Tag Archives: camping

Day 3: Indian Gardens

It was still dark when I emerged from my tent to begin the day. My plan was to be on the trail by five a.m. and if things went well, I would reach Indian Gardens before the heat set in. I tried to make as little noise as possible so I wouldn’t wake the rest of the camp, but before I was ready to leave, Mike and Vikki were up. They wished me “Happy Mother’s Day,” and urged me to be careful. I could tell by the look on Mike’s face that he was concerned about watching his mother walk away from camp alone. But we had all agreed that this was the best idea. The rest of our party would be staggering their start so that there would always be someone coming up behind me in case I needed help. As it turned out, that wasn’t necessary. I was already at Indian Gardens before most of them left camp.

As I hiked down the trail and out of the campgrounds, I felt exhilarated. I was embarking on a great adventure. The nearly full moon lighted my path, making my headlamp almost unnecessary. I hadn’t gone far when I realized there was a large animal on the left side of the trail. It turned out to be a doe, who walked past me close enough that I could have petted her.

Soon I reached Silver Bridge that would take me across the Colorado River. It is a long suspension bridge with a mesh floor that makes the river visible below as you hike across the bridge. The ranger told us that there have been hikers who made it that far and had to turn around because they were too afraid to cross the bridge. I wondered what it would be like crossing in the dark, but it didn’t slow me down at all.

I had hoped to reach the River House, a mile and a half from the campgrounds in an hour, but thirty minutes later, I was there. After another thirty minutes, I found myself at the bottom of Devil’s Corkscrew. Once again, I was attempting the section of the Canyon that had been the most difficult for me hiking in. Only this time, I would be climbing up the Devil’s Corkscrew. Up I went, and to my surprise, it wasn’t difficult at all. The sun made its appearance as I neared to top. I stopped to take a picture as a group of men were coming down the trail. One of them said, “You’re making this look easy.” Another man asked if I would like him to take my picture.

With the biggest challenge over, I stopped at the top for a snack and to put on sun screen. After a brief rest, I was ready to begin again. This time, I would be completing the last leg of the four-and-a-half-mile trail. It had been my hope to reach Indian Gardens by nine o’clock, but it was only seven-thirty when I arrived. After a short rest, I hiked to the campground and located our campsite. Now I just had to wait for everyone else to arrive.

Miss Diehl’s Grand Canyon Playschool

220px-New_havasu_fallsThis year is my fiftieth class reunion–Yikes! Where did the years go! But it got me thinking about some of the things that happened in high school. One of my best memories is a trip I took with some friends between our sophomore and junior years. Somehow we managed to convince our English teacher, Miss Diehl, to take us to the Grand Canyon. I’m pretty sure my parents only said I could go because they thought Miss Diehl would turn us down. Thinking back on it, Miss Diehl probably went along with our scheme because she didn’t think our parents would let us go. Anyway, everyone underestimated our powers of persuasion.

We spent our first night in Peach Springs, in the teepee motel.  The following morning, we left early to take the sixty-mile dirt road to Havasupai Canyon. Somewhere along the way, we had a flat tire. Since the tire was damaged beyond repair, it was necessary to buy a new one once we got to Flagstaff. That seriously cut into the amount of money we had for the trip and required some recalculations. If that wasn’t bad enough, no one had figured  how expensive food would be in Havasupai Village. Everything had to be brought in by horseback, including us. The horseback ride was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. Once in the canyon, we stayed in the lodge. The only food we could afford was a large jar of peanut butter and loaf of bread.  That was what we ate for our two days in the Canyon.

Anyone who has been to Havasupai will tell you that it is like no place on earth. The water cascades down into brilliant blue pools surrounded by red rocks. The first set of falls are a two-mile hike from the village. Further down is Moony Falls that is reachable by climbing down from a ledge. For part of the trip down, hikers pass through tunnels and at other times use spikes driven into the walls. The spectacular falls is certainly worth the effort.

Leaving Havasupai Canyon,  our next stop was the Grand Canyon, where we camped in a tent. We found plenty to do, like ranger talks, hikes and the west rim drive. Our last stop was Oak Creek Canyon and Slide Rock. There I wore out my very best cut-offs sliding down through the pools of water. This didn’t make my mother too happy when I returned home, but it was worth it.

This trip was certainly one of my fondest memories from high school and one that I will always remember. I was even able to remember the words to the song we made up. It is to the tune of “My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean.”

We’re Pam and Diane and Rosemary, and we’d like to relate to you

A few of our many experiences, in Miss Diehl’s Grand Canyon play school.

We took a trip into the Canyon. The Indians were so very kind.

We had lots of fun riding horses, but oh my poor behind.

Our days are divided in periods, and now just to mention a few:

There’s reading and resting and meditating, and of course letter-writing too.

Last night we had stew for our supper; for breakfast we had stew again.

Today will have stew for our dinner. I’m ready to jump off the rim.

When I get home to my mother, I know what I’m going to do.

I’ll eat and I’ll drink and be merry, for Miss Diehl I’m going to sue.