A hike in The Grand Canyon – Part 8 – We made it – Now what?!
Having got out of the Canyon around 10.30pm, Iain and I were faced with the dilemma of trying to find somewhere to stay, we had no idea where to go, but eventually stumbled across two very nice ladies who offered to show us the way to Bright Angel Lodge- I swear it was another miles walk – I felt every step, and worse it was cold! My tee shirt was still damp from wetting it earlier, but now we were out of the Canyon the temperature had dropped considerably.
We arrived at Bright Angel Lodge, Iain approached the front desk, at this point we really didn’t care about the cost of any rooms and had even agreed that if the only room available was a twin it really didn’t matter, we just needed sleep! I couldn’t believe the service from the reception, all the lodges are interlinked on one computer system and Iain was soon told that we could have the rooms we had booked and already paid for for the Monday night at Maswik Lodge – at no additional cost! I don’t think we would have got that in the UK!
We asked for directions to Maswik Lodge, although I think it is fair to say that at this point there was only one thing on Ian’s mind – he wanted to phone Val. So before we left reception, Iain managed to get a signal and Skyped Val – that was when we discovered that Ian was fine, had been let out of hospital and announced on Social Media that he was out and we were still in the Canyon! Oh dear Va had had a night of worrying and so many messages asking if we were alright. Fortunately another BNI member in the States had made contact with Val, and Val had been able to let her know that we had been in contact with my brother and we were both safe. At least we knew that Ian was safe and been discharged from hospital – not that we knew where he was!
It turned out that Maswik Lodge was about half a mile away – good news there was a bus! Iain and I walked out into the cold night air and went to wait for a bus, I think e was ready to sleep in the bus shelter at this point! I was just cold. The bus arrived after what seemed like hours – it was only a few minutes and we climbed aboard, so grateful for a seat! The driver, a lovely lady chatted to us as we started to recount our story – yes we had just walked the Grand Canyon – North Rim to South Rim – we were heroes! As we approached the stop for Maswik Lodge we realised we had a slight problem, we had sat down! Already both of us were suffering with aching limbs, standing back up was hard. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry when the driver offered to lower the disabled access to enable us to get off the bus – we just accepted gratefully!
On entering Maswik Lodge we found yet another great receptionist, he issued us with keys, confirmed there would be no further charge and gave us directions to our rooms. “Go straight out of the main entrance, across the two parking lots, follow the road down past two blocks and you are situated in the third block on the first floor. Stairs are at either end of the block” He had to be kidding! Unfortunately he wasn’t!
We slowly hobbled across the car parks, down the road and up to the block of rooms, those stairs were the hardest I have ever climbed, I don’t know how we didn’t rip the bannister off as we hauled ourselves up the stairs one painful step at a time. The rooms were side by side, we said goodnight and went our separate ways.
I remember getting into the room, stripping off and looking at the shower – I didn’t have the energy. I made a coffee, took two co-codamol and climbed into bed. Every part of my body hurt and my legs and feet were so painful I did not know where to put them, I cried, I had done it, I had achieved my dream, I, Michele Ibbs had walked The Grand Canyon North Rim to South Rim at the age of fifty! I slept!