So exciting and great!

We went to see Napoleon Dynamite in the theatre and laughed out loud a lot.

I cancelled my trip to California to see The Muppets Live with Randi and I was bitter about that for a while but I’m over it now. Shit happens, ya know?

I participated in the world wide Book Fairy Day and dropped five books at five different bus stops around the area. It was a lot of fun and I hope nice people took the books and enjoyed them.

Doctors and tests and not being able to eat and generally felt like crap.

I hiked once.

October

We took all of the dogs to Barktoberfest. My dogs were bored, his dogs were tired.

Went to the Cardinals v Buccaneers game. It’s always fun to go to live sports, I think. Even though I’m not sportsy.

More doctors, more tests, more feeling like crap.

I hiked once! A puppy hike. Those are always fun.

I decorated a bear for charity.

November

My GI doc finally decided that an endoscopy was in order and it quickly revealed the issue and I had to rush to a different place for further testing and it was all terrible. Then my surgeon’s office called to tell me how serious it all was and it sounded like I was in grave danger and could possibly die (now that it’s all said and done I’m gonna admit that, yes, this was a possibility for a bit. It’s not a good thing to have twists in your stomach for too long. I don’t recommend it.) So, another surgery was to be scheduled but now we’re in the holiday season and schedules are hard so I felt like crap, was scared shitless, and had to sit and wait and wonder when it was all going to happen. I had one very sleepless night due to being worried I’d go to sleep and never wake up.

Due to all of that first paragraph the decision was made for me to not go home for Thanksgiving. It was the right call. And I had a very lovely Thanksgiving here so that all worked out nicely.

Since I was here and not in the air going home I was able to go to Woofstock with all of the dogs and my boyfriend and it was so much better than Barktoberfest. It’s a really good event.

No hiking.  But I was able to go to the finish line of the Phoenix Summit Challenge to cheer on my hiking friends and that was nice.

December

I started the month drinking terrible Barium milkshakes for a CT Scan so the surgeon could see what all he was dealing with so he could have his plan of action in place before opening me up. They found that my stomach was no longer twisted, which is why I was feeling a bit better. And surgery was finally scheduled. On a Monday. Surgery was two days later!

I was so nervous for this surgery. It was way more involved than just having a part removed. So, I was just really very nervous. But it all went well and I’ve already talked all about that. To update: the allergic rash and subsequent skin sloughing off is almost all gone, most incisions look great but I have one I’m keeping my eye on. I still have a bit of muscle pain but the less precious I am with moving around the better so I’m doing that. And eating is going really well and I look forward to starting to eat like a normal person on the 1st. No more processed, boxed crap. Yay!

I saw The Last Jedi and LOVED IT even though other hardcore Star Wars nerds, and my boyfriend, hate it. I love it. I think it was beautiful and deep and opens things up for new possibilities while, in my opinion, being true to the original trilogy. I won’t spoil it but a thing happens that made me absolutely sob like a fool.

I was able to attend my company’s holiday dinner and that was nice.

We went to my boyfriend’s sister’s for Christmas Eve and that was nice. I spent Christmas morning with my boyfriend and our dogs, we went to a movie, then he went home and I spent late afternoon and evening with my friend and her family for dinner and that was great. I had a nice little Christmas.

I somehow managed to pay off all medical bills and just have a few low ones that I’m waiting to arrive but I have the funds in my HSA to cover them and they need to come today so I can get that all closed out by the end of the year but I suspect that shit ain’t happening. That’s a huge stress off my shoulders. Whew!

I hiked zero.

Conclusion

So, yeah. This year wasn’t great but it also wasn’t the full-on crapfest I sometimes feel that it was. I think the overwhelming negativity of the news these days pushes all of the personal good down and I have to push that shit aside to get to it. I’ve started paying less attention to the news, which sort of sucks as I want to be able to take action when I can, but for my mental health right now…I just can’t. I’m very white, I guess.

