Grand Canyon - Raleigh to Flagstaff, AZ (5/21/2005)
Andrew and Kristina arrived at my house at 5:30 a.m. By 5:45 we were off to the airport. We were flying America West. The self check-in worked fine. We then got in line for security. Turns out I was selected to get the full blown search. I got pulled out of line and got the pat down, wanding, shoe check,, and luggage check. I actually made it through the screening faster than Andrew and Kristina. So there we sat waiting for the plane. Better safe than sorry. We loaded up on the plane and flew to Phoenix Arizona. The flight was uneventful. We actually got to Phoenix early but had to wait on the tarmac for a gate to open up.
We headed over to Budget and got a car. The drive to Flagstaff took 2 1/2 hours. At Flagstaff we headed downtown and had lunch at a Mexican restaurant. It was Ok, but not great. We wondered around town for an hour or so and then headed to the Radisson to check-in. The hotel is located on the famous Route 66.
With time to kill before our briefing from the guide service, we headed to a park that you could hike around and see Indian cliff dwellings. We took a loop trail that descended down a lot of stairs. At the bottom, the trail did a loop that took us by a number of cliff dwellings. We then had to take the steps out. It was pretty hot today. After the hike we headed back to the hotel.
At 5:30 we went downstairs to the conference room where Canyon Expeditions was going to brief us on the trip. We got a good orientation on how to pack for each day. We will have a waterproof bag that gets loaded on the boat each day. This is for stuff we only need at the end of the day. We were also given purple mesh bags where we would put stuff we would need throughout the day. These would be kept on our rafts. In addition we were given a small daypack to use on hikes. They briefly talked about the hike out. We would be given an extensive briefing on the river. Everyone asked lots of questions and they were all answered. I bought a paddle jacket and some cheap waterproof rain gear (top and bottoms). I debated for a long time if I wanted paddle pants. I ended up not buying then. They were having record heat while we were here. (note: I ended up using the paddle jacket for about 2 hours and wore the rain pants for about an hour one morning.)
We went back upstairs to pack our yellow waterproof bags and purple mesh bags. Latter that night Andrew, Kristina and I went to a diner down the road. We had great hamburgers and shakes at a Diner.
We headed back and it was time to go to sleep. We were getting up early again tomorrow.