Okay, so I'm back and still alive. (And I still have both lungs.) Yahoo!!!
I'm so glad I went, in spite of the pain. The good far outweighed the bad, which pretty much came during the last 2 hours of each day on the trail.
Since blogging from the trip wasn't possible, I'm going to blog the trip day-by-day this week.
Day one (Sunday) we met in Flagstaff and then took a van trip to the Grand Canyon. In contrast to my -it's-going-to-be-too-freaking-hot fears, it was freezing. Decided my best packing decision was the last minute inclusion of my heavy fleece (which I wore over a short sleeved t-shirt, a long sleeved t-shirt, and a light fleece -- basically everything in my suitcase.) I think it was around 40 degrees F, but with the wind it definitely felt below freezing.
After making quick lunches at the trail head and grabbing some snacks for the trail, we walked about 3-4 miles along the rim taking in the views and getting scared. My highlight of the day was discovering I wasn't the only one getting out of breath with the altitude. Yippee! I might not be the only slow one! (Does that make me a bad person?)
If you take a close look at the photo above, you can see a trail going out on a point almost exactly in the centre of the photo... well, that's at the half-way point in terms of going downhill in the Canyon. I often wonder how many people who go see the Grand Canyon think that's the bottom. Ha! Of course it's impossible to capture the 5000 foot depth of the canyon in a photo.
After checking into the hotel, and checking out the sunset views of the canyon, we had a nice dinner, got to know each other a little, and prepared for our 6:00 am breakfast the next day....