Happy New Year! I hope it finds all of us healthy, happy, and whole.

Normalcy

Saturday morning my boyfriend and I went out to have breakfast together. I had pancakes. It went well. So, now I sort of want to go out to eat all of the time and just have pancakes.

Sunday morning we took all of our dogs on a short hike to see how his would do. Which they did great, we just need to get an earlier start so they don’t overheat. Especially the older little guy.

Both of these events just made me feel normal and good. I feel like all I do is talk about how I feel, how I’ve been feeling, what the next steps are, think about what I can eat, stress about making sure I don’t get heartburn or trigger an attack at work, calculate how long of a hike I can take if I get to schedule one, etc.

It’s exhausting. I’m exhausted. And I just don’t feel like myself.

And I definitely don’t feel sexy or desirable.

I have new scars on my body, one of which isn’t totally healed yet. My body makes gurgling noises non stop. I’m burpy. I wind up having mystery pains at random.

None of that adds up to a sexy Andrea and I’m sad.

I have a lot of lab tests to do next Friday, one of which is the h. pylori one. I’m also being tested for celiac and gardia. Then in November I’ll be tested for overgrowth in the small intestine.

However these results turn out will dictate what he’s looking for and what he’ll do when I get my endoscopy, since that is a definite that should happen. And a colonoscopy.

More of me not feeling very sexy, y’all.

I also wonder how much of our current political/media climate is impacting me. Stress is not good for the GI tract and I’m definitely feeling stress over the state of our world. I’m going to take off all news alerts from my phone, restrict my Facebook time even more, and not engage in any sort of debate to see if any of that helps. It definitely can’t hurt.

When I finally return to normal I hope I never have to be reminded to enjoy it. To not take it for granted. Because it can be taken away at any moment.

Mundane Monday

I don’t mean to brag or anything, but I ate pizza on Saturday without issue. WOO!!!

I also went on a hike. It was the first hike in two and a half months and that is ludicrous Lu-dah-cris. It felt like I’d never walked up hills before but it also felt SO GOOD to be walking up hills again. And down hills. And on flat desert ground. So good.

I don’t wanna get all excited and think I’m totally cured so I’m being cautiously optimistic given what I carefully planned and ate over the weekend while knowing it’s been a week since I’ve had a full blown issue. Fingers are firmly crossed.

It feels really nice to feel like I have a handle on things and to feel like I’ve taken back control.

Half a Year

The end of the year is quickly approaching and I’m realizing I only posted here twice. Once to catch up on 2015 and then when Prince died. That’s not super great. It’s like I’m not even a blogger! I guess maybe I’m really not?

But I want to be! I used to be! So, one of my goals in 2017 will be to use this space again. It’ll be a wee bit different than when I was using it to solely track my training and hiking leading up to the Grand Canyon hike but not by much. I want this space to keep me accountable to my goals and my aspirations and my emotions and feelings on track. A public journal so I actually feel accountable to something other than myself. Which is sad. But it’s reality so that’s that.

This post will be a quickie roundup of the first half of this year. It would likely be far too long to do it all at once. What with me being wordy at times and using photos so you can ooooh and aaaah at stuff.

Part two will be posted next week. Because there’s still a bit over a week left of the year and who knows what will happen!

January

The year started with my boyfriend taking me to the Cactus Bowl to watch WVU play ASU! Our seats were right beside the WVU Marching Band, which is awesome, and the Mountaineers won! It was so great to be walking around outside the stadium seeing so many of the WV logos and the blue and gold. It was great. I loved it.

I only worked out twice, due to having to go to Pennsylvania for a week for work and various family events. I did, however, hike three times in preparation for the National Trail Trek! Which was also in January. My friend, Jeff, came out and participated in it with me and then got stuck here due to snow on the East Coast. The day after the NTT we all hiked with our dogs to make sure we got a nice, easy hike in to reduce stiffness. Plus who doesn’t want to hike with a herd of puppies? Nobody I want to know!

Happy Hiker!

