2001 Grand Canyon Journal

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June 17 (Written by Mike Petroziello)
The troop left from John's house at 8:20 a.m. for Trinity United Methodist Church in Kansas.  Three vehicles were used to transport the group: the 12 passenger Troop 325 van and trailer, the Gardner's minivan and the Adams' minivan (pitch hitting for the recently totaled Temple minivan).  It was a pretty uneventful day.  In the troop van there were no problems and everyone seemed to get along fine. In the Gardner's van there was music listening and arguing.  In The Van we watched six movies.  Cast away, What Women Want, Mallrats, The Legend of Bagger Vance, and Whipped.  We reached the Indiana border at 8:52 a.m. and hit the Illinois border at 11:37 a.m.  One hour and eight minutes later we stopped for lunch at a nice rest area.  Ryan B. said he would give Gregg a dollar if he ate a whole can of easy cheese.  Gregg succeeded, but feared future constipation.  We stopped at the St. Louis Arch at 3:14 p.m.  We had enough time to get out and see the arch up close.  A few scouts had a race to see who could touch the arch first.  (Important side note: Every time that we stopped every one gets in large circle to play hackey sack.)  We stopped for a fast food dinner with half the group eating at McDonald's while the other half went to Taco Bell.  Those who went to Taco Bell missed seeing a girl trying to get free food from an older gentleman.  We finally reached the Kansas border at 9:05 p.m. and reached the Trinity United Methodist Church at 12:24 p.m.  In an effort to burn up a little bit of stored up energy, John made the scouts line up and run to a shed at the end of the church parking lot and back.  He told them that the last three to return had to run it again.  The three slowest Scouts (Andrew, Matt, and Ryan A) were given a head start.  However, these three were still the last to finish since Matt and Andrew ran the wrong way and Ryan A. chose to walk instead of run.  We entered the air conditioned church and threw our sleeping bags on the floor for the night.  We all drifted off to sleep to the sound of Gregg's snoring.

June 18 (Written by Mike Petroziello)
Today we had a breakfast of bagels and juice.  If at the end of this trip, any of us are still eating bagels, I will be surprised.  We left at 8:07 a.m. today and will be riding through Kansas for most of the day.  In the Adams' van, Gregg and Mike decided to begin watching the entire first season of the Sopranos.  We stopped for lunch at a local park at 1:18 p.m.  We tried to make it quick so that we can get to the Air Force base by 10:00 p.m.   The lunch was bagel sandwiches, some chips and salsa, and some cookies.  The park bathrooms were closed, but a member of the friendly neighborhood law enforcement community decided to unlock it for us.  We were back on the road by 1:50 p.m.  We made a stop at the 325 mile marker for a group picture.  Just before 8:00 p.m. we stopped at a rest area for dinner.  We had beef stroganoff, corn, and applesauce.  Amazingly there were no bagels.  Allan cut open his big toe while playing hackey sack.  Back on the road, the Adam's van continued to watch the Sopranos while the other two vans listened to music, talked or read books. We reached the Kirtland Air Force Base at 11:20 p.m.  We drove to the gym, unloaded our equipment and set up our beds on the gym floor. Another troop was also staying in the gym.  We started to play basketball.  Gregg made his behind the back shot and the Dr. J. hook shot from half court.  We finally made it to bed and it was pretty hot inside there.  The other troop got quite loud during the night since their adult supervision was sleeping in another room. Gregg decided to move to move outside where it was much, much cooler, but returned when he heard a pack of wild coyotes nearby.

June 19 (Written by Mike Petroziello)
John got us up at 5:15 a.m. since we had to be out of the gym by 6:00 a.m.  We went to the base dining hall and breakfast was very tasty.  We were able to get fountain drinks and juices, milk and yogurt, cereal, omelets, French toast, biscuits and gravy, and hash browns.  All and all it was pretty good.  Our hostess was very nice and friendly.  After breakfast we got underway.  Gregg and Mike finally finished the last of the first season of the Sopranos.  At lunch we stopped at one of the lookouts at Petrified Forest State Park.  The view was beautiful and you could see forever.  At one of the lookouts you could see petroglyphs from Newspaper Rock.  We had salsa and chips and just regular sandwiches with bread not bagels, as well as bug juice.  We stopped pretty quickly to check out some pronghorn antelopes.  We then took a hike through a huge area containing hundreds of pieces of petrified trees.  We then traveled to meteor crater.  It was incredible!  The crater was 550 feet deep and almost a mile across.  The meteor hit with the force of 15 million tons of TNT and sent debris flying for a couple miles around.  We then began our drive to Ten X campsite.  About halfway there, Jeff radioed the van and asked us if we wanted to go past the Ten X camp site and go straight to the canyon for an evening viewing.  Everyone voted to go to the canyon. It is huge!  The view was amazing.  It also gave us somewhat of an idea of what we will be backpacking. After we left the canyon, we went back to the campsite and had dinner.  John Walsh (former Troop 325 alumni) arrived soon thereafter.  He would be joining us on our backpacking trip.  He did the same trip in 1985 with the troop and was excited about doing it again with us.  Dinner was pretty darned good.  We had Fetuccini Alfredo, peas, fruit and bug juice.  After dinner we just sat around or went to bed.

