Saturday, October 22, 2016

My Grand Canyon Backpacking Trip was Fantastic!

The title says it all but here are some pictures too.  Everything turned out really well.  It was a geology "class" with the Grand Canyon Field Institute, led by 2 guides and with 8 students.  I prepared my food as described in my previous post.  I had two 16-oz water bottles that I filled with my dehydrated food (75 g each, or about 2.5 oz) and water.  I did this after each meal and then started snacking on the first bottle an hour or two later.  I snacked on the bottles and on my seed mixture (hemp, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin and a touch of salt) all day long.  I probably ate at most 1/8 tsp of salt in a day from the seeds, but I put so little salt on the entire bag I think it was quite a bit less.  So I think most of my salt just came from the natural foods, proving that you don't need to add much, if any salt, even in the desert. Our main guide told us at the beginning that we should eat lots of junk food and salty foods. One of the other students said she wasn't used to all the salt she was eating and I wonder if that's why she had swollen feet during most of the trip.   Everyone else ate those packaged backpacking meals where you boil water and then add it to a foil package.  They generated so much garbage that they had to pack out.  I didn't!  Also their food didn't look appetizing.  They made fun of me but I'm sure my food tasted better than anyone else's.  It was sweet thanks to the butternut squash and sweet potatoes.  And it was cool and refreshing with all the water that was added to it.  And I didn't have to carry the extra weight of a stove.  It was brilliant if I do say so myself.

And the trip was great and I was in great shape and had no trouble.  I was so relieved because I was nervous about how I would do.  I practically bounded up the canyon on the last day, in my excitement to reunite with my partner at the top.  I'd love to do this again and be more relaxed instead of nervous about whether I'd packed the right things and how my food would turn out and how I would do physically.  Here are some pictures:

Heading down from the North Rim on the North Kaibab Trail:

Relaxing at Cottonwood Campground on the first night:

The amazing Ribbon Falls, a sacred site for the Zuni Indians.

 Heading into the box Canyon as we approach Phantom Ranch at the bottom.

The mighty Colorado River, where I took a bath

It was cold!

Hiking out on Day 4.  We had an awesome hike on Day 3.

Our guide's favorite rock in the entire Grand Canyon:

Our campground on Day 4, the last night.  We huddled around the tree after the first rainstorm, then had another huge one that led to beautiful waterfalls off the Redwall cliffs and a flash flood very close to our campsite!

The start of thunderstorm #2, right when my camera battery died.


Anonymous said...


This is great!!! I'm so glad to hear that your dehydrated food worked out so well. Very inspiring. Nice that you can buy everything already dehydrated.
I follow a woman (online) who does a lot of long distance hiking and she eats junk the whole way. Every time she has her period she gets totally wiped out for 2 days. I can't help but think that she would feel better if she ate better. I used to have monthly "down times" but once I cleaned up my eating, I don't have any adverse symptoms at all. Your experience is a good testimony to how successful good eating can be.
Also good to know about the salt myth. Did you notice that you had to carry less water than others? I've often wondered about that since I know I drink much less water in regular life with the reduced salt intake.
Thanks for sharing!!

kneecap said...

Hi Kristi, so good to hear from you. Yes, I think your friend would feel better if she ate better! All of the symptoms from my hormonal cycles went away when I cleaned up my eating. and I do think I needed less water than others. I didn't have to rehydrate all the snacks and dried fruit, and didn't have salt-induced thirst, just normal thirst.

trish said...

Beautiful pictures! Glad it went really are an inspiration! Thank you!