I continued to see the chiro all month to make sure my hips stayed in alignment and I ended the month with a massage and pedi. That one was well earned after the travel and hiking!

I was able to go to two Suns games, both for free! One of which was floor seats! Yay sportsball!

February

This was a bad month for activity for some reason. Timing and events, I suppose. I only worked out with Tyler twice and didn’t go to the chiro at all.

My Dad came to town for the Waste Management Phoenix Open and I did a lot of walking around that weekend, thank goodness.

My hiking friends and I had a clothing swap and me and the boyfriend went to a roller derby.

The month ended with the one and only hike! It was in a lovely location where we saw a herd of wild horses and a bald eagle soared overhead. It was quite majestic and my first sighting of one in the wild!

Butcher Jones Hike

March

I had allergy testing done and found out I’m allergic to a whole slew of things and should just never go outside ever. Oh, well.

I went to the gym and worked with Tyler NINE TIMES!! Go March!! *flex*

I went to the chiro once. I think that was my last visit.

We (when I say we, I mean me and my boyfriend. I’m a we now. It’s nice.) went to a Cubs spring training game. I decided then that I would be a Cubs fan for I like the little cubbie logo guy. And this turned out to be one of the best decisions I made this year.

I had my yearly mammogram and this one was the worst one yet. The lady manhandled me worse than I’ve ever experienced, it hurt like hell, and when it was all over I felt incredibly violated and I cried. A lot. I understand that this is part of taking care of my body and my health and my life but there has to be a better way. I shouldn’t feel such intense violation in order to stay healthy.

I had four hikes in March and they were all awesome. The first one was a fun little puppy hike. The second one was a beautiful hike in Sedona. The third one was an even more beautiful but terrifying hike in Sedona that was just my boyfriend and I. He got me through the very scary spots and I even went out on the very high and not as narrow as it seems bridge! The last hike for the month was the Move Across 2 Ranges. And instead of doing 21 miles I did 3. Because I was not in the mood. Instead I sat in the sun with a hiking friend who also determined she was not in the mood and talked and read a book and had snacks and it was relaxing and exactly what was needed.

Devil's Bridge

April

I gymmed four times. One of which was solo since Tyler took a vacation.

I hiked twice. One of which was in a totally new to me place and it was really nice.

There were lots of fun events in April. I went to a fun work party with the boyfriend. A Seder celebration with one of my friends at her home with family and friends. One of my dearest friends got married in Vegas and that was a fun weekend. The owner of my company took us to a lovely evening that included a limo bus ride to the venue, an amazing dinner, and a suite where we watched a Carrie Underwood concert. I’m not big on country but that was a really fun evening.

I already discussed Prince dying. I don’t want to again. It still sucks and I still hate it and I still find it terribly unfair and unnecessary and unreal.

I ended the month with a massage. I’m worth it.

Carrie Underwood

May

I only hiked twice but I managed to hit the gym and work with my trainer four times. Which is amazing considering I went to England for a week!!

That’s right. I finally made it to London. It was amazing. We did so many things and had such delicious foods and I finally saw Stonehenge and I had to drive and that was weird and just all of the things! Then an epic layover in Ireland that resulted in us really only sitting and enjoying the fact that we were in Ireland for, oh….half an hour! We didn’t realize the Dublin airport was a pre-TSA check airport and that we had to go through all of that. But it made the layover in Philly so much easier and relaxing. 

Dan Saturday

Stonehenge!

June

The month started with my friends coming to town for the Comicon. We did a low key version of the ‘Con this year and, instead, did lots of pool party shenanigans at my house. Fun was had by all.

I went to the gym and worked with Tyler four times.

I had a massage. Because I’m a mess of knots.

