A hike in The Grand Canyon – Part 10 – It’s Over!
The drive back to Flagstaff to drop off Ian “The Welshman”s car, was interesting to say the least! The thing was he was still tired, so Iain and I were concerned about his condition to drive. We had originally booked coach tickets back to the North rim, unfortunately because of the delay getting out of the Canyon, these were no longer valid. The journey to the North rim is 210 miles and takes around 4 hours, then we needed to drive back to Vegas, another 265 miles and 4.5 hours, however we also now needed to go to Vegas via Flagstaff first to take the Welshman’s hire car back – a mere 4 hours detour!
Tensions were a little high in the car, whilst Iain and I had completed every last step of the walk, The Welshman said he was the only one of us that achieved the rim to rim challenge in a day (yeah – by helicopter!) He was actually very lucky he didn’t get charged for the evacuation, it can cost as much as $10,000. As we drove along The Welshman seemed to be struggling and hit the curb on a couple of occasions, Iain asked him if he was OK, or was he tired, he replied he was tired and asked why Iain thought that. Iain’s response was classic “It’s the snoring mate, it gives it away!” that was it, Iain took over the driving and we continued in relative silence.
After picking up our Voyageur from the North rim we continued towards Flagstaff, Iain and I in the Voyageur, The Welshman following behind, he refused to allow me to drive, and I wasn’t about to travel with him. We found somewhere to stop and all went in, I think The Welshman went out for a Denny’s whilst Iain and I just went to our respective rooms with a brief nod of goodnight.
The following morning started another long day of driving, back to Flagstaff and then on to Vegas, the sad thing was that I was having to call the hotels we had booked in Death Valley, we were originally due to go and do some walking there, now we had lost a day in the Canyon and an extra day going back via Flagstaff – that wasn’t going to happen. As we arrived at Flagstaff, the Welshman took his place back in the front of the car and I was sent back to the rear passenger seats, I was cool with this, I actually did some work and put my aching legs u on the back seat, the swelling just would not go down – and they hurt!
On arrival in Vegas we managed to find a hotel and went back to meet Lesley to collect all our luggage, I’m not sure how I kept my cool! The Welshman started telling her all about his evacuation and blaming me for not carrying out the appropriate risk assessments or carrying walkie talkies, I was furious! Two of us had completed the walk, the difference was we had done a lot more training and read up about the challenges we were going to encounter.
I didn’t eat with Iain and Ian that night, we did have a drink in the casino later and the following day Iain and I had to drive the Welshman back to LA airport. We had hoped to pay for a flight for him, or a hire car, so we could go off to Pismo beach and on to see my brother in Sunnyvale – he wasn’t having any of it. Traffic in and out of LA is a nightmare, so Iain and I had to accept that we were now going to have to cancel Pismo beach and stop in LA overnight, it did mean another long drive the next day.
Having parted company with the Welshman, Iain and I headed up to Sunnyvale for a couple of nights with my brother and a night at the Tim McGraw concert – that was my thank you to Iain for accompanying me on the trip.
We flew out of LA the day after the Tim McGraw concert, still stiff, still with sore feet and swollen legs and with a friendship that will never be broken. We pushed ourselves to the limit both physically and mentally, we relied on each other and carried each other. The hike in The Grand Canyon is not one I will ever forget, for many reasons, nor will I ever regret it.
Thank you for reading – THE END
Or is it?! I have written a sequel to mark the fourth anniversary of our trip!