The connection situation hasn't improved. As such, I will have to create this entry in pieces.
The day began as I awoke to the phenomenal snoring of my travel companions, my younger brother and my father, at 4:33am. Unable to sleep, I quietly removed myself from the room to go for a walk, dressing warmly and bringing my camera along. Outside hung a beautiful reddish moon, piercing through the cloudy darkness. The canyon was too dark for the nighttime picture I hoped for, so instead I focused on the spectacular moon. To my disappointment none of the manual settings I tried, nor the exceptional automatic setting, could render it as anything but a non-descript orb surrounded by darkness. Defeated, I returned to my room just after the moon sank below at treeline an hour later. At least the snoring had stopped and was able to get back to bed.
The real day began when we awoke around 9 (hey, this IS a vacation) and before long (well, an hour and a half later) we went for breakfast. I had a delightful set of pancakes, bacon, and sausages as we discussed how massive the stack of 3 pancakes was and planned the day.
The plan was to go on a warm-up trek. something to get our bodies ready for the long trail and to find our pace. There is a perfect, simple trail for this that follows along the rim and (mostly) parallels the road the tour buses travel. If the trails we are to go on later this week are Grand Canyon beginner's trails, then this would be what hikers call LOLITS trails. That is, trails for little old ladies in tennis shoes.
The trail follows the old hermit road along the rim. It is dotted with lots of nice rest spots, fantastic views, and if you find yourself tired, you need only continue just a bit further to find one of the many tour bus stops it intersects with and take a ride back. The trail itself has very mild inclines where it isn't flat, and is even paved in some sections. Perfect for warming up. We set out with minimal packs, some snacks, and gear.
The 6 miles we did went by without incident, save for a time where I found myself with a full bladder and a mile between me and the nearest restroom. That mile fell under foot exceptionally quickly! The cess-pit style restroom was about the half way point of the journey. From there, the trail became a bit rougher, but by no means difficult. Honestly, the only reason it took as many hours as it did was because I would stop us every few feet to snap a few more pictures. There are over 200 photos and counting.
As the trail reaches its end, the stops get farther apart. We chose not to exert ourselves to greatly and ultimately hitched a ride to the end from 2 stops away. At the end of the trail/tour bus line lays a lovely little gift shop selling most the same things as the other gift shops that dot the national park, still more sublime vistas , and the beginning of another hiking trail.
It was all done by 3 pm. As it would happen, we would end up walking about 10 miles total today. Almost all of those additional 4 miles were from trying to find a dinning place before accidentally finding ourselves back at the same one we had breakfast and the previous dinner at.
The only other notible event of the day was when I found myself in an art gallery shortly after the hike. Along with gorgeous works of art, it had an exceptional selection of books for sale. knowing my methodical and selective nature, my companions happily accepted my invitation to abandon me there to my deliberations. After a while, I selected two books. One a weighty compilation of art of national parks and the other, titled Tricksters, a compilation of graphic novels themed around local native cultural stories of trickster spirits like the well known coyote archetype.
Tomorrow is expected to be less eventful as we prep for our trek and do a bit of sightseeing by bus. I doubt it will warrant a post. The day after that I disappear from the grid as I descend into the canyon and emerge again the day after to collapse into bed. I am likewise looking to get to bed now, if only the surround sound snoring would stop!