Tag Archives: Hike

The Grand Canyon: Part II: Sunrise

The alarm buzzed at 4.30am. It was way too early for me or any other normal human being for that matter. It was -10 degrees C outside and the bed seemed like the strongest magnet. The only thing that managed to pull me out of bed was that image of the sun rising before the Canyon. And I knew that I had to see it with my own eyes.

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We left our lodge at 5.15am. We had already decided the night before to head to Hopi Point, one of the two best places to catch the sunrise (the other is Yaki point). Even though we had a car, we had to use their shuttle services as cars were only allowed up to a certain point.

The problem was that while we knew the shuttle bus comes every 15 minutes, we didn’t know how long it would take to get to Hopi Point. So, we had to catch the earliest bus in order to get there before 6.46am (time of sunrise).

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We wasted quite a bit of time looking for the bus stop (there was nobody around, perhaps it was too early).

Finally, after quite a bit of walking, I saw a flickering light in the distance, about 1KM away. I jumped and started running towards it, before fully processing what I had seen. As I approached the light, true enough, it was the bus! I started sprinting because it was already close to 6am. I didn’t come all the way to miss the sunrise. When I made it to the door of the bus, it closed before me but I managed to wave frantically at the driver (my parents thanked me for my legs -Haha!). He was a nice man who was very welcoming. My family was not even within sight at that time but he waited patiently. Luckily, there was only one other couple on the bus. I wouldn’t want a bus load of death stares (for holding them up) that early in the morning.

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The bus ride lasted 10 minutes. We got off at Hopi Point. It was pitched black and there was no one in sight. The lady at the lobby was right about how you would see 12 people during sunrise and 1,200 people during sunset.

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Waiting impatiently.

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The Canyon’s depth, only one can imagine.

The wind was howling and there was no windshield. The thought of having to wait exactly 36 minutes for the sun to rise sent chills down my spine, literally. The bitter, bone-piercing cold was almost unbearable. I couldn’t feel my fingers or my toes.

I killed time and kept warm by doing multiple sets of jump squats, jump lunges and mini sprints up and down along the canyon edge. It worked though, for awhile.

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Thankfully at 6.46am sharp, the sun peeked over the horizon.

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I watched as the fiery ball of flame rose slowly, lighting up the dull morning sky. *Cue The Lion King’s theme song* BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

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With each passing minute, the colours of the Canyon wall changed from rocky-brown to a harmonious combination of red, yellow and orange. The sight of the Canyon grew more vivid as streaks of light continued to illuminate every corner of the Canyon wall.

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Sunrise jumpshot!

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It was so beautiful. I was so taken by the sunrise that the cold didn’t bother me anymore. We waited a little longer for the sun to climb higher into the sky. As the grey sky began to fade, the blue sky took over slowly, glazed with hues of red and orange.

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Excuse me while I run to keep warm.

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After shivering in the cold for over an hour, we were famished. We fueled up at Bright Angel Lodge before driving back to Yavapai Lodge.

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Buttermilk pancakes!

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Protein!

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And more protein!

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Somewhere along Bright Angel Trail.

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The stance.

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The jump! Truly the BEST birthday gift that nature had to offer. Everything else from here would be “MEHHHHHHHHH!”. This should make everyone’s bucket list.

With every sunrise comes a SUNSET

NEXT UP!

…..wait for it….

Trail Running to welcome 2014!

Happy New Year! 2013 came, left its mark and left. Time to welcome 2014 with open arms!

How did ya’ll spend your New Years Eve?

It was a little different for me this year. I mean last year. I was partying with my family and brothers and sisters in Christ. My church decided to bring back the “watch-night” service tradition and this year it was held in MCKL.

We had a lovely Northern Indian meal before the service. It was so good. Naan bread and CURRY. Not too shabby for my last meal of the year.

The service was a good time of sharing, singing and a gentle reminder to always be grateful and thankful to God for his providence. After the final countdown and some fireworks, we headed home. The night ended with cake, junk food, chocolates and movies.

Somewhere in between cake and movies, I decided that I wanted to kick-start the new year with some sort of adventure. Kevin suggested trail running. He was partially joking but I was dead serious. I packed and went to bed.

5 hours later, we found ourselves heading towards Perting Valley, located somewhere off Bukit Tinggi Kampung. Kevin had been there several times so we had no trouble in finding the place.

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When we arrived, we parked our car at a designated parking spot which was by a river. We could have opted to drive further in before the real trekking trail began but we decided that we would run in instead (partly for the exercise, and partly because the condition of the “road” would’ve wreaked havoc on the car’s undercarriage). We slipped on our Vibrams and off we went.

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Before the ‘real’ trekking trail.

We started at half past 12. By then the sun was already shining, blazing in its full glory. Thankfully, we didn’t feel the heat. The thick forest canopy and river kept the air crisp and relatively cool.  When we finally hit the trail, we took it slow. The beginning of the trail was rocky and then muddy followed by a mixture of both. We stopped along the way to fiddle with the camera and to take a few photos.

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Paracord bracelet-CHECKED!

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And the trail running begins!

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Weird creature alert!

According to Kevin, the trail had been transformed by nature’s worst enemy, humans. The lush, thick ferns that lined part of the trail were no longer there. Everything had been flattened or chopped away. Once a single track barely wide enough in places for a single man to pass through, the trail was now wide enough for a truck to navigate. It was sad that I didn’t get a chance to run this trail before somebody decided to widen it for vehicles. Nonetheless, it was fun. Hopping and skipping around to avoid sinking into the mushy mud.

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Muddy Mud Mud.

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50 minutes later, we hit the turn-off point to Lata Hammer (Hammer Falls). It was a steep hike-climb down to our final destination – the waterfall. We had to cross the river to get to the sandy flat area where people could set up tents or picnic mats. It was pretty crowded – I guess it was because today was a public holiday.

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Jungle Selfie!

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Hmmmm!

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Weird creature on the rocks.

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We found an empty spot and laid our mat. We quickly settled in and started digging into the snacks that we had brought along. We also started a fire on a home-made stove to boil some water.

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GRUB!

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Boiling water with self-built stove.

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Just chillin’.

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Milo + Nescafe = Neslo!

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Bubblin’!

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Feet up!

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Some of the things that you might need for a hike/climb/picnic or just junk you’d like to carry along. I’ll call them “The Essentials”.

So here’s a list:

-Backpacks (hopefully they’re waterproof!). If not, you could always get what’s next on the list…

– Dry packs
– Flash lights
– Knives, parangs, penknives, pocketknives, Swiss Army knives
– Rope, paracord bracelet (never know when you need some ROPE!)
– Food (bring food that is easy to carry and prepare ie: canned tuna, bread, sneakers, trail mix)
– Mini stove (Kevin made his own), SPORK (as the name suggest, its a spoon AND a fork)
– Fuel to start a fire, lighter
– A good pair of shoes (would be best if it’s waterproof)
– First Aid Kit
– A whistle (just in case you get lost)
– Camera
– WATER!

I guess that’s the end of the list! Hoohaa!

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We chilled and relaxed for a good 2 hours. The sky was still bright and clear but we wanted to get an early start back. We packed up and hiked-ran back out to our car.

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Crossing the bridge back to reality.

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FUN TIMES!

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WHOAAAA!

We took about 40 minutes with a few stops to take photos and to attend to the wound I sustained when I brushed my arm against some dangling branches.

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On the way home, we bought some durians for the family.

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Trail running, hiking, picnic, waterfall, spending time with Kevin, nature, peace and quiet, a time for reflection……

It was indeed the best way to kick-start the new year! Doing what we love to do.

Hello 2014!