Day 8 out of 13! We were finally in Cottonwood and so happy to be there. We woke up and enjoyed the views of the canyon walls towering over our site while we ate breakfast and had a beautiful camp visitor, seen below. Afterwards, we hiked about another mile and a half to Ribbon Falls. We spent an hour or two exploring the falls before we headed back to camp to start packing for the hike up.
We knew the entire uphill hike was going to be tough, but we didn't know just how much of a toll it would take on us. The hike back out of the Grand Canyon took us 4-5 hours since we were all at different paces, and by the end we were all exhausted. It was no joke.. a few of us had run out of water, a few of us were having some panic attacks about making it out, and some of us may or may not have cried. As I type this I can't help but laugh out loud. I picture our group- exhausted, limping, mad at everything… While trail runners who just ran from the South Rim are literally running past us….and I just smile. Looking back, that was one of the top two hardest hike outs I've ever done. By the end, nobody was speaking, we just wanted to get as far way from that trail as possible. But, we all wouldn't change a thing.
After our 4 hour uphill hike, we went to the nearby Jacobs Lodge for some comfort food to celebrate! We had an amazing dinner which made up for the super slow service, but we didn't mind since we were just happy to be off our feet and inside a warm lodge while it snowed outside- and the whole lodge was extremely busy come dinner time. 45 miles from the rim itself, Jacobs Lodge is often referred to as the Gateway to the North Rim. It is one of the only places in the area to offer food and lodging, as well as a small convenience store, ice cream, and bakery. So, you can imagine how excited we were to get ice cream and cookies after dinner!
Since the service was that slow at Jacobs Lodge, it kind of altered our evening plans. While we said goodbye to Kim and Alex at the lodge (they were packing up to head to Sedona then Vegas for their flight home), we were planning on driving to Page, AZ that night. Our original plan was to arrive in Page and camp on public land in Marble Canyon. However, by the time we got to Page, it was pitch black. We were doing everything we could to find the public land, but there weren’t any signs like there were in Utah. We found a closed gate that simply unlatched and opened, but we weren't sure if our van could make it down the rough roads- and since we couldn't see much, we decided to not to risk driving down what could be private land.
We ended up paying for the last room at the Marble Canyon Lodge. This place was something, let me tell ya! It looked like the deserted buildings you see on the side of Route 66, complete with buzzing, neon lighted signs and Native American crafts being sold outside. So, we crammed 6 people into a small room with one bed, and we felt like we were living the life! We all took showers, washed our clothes in the sink, set up our sleeping bags on the floor, and tucked in for the night. The next day, we were waking up before the sun so we could try and see Horseshoe Bend with out a crowd of people blocking our view.