Monday, January 16, 2012

Flat Iron, Superstition Mountain, Lost Dutchman State Park

On New Years Eve we like to do something physically challenging to end/start the year. Plus with the 70 degree weather down in AZ we were trying to spend every waking hour outdoors.  This year we met up with my parents and uncle Gail and his posse for the quad busting, rock scrambling, steep pitch to the top of the Flat Iron.  Only 2.5 miles to the top, but one of the hardest 2.5 miles of your life.  We have completed this hike 3 times before, but this was by far the hardest for me.  Maybe being 21 weeks pregnant had something to do with it. . . nah.

It was a glorious day with clear sky views of 4 peaks, Usery Mountains, Mt. Lemon, Gold Canyon, and the entire valley of the sun.  By far the highlight of our trip to AZ.  And anytime you end the day with dinner at Mattas, you can call it good.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Christmas Backpacking Trip, Grand Canyon National Park

In keeping with tradition the Rasmussen's embarked on another Christmas adventure on our way down to AZ to spend the holidays with the Nevitts.  This year we decided on backpacking through the Grand Canyon.  Although I grew up in AZ, I have never been to the GC, and we both agreed that if we were to backpack in December we better go somewhere not buried in snow. 

We drove down from Utah on Monday and pulled into the Rim Village after dark.  We checked into the Bright Angel Lodge cabins for the night and enjoyed HUGE burgers at the lodge restaurant.  It was a great "last meal" before descending into the canyon the next day.  The stars on the rim were breathtaking and we both had trouble sleeping that night because it was "too quite". 

Day one found us taking the shuttle buses out to the South Kiabab Trailhead.  We chatted on the ride with a family that had three little girls who had already been on several backpacking trips and foreign country adventures with their parents.  It was reassuring to us that we can still include our children in our many adventurous hobbies and continue our adventures as a family.

We strapped on our yactracks since the first few miles of the trail were icy.  The fridged temps on the rim warmed quickly as we got moving and dropped elevation fast.  There were more backpackers on the trail than we anticipated, that was reassuring to us that we weren't going to be the only crazies camped down by the river in December.  We chatted with all the hikers we passed and made friends with a park ranger who was booking it down the trail. We dropped over 5,000 feet in elevation in less than 8 miles the first day, so by the time we hit the river our quads were ready to make camp and relax.

We camped in the Bright Angel Campground near Phantom Ranch.  Campground was about 2/3 full. After a traditional meal of dehydrated re-fried bean burritos, we relaxed in the tent, listening to Sherlock Holmes on tape and munching on a candy bar.  AMAZING first day.

 Day 2 we headed up the Bright Angel trail to the Indian Garden campground.  It is about a 5 mile jaunt up canyon.  After making camp in Indian Garden we headed out for a 3 mile side trip to plateau point.  We got back to camp just before dark in time to make some tomato pesto chicken pasta.  Nice dinner before retiring to the tend for what we knew would be the coldest night of our trip.

Day three we packed up camp in 20 degree weather and headed up the final 5 miles to the rim to complete our trip.  I felt sick that morning and ended up throwing up my breakfast.  Pregnancy is fun.  It was quite a hike out the last few thousand feet of the canyon on no breakfast, but we made do.  We were pretty amazed at how fit we felt the whole trip.  I was worried that being 20 weeks pregnant may be hard carrying the big pack, but I felt great the whole time.  I can't wait to get back to the GC next Fall when we are planning on running the canyon Rim-to-rim-to-rim in a day.  44 miles!

At the rim we gratefully set the packs in the car and headed down to Queen Creek. We were pretty dang sore by day 3.  I puked about 8 times between Flagstaff and QC, but what can you do? When baby Ras feels like making me suffer she does not hold back!