John and I had a great start to the weekend, but as you probably guessed from the (very) obvious blog post title, our weekend ended with a major hiccup. (Be forewarned, this is a very long post.)
We decided that we were going to go camping for the weekend at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon... so we did just that! I took a vacation day on Friday, and John took a half day of work so that we could get up there before dark. To get to the north rim, you have to drive all the way around the Grand Canyon and back down (which adds an extra three hours to the trip).
When we finally got there, we got settled and went straight to bed to wake up early the next morning for the opening weekend of blue grouse hunting. John said that grouse hunting is sometimes referring to as "walking around in the woods with a shotgun," which is pretty much what we did the first day - but let me tell you, it was absolutely beautiful! The aspen leaves are already starting to change colors!
We were in the Kaibab National Forest, which bordered the national park. The scenery was gorgeous, and the weather was in the low to mid sixties... it was glorious. Although Scout didn't find any birds, she did a really great job "pounding the pavement." I enjoy watching Scout run around, and man can that girl run forever.
Once we were done looking for grouse, we decided to go check out the sights at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Our campground was actually in the national park, which was super fun. The North Rim is absolutely beautiful... the South Rim (where everyone goes) is also breathtaking, but the north rim is extra forested, the rocks are bolder colors, and it is literally empty - no one is there because it is so hard to get to (the north rim even closes in October due to all of the snow).
We headed back to the campground, made a fire, and grilled some hot dogs and s'mores. We were worried about Scout being around the campground, but she actually did great! Although she did quickly learn that, at the camp ground, all she needs to do is bark and we will come running... Oh well.
The next morning we planned to go out to do a little more grouse hunting and then head back to Scottsdale. We didn't see any birds, but just as we were getting ready to finish up because it started to rain, Scout found a covey! We were so proud of her, and I couldn't believe she did it! The rain started to get heavy so I decided I was going to head back to the car as John finished up with Scout.
We were hunting in an alpine meadow, and all I had to do was head straight up through the forest and I would run into the car - about a half mile, no problem. I started walking and the rain started coming down pretty hard and it started hailing. I was concerned that I was walking too much to the right, so I started walking more left. I was getting a bit turned around, but figured all I needed to do was run into the old logging road, and then I could just walk to road back down to where we parked.
At this point, I had been walking for a ways and still didn't run into the road, and I was started to get worried because I couldn't retrace my steps. I was screaming for John, but knew there was no way he could hear me over the pounding rain and hail. So, I had the brilliant idea of running to what looked like the nearest clearing, which was not a clearing, and then the next clearing, which was not a clearing. The problem was that the trees were so high and thick that I literally could not see more than 20 feet in front of me.
I was starting to panic, and turned on my cell phone to call 911. My phone would go from no service to one tiny little bar depending on where I was, so I kept walking to try and find service. I called 911 seven times (and my mom once, ha), and not surprisingly, none of my calls went through. At this point, I had been wandering for over an hour, and there was no way I was finding my way out. I finally got to the edge of what looked like a clearing, and it turned out to be a massive canyon - the Grand Canyon.
Lots of people get helicoptered out of the Grand Canyon, so I decided I would just wait until mountain rescue came to get me... which I thought could be awhile, since I had the keys to the car, and I had no idea if John had even figured out what happened to me yet. I had a whistle and my throat was unbelievably sore from screaming - so I decided to sit under a tree to get out of the rain and wait.
After another hour, I heard the most glorious noise ever - my husband very faintly screaming my name. I have never ever screamed so hard in my life, and after about 30 minutes, he was able to find me - I will be eternal grateful to see his handsome face. It took us about 45 minutes to get back out, and we came out from the absolutely opposite direction from where I thought I was. MY MUSCLES ARE SO SORE.
Moral of the story... we are getting a GPS ASAP, walkie talkies, and I need a little break from the outdoors. BUT, all in all - I could not be ANY happier that my husband found me (obviously)... and thank God this all happened at 10am and not 4pm, when it could have started to get dark out...