June 20 (Written by Mike Petroziello)
Everybody woke up around 5:00 a.m. except for Mike who crawled out of bed at 8:00 a.m.  This caused him to miss breakfast by two hours.  At around 9:00 a.m. we left to go to the rafting trip in Page, Arizona.  We reached Paige at 1:00 p.m. and got our tickets for the rafts.  We got everything ready for lunch.  We went inside, looked around and bought some stuff and put on sunscreen.  We finally left for the place where we would be rafting.  As we got closer to the sight we had to go through a two-mile tunnel.  Along the way there was 19 large holes in the wall which were used to get rid of rubble during the construction of the tunnel.  When we got there we had to walk from the drop off site to the rafts.  We had to wear hard hats because there is a bridge about 700 feet above our heads and people like to throw stuff off of it.  When we finally got into the raft we enjoyed a nice leisurely trip.  We learned that in 1983 that the river was about 20 feet higher.  Our guide's name is Curtis and he was very friendly.  He had us all write our names down in his log book and write a small note to one of his friends who thought that we would be staying there.  When we found out that his friends were girls we were tried to be accommodating.  When we finally left we had a nice bus ride back with a driver that we could not understand a word that he said.  We got back to the vans at 6:35 p.m. and started the long drive back to camp.  The crew in the Gardner van watched for highway crosses (representing highway deaths at that location) and counted sixty-two. Soon after entering Grand Canyon National Park, we saw a mountain lion cross the road and disappear into the woods.  This was pretty exciting since none of us had ever seen one in the wild before.  We returned to camp at 9:44 p.m. and Gregg started preparing dinner while Crew 2 began packing their backpacks for tomorrow's trek.  Steve Adams had also arrived.  He had flown to Arizona and drove a rental car to Ten-X campground.  Brian, Andrew and Michael M. approached John walsh and tried to get him to reveal the secret comeback to John Combs' question, "Does your face hurt?" Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful.  After dinner and cleanup everyone headed to bed.

June 21
Crew 1 (Written by John Combs)
Crew two's wakeup call was a brain shattering 3:45 a.m.  This was necessary so they could catch the 5:00 a.m. backpacker's bus.  They quickly gathered their gear, ate their breakfast, loaded into the vans and were on the road by 4:20 a.m.  As we got to the group campsite gate, Mike Petroziello realized he had forgotten his hiking hat.  John Walsh drove him back to the campsite to retrieve it and caught up with the van caravan before it had reached the Grand Canyon entrance station.  We got to Maswik Lodge (the backpacker's pickup location) at 4:45 a.m.  The backcountry trail shuttle, almost overflowing with day hikers, arrived at 5:00 a.m.  We squeezed our bodies and our backpacks onto the bus.  Upon arrival, we walked a short distance to the South Kaibab Trailhead.  After a few quick snapshots, crew two began their long journey, thus beginning their trek at a respectable 5:40 a.m.  John took the shuttle back to the lodge, retrieved the Troop 325 van and headed back to Ten X campground.  In Tusayan, John spotted six elk and stopped for a quick photo op.  When John returned, crew one was out of bed and working on breakfast.  After a quick meal, the group decided to drive into Tusayan for a little gift shopping.  They left camp at 10:05 a.m. under bright blue cloudless skies.  The group visited several gift shops and Mike McFall blew his entire bankroll on a Baja jacket and cowboy hat.  At the IMAX gift shop, the guys saw a nice cowboy hat on the roof.  Several Scouts hoisted Mike Burge onto their shoulders and with a little bit of work, were able to retrieve it.  Mike's new hat was made of real leather and still had a $40 price tag on it.  The group then drove to Grand Canyon Village.  They first stopped at the General Store for a little bit of shopping and babe watching. Someone found a superball and the crew played "high bounce" with it in the parking lot.  Next they headed to the South Rim.  John spent some time photographing the Grand Canyon Railroad.  Feeling the bite of hunger, the crew made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on a couple of park benches.  Gregg entertained the Scouts by bouncing the superball over top of passing cars.  Unfortunately, he missed on one occasion and hit a woman's car.  The crew then walked the south rim "strip" where all the hotels and restaurants are located.  From this location, the crew was able to view most of their last day's hike in the canyon below.  They were also able to spot a half dozen huge condors flying along the rim.  Whenever they landed on a particular gift shop, an employee would come out and shoo the large bird away.  It was fascinating to watch their aerial display.  We returned to camp at 4:30 p.m. and noticed that it had rained.  Several guys had wet gear while others had to find where the wind had left it. Soon they were fixing a chicken and veal patty dinner.  During this time, the guys displayed their throwing accuracy by heaving rocks at a particular tree.  Unfortunately, one of Andrew Smith's rocks veered off course putting a hole in the mosquito netting of Bob Duffy's tent.  Brian Alexander looked everywhere for his (actually John's) shoes only to discover John and Gregg had hidden them under the van seat.  The guys finally turned in for the night at 10:30 p.m.