The only hiking I did was in Yellowstone! Yes, I went to the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks with my family. I saw a grizzly bear with a cub. I saw a black bear with two cubs. I saw buffalo and elk! It was more beautiful than you can imagine. While there we hiked the Brink of Lower Falls trail and Uncle Tom’s Trail. The elevation of the park was enough to make it hard for me to breathe. Neither trail, really, is difficult. But yes it is if you cannot breathe. My first night in Jackson Hole I threw up multiple times due to elevation sickness. I get all of the dumb afflictions, you guys. But anyway, Brink of Lower Falls trail is a sort of steep graded set of switchbacks. Down was no sweat. Walking up required many breaks. Uncle Tom’s Trail, however, was mostly a series of staircases. With over 300 steps. That are mounted on the side of the mountain. And are see through. My fear of heights was deeply engaged. But I did it! Hell yeah, I did.

Grand Teton National Park

Untitled

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

And that is the first half of 2016 brief update. See you next week!

In Training

Kiwanis Trail-5

I’ve gained all of the weight I lost while doing the Whole 30 and then some back. Apparently that’s what happens when you’re in new relationship? I dunno. But today I went grocery shopping and bought all Whole 30 compliant foods and did meal prep and now I have breakfast and lunch for the entire week all planned out.

However, most importantly, I’m back in training. Back on the trail. To get ready for the National Trail Trek in January! I’m so excited. And so happy.

I have lots to say but no time to say it but I wanted to say this. About the training and the happy. I like to make note.

According to the Facebook memories thing, I started my NTT training on this day last year. So, I think that’s a nice thing.

More later. Not sure how later. Hopefully not as later as this.

Rim to Rim

So, I hiked the Grand Canyon and then I went away. Seems about right, yeah? So, here’s the Grand Grand Canyon post I promised! Hopefully it’ll be worthwhile.

That Saturday morning we woke up, had breakfast, loaded up the car and took ridiculous photos and posted them on the Instagrams and Facebooks because that is how we live our lives now, ok? OK.

I love these guys.

I love these guys.

Then we drove. We drove toward the Canyon. And we were all a bundle of nerves and excited energy and we chatted and had roadsign Tourrettes and smartassery and were just, generally, ourselves.

We arrive to the Canyon and I cannot WAIT for them to all see if. This is the first time my friends had all seen the Grand Canyon. RIGHT?!?!? Everyone needs to see the Grand Canyon and I will take you all because that’s how strongly I feel about that! And they are all appropriately impressed and I cry because oh my god it is so pretty and oh my god we’re going down there! WE’RE GOING DOWN THERE!

Off we go to find where we meet the shuttle and we get all dropped off and my car parked and we look at the Canyon from a vantage point I’d never been to and then we load up in the shuttle and we ride for, like, SIX hours. But it actually went by quickly. We enjoyed the views and talked and napped and all the things you do when you’re in a shuttle for six hours.

We see a forest that was burned out thanks to a lightning strike, herds of elk, and then we finally arrived to the North Rim. A first for us all.

Our campsite was SO CLOSE to the rim! That was a surprise. And the North Rim is oh my god so pretty. Pine trees and aspens and far less people and amazing views. So nice. We took pictures, set up camp, had dinner, and watched the sunset. And with the magic of putting our phones in just the right areas at just the right time we each were able to do one last post before our big trip.

The North Rim is so much different than the South!

The North Rim is so much different than the South!

The next morning we woke up early and got ourselves fed and on the way to the trailhead and to say that the energy was high would be an understatement. We were all amped the fuck up, y’all.

As we were walking the over a mile walk to the actual trailhead I was getting super nervous. My pack did NOT feel right. At all. And I was worried. Because, um, we’re not even started yet for real and I’m already uncomfortable holy shit what did I get myself and my friends into holy fuck?!?!? Then we arrive to the trailhead and we’re doing selfies and group shots because we’re a bunch of nerds and photographers so this is going to happen A LOT when Dave says “Andrea, why does your pack look so wrong?” I took it off, he did some adjustments, I put it back on and it was instant relief. THANK YOU SO MUCH DAVE.

