Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 19 - Loose Rocks!

After the best nights sleep yet. It's time to say goodbye to Chuck. It's crazy to think that her adventure is over and it means we don't have many days left. It's going to be strange without Chuck. She's such a key part of the team bringing so much energy and character to everything that's been going on. By 9am she's gone! 
Chuck prepares to head on her way

By 10am the morning mountain group return. Antoine's first back he's wrecked. Shattered, dehydrated and severely hungover he collapses into camp. Shortly after the others roll in. Excited and enthused by their stories me, Andy and JB decided its time to go for our own hike. We set off in the midday sun to summit the peak. I haven't really ever done much mountaineering before and what I have has involved me lagging behind not being able to keep up with the groups pace. Today was not like that. Today was brilliant and has really inspired me to get out and do some more. Despite being a super good climber and mountaineer Andy set the perfect pace supporting and encouraging me and JB all the way up the slippery, loose scree and rock strewn peak. 
Ted looks down over the canyon
The route started with a mission up an empty creek, followed by a climb up to the saddle where we stopped for a quick bite of lunch and then a serious scramble/ climb up to the first peak. The views at the saddle are impressive. The views at the top were insane. 360 degrees of canyon beauty. As we sit and take in the views The wind whistles around us pinching Andy's hat and sending it flying of the top. Soon we are on our way again climbing down and across to reach the second peak. It's really spectacular to be at the top of the peak, looking back at where we have been and looking forward to the remaining adventure and few days in the canyon. It's funny as yesterday it seemed like we were reaching the end of the canyon. The walls had got smaller and the valley had opened out as if we were entering the estuary. As we stand at the top of Diamond Peak the reality rings true. We are still 100% defiantly within the canyon. We are just in a small canyon within the Grand Canyon. The adventure  will still go on.

Cactus' everywhere
Claire O and JB cross the ridge at the top of Diamond Peak

Amazing views and wildlife

We start to down climb and haven't gone far when JB shouts. I've found your hat! Not believing him we go and have a look and sure enough there it is sat n a ledge 40 feet below us is the hat. Andy quickly down climbs to grab it. Reuniting with it just above a 1,200 ft drop! 

Ted down climbs from the peak
The rest of the down climb can only be described as 'loose/treturous'. Rocks and stones sliding out all over the place in the loose cactus filled chock field. I'm not sure what was worse the worry of falling down the cliff or slipping and landing on one of the massive cactus's. Eventually we reach the bottom and head back into camp.
Scout catches the guitar as Ted ices his injured head

Chilling under the tarp
Recovering at camp with Diamond Peak in the background
Despite the crazy climbing mission that we have been on and survived unscathed, well except a few cactus pricks and JB's cut finger. We get back to camp to find that Ted's been injured on site. He's currently styling a Clinton style bump and bruise on his forehead thanks to a pretty severe impact with a guitar! Turns out he was sleeping on the beach (common theme for major injuries so far) and scout accidentally knocked the guitar over and clouted him with the tuning keys in the guitar! Later that night Anne is also injured when bit on the foot whilst walking on the beach and scouts supporting a lump where he was sting by a bee on his head. Sometimes I forget we are in the desert! There are a lot of bugs and insects in the canyon. And of course the man eating guitar!

Impressive wildlife and nature