I was footsore. I was calf-sore. I was hip-sore. I was shoulder-sore. I was brain-sore.
So, what did I do the next day after ascending out of the Grand Canyon? I took a hike at Hermit’s Rest.
The way the Grand Canyon National Park is laid out (at least the really popular part) is that the Grand Canyon Village is pretty much in the middle. Off to the east is the South Kaibab Trailhead (and you can only get there by bus). Off to the west is Hermit’s Rest (and again, you can only get there by bus). All the stuff in or near the village (the lodges, the Visitor’s Center, the MarketPlace, the Campground) can also be accessed by bus, but you can drive there, too.
So I boarded a bus at the MarketPlace, took it to a transfer point, and then boarded a second bus to take me out to Hermit’s Rest, which is an old structure atop the cliff that’s now an information center and gift shop.
I thought I’d be able to do it barefoot. But the trail started out with a very long stretch of gravel. I gingerly made my way through it all, and then started down the trail.
However, the trail too was pretty rocky, so I ended up wearing my moccasins again (no socks, though). Here’s the view from near the top. (Click on images for larger versions.)
Partway down, you can see the trail makeup. I probably could have taken off the mocs then, but I just didn’t feel like stopping at that point. But even then, there was a fair bit of rubble for the footsore.
In an earlier comment, Ward observed:
Wow, I can’t believe you said you got foot sore, with all the hiking you do! That terrain must be really tough to walk on.
I’m really not sure why I am having trouble. Here are a few ideas, though.
- I’m getting old. I just don’t recover the way I used to.
- While I do hike a lot, I don’t normally hike every day, which is what I’ve been doing on this trip. Combine that with not recovering the way a younger person would, and I guess getting footsore is inevitable.
- I used to be able to hike about 2 miles on gravel. A lot of the trails have are fairly pointy rocks. Combine that with not recovering quickly, and one gets footsore.
- My technique really isn’t very good. I tend to hit the ground pretty hard when I don’t pay attention, which is often. If you look at the way Cody Lundin walks in Dual Survival, it is much more gentle. I do that sometimes, but then I keep forgetting.
- My problem was mainly with my right foot, which is having issues with, I think, Morton’s neuroma. There is this one spot that, if I get it with a small stone, it just screams at me. Usually I can deal with it by carefully watching my steps, but occasionally I miss.
Back to the hike . . .
Dripping Spring was across the way.
I did end up taking off my moccasins again for hiking. The trail turned into some limestone slabs tilted at about a 30° angle. There really is nothing better for hiking on that than bare feet. They give the best possible grip possible (no sliding around inside a shoe—or moccasins).
Here you can see the side canyon containing Dripping Spring opening up into the main canyon.
That’s where I turned around. I was aching enough in enough different places that I decided just to head back to the top, buy some T-shirts at Hermit’s Rest, and then head back to my campsite and relax a bit.
By the way, the official campsites at the Grand Canyon, in the Mather Campground, are very nice.
The only little problem I had was with these:
One of the trees behind my tent put them out, and they really stuck to my soles. They didn’t hurt, since they couldn’t penetrate deeply enough. They just stuck there. Fortunately, they were behind my tent, and only came into play when I set up my tent, and when I took it down.
So, anyways, I was at Hermit’s Rest, looking buy some T-shirts and board the bus to head back to my campsite. That’s when I realized my wallet was way back at my car.
OK. No problem. I’d ride the bus back, get my wallet, and then head back out to Hermit’s Rest, and take pictures at the stops along the way (Mojave Point, The Abyss, Maricopa Point).
That’s when the bus driver asked: “Do you have any shoes?”
Considering I was at the Grand Canyon, I think it appropriate to call this point of the story a “cliffhanger”. I’ll continue tomorrow.