Then off we went. Down the North Kaibab Trail. And we, of course, were all “Look at us! We’re finally hiking into the Grand Canyon!” because we were just beside ourselves with glee. We stopped to marvel over how amazing the Canyon is. We stopped and proclaimed “Look! Mount Humphreys!” anytime we could see it. We determined that the Canyon is Majestic As Fuck! and proudly proclaimed it as we saw fit. We stopped and talked to other hikers to give them encouragement and to ask questions about what was ahead for us.

We're some giddy mofos.

We’re some giddy mofos.

Basically, we took a long time going down because we were like overly stimulated toddlers.

The first day was the day I was the most nervous about. It was the day that I’d be on the portion of the trail that everyone felt would be scary and upsetting to me. But? Not one single thing about it upset me. I was too much in awe of where I was and what I was doing to be concerned with anything else. I was too full of happy to be all up in my head. And it was glorious.

I will say, however, that it was a lot of unrelenting down and by the end of that day my hips were sore. But Jeff and I just did some stretches and that was that!

Before we made it to Cottonwood Camp we were worn out. We were ready for the day to be over. We took too long and we let the Sun come up and the temps get high and we were tired. We wound up with a campsite that was in full Sun, little shade, and it was a nice walk to the creek. But the creek was in full Sun, too, so it’s not like we could sit there all day, either. But we made it all work. We would go down and sit with our feet in the creek for a bit. Then we’d refill our bucket, dip our hats in the creek, and walk back to camp. We’d sit as still as possible. Like lizards. Expending as little energy as possible watching the Sun approach the high Canyon walls to provide shade. As soon as that happened? We felt the temp drop at least 10 degrees and we were able to move and be alive once again! So we ate dinner and played games (“I’m the Countess!”) and enjoyed the rest of the day.

That view!

That view!

We went to bed that night excited about what we’d done and with a plan to get up and moving early the next day so we’d get through The Box before the Sun was too high so we’d not die. The Internet told us we’d die in The Box. The Internet can be so dramatic, you guys.

While we were in the Grand Canyon the moon was full. Which, of course, killed our plans to enjoy all of the stars and the Milky Way but we did, instead, enjoy the brightest moon we’d ever seen before! Like, it was so bright that each of us, individually, woke up in the middle of the night and asked “Who the hell has a light on?” Space, fuckers. Space has the light on. Go to sleep.

The next morning we woke up and packed up and got on the trail a little later than we wanted but still before 5am. But for some reason my pack was leaking. And I was not having it. Jeff wanted to wait to figure it out but I was all “NO TO THAT!” and I turned into The Hulk and I lifted my 30lb pack OVER MY HEAD AND BODY SLAMMED IT!! Which made Dave say “Well that’s not helpful.” To which my face said “Shut it.”

I fixed the leak, I apologized for being a maniac, and off we went! Towards The Box!

We made AWESOME time, thanks to Jeff keeping us on pace. We made it through The Box in complete shade! We stopped and had snacks there, talked to other hikers, took photos, etc and so forth. All in the shade. It was awesome. As we approached Phantom Ranch and Bright Angel Campground, though, the Sun was making itself known. But we got an excellent campsite and spent the day in the creek.

I loved this campground so very much.

I loved this campground so very much.

This day may be my favorite one. They were all amazing, do not get me wrong. But the whole Phantom Ranch/Bright Angel Campground area had a really cool summer camp type of vibe that I really liked. The views were amazing. Sitting in the creek all day to stay cool was relaxing. Spending time talking to Jeff and Dave and getting to know Amy was just super nice. And we had access to ice cold tea, beer, and snacks. Why wouldn’t this be my favorite day?!?!

Park Rangers walked around more at this camp and talked to hikers and campers and they do nightly programs at Phantom Ranch that everyone can participate in so we walked down for that and learned about the native plant life in the Canyon and watched a mule deer eat her dinner.

Dinner time.

Dinner time.

