and several unexpected twists and turns later...
Touring Peru: No. Solo camping and biking in Pennsylvania: No. Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology: No. BUT...finally, after several setbacks in just the past two weeks, Jesse's vacation plans have taken a step forward. I am now the proud owner of two airline reservations to Phoenix and back at the end of the month. This should serve to lock in the Grand Canyon expedition -- which, by the way, was also on the fritz at one point but was resurrected after God showed mercy toward me and provided at least one travel partner and maybe more. See, there really is something to that perseverance in the face of adversity stuff.
So, since I don't really feel like typing many details of my trip and I've already done that once -- actually several times if one includes the Creeping Death planning forum -- here's the itinerary as dreamed up by me last night and emailed to a friend.* Feel free to plagiarize parts of this for your own trip to the GC, since it's so cool everyone is required to go at some point in his or her life.
The trip will turn out to be a little longer and a lot more expensive than I had initially planned for -- the latter mainly due to the fact that there are less people going than I had envisioned -- but I can live with that. I just need a good vacation. Now.
So, without further ado...
Tuesday, May 22nd
* Possibly spend Monday night in Baltimore due to the details in the next line.
* BWI -> PHX on Southwest, depart 6:45 am (ouch?), arrive 8:55 am, $568 for two tickets.
* Pick up rental car at terminal -- compact, $170/wk.
* Drive to Flagstaff (150 mi, 2h18m).
* Lunch in Flagstaff.
* Drive to Williams (35 mi, 35m).
* Motel 6 in Williams, $51.
* Get to sleep early, 8-9 pm.
[Based on this itinerary, we'd have a lot more flex time to work with than I thought. Might need to look for stuff to do in Flagstaff.]
Wednesday, May 23rd
* Up super early, ~4 am.
* Drive to Grand Canyon Village (59 mi, 1h25min).
* Check in at ranger station (permits already purchased for $100 total), park, shuttle to trailhead, etc.
(not sure how the shuttle works, need to check details here)
* Hopefully be on trail by 6 am or shortly after.
(this should give us plenty of time for a leisurely hike in and still get us off the trail and into the canyon before the midday heat starts)
* Hike to Bright Angel Campground via South Kaibab Trail (7.3 mi).
* Set up camp.
* Hang out in Grand Canyon, hike short trails, recover, etc.
[Most of the day will hopefully be spent in the canyon getting a feel for basic stuff.]
Thursday, May 24th
* Hang out in Inner Canyon, swim if allowed (or chances of being seen are slim) and if nuts won't freeze off in ice-cold water, explore Inner Canyon trails, place fireworks at inconspicuous locations throughout canyon, etc.
Friday, May 25th
* Tear down camp.
* Explore some more in Inner Canyon if time allows.
* Hike up to Indian Garden Campground via Bright Angel Trail (4.7 mi, halfway up trail).
* Set up camp.
* Explore around Plateau Point (1.5 mi from IGC via Plateau Point Trail) if time allows.
[I don't think there's much to do at the upper campground so we'll probably want to stay down in the canyon for a while and then fight the heat going up, as suicidal as that sounds. And yes, the camping in two different spots thing kinda sucks time-wise, but it pretty much has to work that way -- especially since that's what the permits say.]
Saturday, May 26th
* Up early enough to see sunrise from Plateau Point (?).
* Tear down camp.
* Hike out via Bright Angel Trail (4.6 mi to South Rim).
* Shuttle back to car (I think), leave Grand Canyon.
* Drive to Grand Canyon West/Hualapai Reservation (242 mi, 4h35m), $25 entry fee.
(info taken from www.destinationgrandcanyon.com)
* Walk on Skywalk, another $50 so $75 total. OUCH
* Other activities at GCW if time allows.
* Drive to Flagstaff (216 mi, 3h50m).
* Motel 6 in Flagstaff, $69.
[Will likely get in late because of all the driving, but we don't have anything on our slate for tomorrow.]
Sunday, May 27th
* Hiking & rock scrambling on red rocks at Sedona (?).
* Sleep at Best Western Inn of Tempe, $59 per Orbitz.
[This day is pretty much wide open. The red rocks are awesome and I've only been able to spend a few hours there, but it could also be very hot and there's not a lot of shade from what I remember. Probably need to do some research to figure out what to do here.]
Monday, May 28th
PHX -> BWI, depart 10:55 am, arrive 6:25 pm.
* It's worth noting that this friend had promptly responded before I arrived at work this morning. I am completely not used to that sort of thing when it comes to organizing trips with others. Good travel partners are in astoundingly short supply these days it seems, but I have perhaps found a second one out here.