On one trip to the bathroom we saw our one and only snake. I small one, not even sure what brand it was. But it slithered across our path and I did mom arm to stop Jeff from getting near it and life was good.

We went to sleep that night feeling pretty good, I think. Ready for the next day’s trek, which started out flat and ended on the incline towards Indian Garden Campground.

The next morning we get up, get our breakfast on, get our packs on, and headed for the bathrooms since they were on our way out. What I discovered once I went to the bathroom was that my period had arrived and then a lightbulb went off and said “Oooooh, that’s why I’ve been a maniac!” But, I was not prepared for this event. Like a dummy. So I had to just use the old balled up, wadded up toilet paper trick. At this point we’d already been naming our poo and being super mature and gross so I just told everyone “Guess what? I started my period and I am unprepared.” Dave, ever the boy scout, proclaims “Well, you have extra socks!” and we hit the trail.

When I’m on my period, the first day sucks. I get cramps really bad. My uterus really is an asshole and likes to be dramatic. So, carrying my pack with cramps and a wadded up ball of toilet paper in my crotch didn’t really lead me to feel super terrific so when we had to trudge through some sandy type beach like trail I wasn’t thrilled. But! I was still in the Grand Canyon so I didn’t really let it get me down. I’m not an idiot.

As we encountered lady hikers that I recognized from camp I’d ask them if they had supplies. I got a lot of no. But I couldn’t worry too much about that because we were headed towards The Devil’s Corkscrew. A nice series of switchbacks that seem to never end. Or, at least that’s what the Internet told us. I found it to be a nice series of switchbacks. I’m so positive.

Devil's Corkscrew. Not that bad.

Devil’s Corkscrew. Not that bad.

This hike was more of the same yet totally different. Lovely Canyon views and us being a mix of excited and tired. When we arrived at Indian Garden Campground we were not quite prepared for how lovely it was. And most sites were in full shade! We had a covered picnic table! Just all the shade!

The tradeoff? The bathroom was UP A FUCKING HILL!!! Really? We’ve been hiking our asses off for how many days and now I also have to walk up hill just to pee. Bastards. All of them.

Ain't that a bitch. UP HILL!!!

Ain’t that a bitch. UP HILL!!!

I spent most of this day watching lizards play and laying my head on the table in an attempt to ignore the cramps. Oh! But I did find a lady camper that we’d been friendly with that had just finished her period and gave me all of her supplies!! OH HAPPY DAY!

However, by this point eating was a chore for me. I have no idea why. All I know is that it would take me an hour to eat one meal today. I had to force it. I just couldn’t do it. But I did. And it was fine.

We had discussed going to Plateau Point for the sunset but then Amy, Jeff, and I all determined that nope, we wanted to preserve our energy for the next day’s up and out trek. Dave, the energy bunny of the group, went. And he enjoyed it immensely and we enjoyed his photos so it’s all fine and good.

The next day we wake up and get ourselves packed and fed and on the trail bright and early yet again. We’re pros at that. And as we’re walking up the trail we’re approaching a Canyon wall and wondering, how the hell are we getting out of here are we climbing THAT?!?!? The answer was “We are climbing that but there are switchbacks and rest houses and it’s not just a sheer wall like it appears, settle down, gosh.”

How are we supposed to climb that?!?!?

How are we supposed to climb that?!?!?

We’re fairly giddy and slaphappy by this point. We’ve enjoyed the Canyon and we feel accomplished and we’re on the way out and we’re just slap happy, man. And Dave was like a damn sprite bouncing up the trail and making announcements and a lady from a group that had been hiking on the same schedule as us said “Can I slap him?” and we gave her permission. Without hesitation.

As we were walking up the the trail I was having to stop a lot to catch my breath. Jeff finally said “Why are you walking so fast?!” and then proceeded to tell me that I’m not holding anyone back, I’m catching up with people that keep walking as I stop to take breaks and that what I need to do is find my pace and stick with that. A slow, steady pace. It really will win the race, you guys. Because once I shortened my stride and just walked slowly up the Bright Angel trail? I didn’t have to stop near as often. I just kept moving forward. Go Jeff!

We stopped at the 3 miles rest house and took off our packs and had snacks for about 20 minutes. Jeff was taking photos of me and Amy when my hat blew off and the thickets Southern accent ever escaped my mouth and I proclaimed “MAH HARRR!” when I realized how bad my hair must look by this point. And then Amy and I got the giggles because of “Lawd, Jaysus, it’s a faaar.” Who doesn’t love Sweet Brown? Nobody I want to know, that’s who.

So, we rested and giggled and snacked and then up we started again toward the mile and a half rest house.

This part of the trail really is just switchbacks. I’m not sure why people make a big deal out of the Devil’s Corkscrew portion when the entire way out is switchbacky. People, I tell you. People.

I continue to maintain my slow and steady and I continue to hand out the electrolyte gummy chews like a drug pusher. And we made it to the mile and a half rest house.

By this point we’re encountering people coming down and they’re asking us questions and it’s nice but mostly we’re still just the four of us in the rest house being the four of us. I’m sitting in the floor and I turn on my phone to see. I have signal! I let notifications come in and I only answer one text. Then, as I look up and out the window of the rest house I can see the Canyon. All that we’ve just hiked. And I legit started to cry because I was just so proud of me and my friends and filled with amazement and all of it. And Dave said “Jeff, give her a tissue. I’m not even kidding.” I’m such a sap.

This reduced me to tears. Because it's magnificent and we hiked it. All. Like pros.

This reduced me to tears. Because it’s magnificent and we hiked it. All. Like pros.

After a nice 30 minutes we decide to finish this thing. We make a plan to stop at the top to take a triumphant group selfie and off we go at our own paces.

As we are going up we’re starting to run into more and more people making their way down. And just as we had given hikers encouragement on their way up three days earlier, these folks did the same and it felt amazing. Strangers smiling at us and telling us that we’re almost there! you’re doing great! Asking when we started and from where and being impressed! It really was awesome and I’m so happy that we did that to hikers we encountered instead of thinking that would be lame. It’s not lame. At all.

Then I realize….these people smell FANTASTIC! Every single one of them smelled so good. That’s how we all walk around daily and take for granted. Now I know this. Thank you, Grand Canyon.

As we reach the top we’re getting more and more giddy, Dave is going more and more ahead and giving us the progress report, people are being more and more smiley and congratulatory, and we’re just plowing ahead to get to the top and we’re exhilarated and sad that it’s going to be over so soon.

When we reach the top Dave pulls out his flask and we all take a shot of whiskey. Then selfies happened and photos of individuals and talking to other Canyon guests and the group shot just didn’t really happen. We just got too giddy.

Canyon RimJob 2015 smellycat day 4-16

Canyon RimJob 2015 smellycat day 4-18

11393415_10205981111782122_164452585841151998_o

Calls were made, posts were made, talking to people at the top happened. It was a whirlwind.

We dragged ourselves to breakfast. Our stinky, dirty selves. And they welcomed us. And we ordered food. Real food. Made in a kitchen. And as it was placed in front of us we all started eating like bears. Arms protecting our plates as if someone may steal it from us. No talking. No giggling. No smartassery. For half of our plates. Then we finally came up for air and slowed down a bit.

I made it to the car much easier than I thought I would. I mean, I just hiked the Grand Canyon and now I also have to walk to get the car?!?!? But I did it. And I smiled and floated the entire way because I JUST HIKED THE GRAND CANYON!!

We loaded up and found the camp showers. I had no idea a tiny pay for use shower would be so damned amazing. But it was. And we smelled like the others once again. We no longer showed signs of our achievement.

And then off we went to be tourists. But now? We’re part of the 1%. The 1% that make it to the bottom and back successfully. I’ll never be simply a tourist at the Canyon again.

(Here are photos that we took in the Canyon. It is a mix of all four of ours. Enjoy!)