Crew 2 (Written by Mike Petroziello)
South Kaibab Trail: South Kaibab Trailhead to Bright Angel Campground
Today we got a really early start on the trail.  We were up at 3:45 a.m. and had gotten everything ready from the night before.  We all drove to where the bus would pick us up and take us to the trailhead.  By the time we got started down the south rim by way of the South Kaibab trail it was 5:45 a.m.  There were a few other groups that were starting with us.  The views were incredible.  It's almost surreal.  It's like you are not there like you are looking at a painting or seeing it on T.V. or on a treadmill and someone is moving the scenery while you hike.  Not until you get farther down and see it towering above you does it become real.  We stopped a little way down and saw Ooh Aah Point.  There were many pictures, ooh's and aah's, and some amazing views.  A little bit later we stopped to let everyone catch up and play with the echo.  We took another stop at just a bit after the halfway point.  We met a kid named Fauster from Argentina.  Fauster told us that he was hiking down with his family and staying a Phantom Ranch.  We pulled into the group campsite at about 10:05 a.m.  The campsite is very nice.  There is a small brick building not unlike an Adirondack.  It had three small areas separated by a chest high brick wall.  In the back there are three small benches made of the same stone.  A few of us used those to sleep on.  There are also three picnic tables in each section.  It was quite nice.  There were flush toilets and fresh water.  Just across from our campsite was a small stream across the trail.  There was a nice dam built in the stream close to each campsite that make a small pool that you can lay in.  This was very nice when the temperature gets as high as it did.  It reached 120 today.  The water is nice and cold.  David, Matt, and Ryan immediately ran down to the stream and began building the dam bigger and ended up playing in the water for around 3-4 hours.  For the most part the rest of us napped until it was time for lunch.  The scouts came back up for lunch then went back down to the water.  The rest of us decided we would go down and check out the pools again.  While we were there John Walsh and Mike decided that we would throw rocks at the dam that they were building up.  David did not like it so he stood in the way thinking that we would stop throwing the rocks.  What made him think that would happen?  So John and Mike decided to use his pot to block the rocks.  He was doing amusing little dances as he blocked the rocks.  They kept throwing rocks and every so often threw one that was big enough to knock the pot out of his hand and then they would throw twice as many rocks until he got his pot back.  When they finally had a chance to look at the pot we saw that it was dented something fierce.  Mike and John laughed pretty hard.  A few went up to the Canteen at Phantom Ranch.  They sell lemonade, soda, beer, wine as well as souvenirs and candy.  A few went back to the campsite and napped some more and a few stayed in the water.  After dinner Rick, Ken, Steve, John, and Mike went to take a small 1.7 mile trek around the area.  It was a scenic river tour.  It was quite nice and it led them across the silver bridge around where they had hiked earlier.  On our way down the group saw Matt, Ryan, and David at the beach on the Colorado River.  The group yelled to see if the could be heard.  Later we found out that they thought that the group were rangers telling that they could not play there.  After that most everybody went to bed around 7-8 p.m.

June 22
Crew 1 (Written by Brian Alexander)
South Kaibab Trail: South Kaibab Trailhead to Bright Angel Campground
Gregg woke the group up at 3:45 a.m. with 30 minutes to get ready to leave for the bus.  We got to the pick up location and found the restroom (last chance to go #2 with flush toilets).  The bus eventually came and brought us to the trailhead.  We took pictures and John told us how much time we had left and we paid our deductibles and started our six day trek at 5:45 a.m.  As we headed down the canyon everyone saw awesome views of the canyon wall, and the bluish-green Colorado River below.  The hike wasn't too bad and we had a warm and cloudless sky.  All made the time go by fast.  We reached the Bright Angel campground at around 9 a.m.!!  Still in time for breakfast, some of us fixed their food while others sat in the stream.  Everyone spent their day sleeping, eating, and relaxing in the stream.  Others walked down the stream to the restaurant and walked down to the beach and made sand castles, or tried to swim in the ice cold Colorado.  As the evening came, clouds and wind moved in.  It sprinkled for about 20 minute. People started to make dinner and then went back to the restaurant (called the Canteen) and played the game of Life.  By the time everyone had finished it was dark so the group decided to head back to camp.  We went to sleep by about 9:30p.m.

Crew 2 (Written by Mike Petroziello)
North Kaibab Trail: Bright Angel Campground to Cottonwood Campground
Today we woke up at 3:45 a.m., ate breakfast, got packed and were on the trail at 4:54 a.m.  Most of us were cooking breakfast that morning so we took our time.  Plus we did not want to have to use flashlights and hike.  So we decided to wait until first light.  The hiking was great and amazingly easy.  It was a very enjoyable hike that we did not have to rush.  John, Ken, David, and Mike all played the alphabet game on the way there.  They made it all the way through single letters, through double letters all the way up to triple G's.  The hikers took a few breaks on the way.  The first was just to enjoy the morning and the scenery.  They hiked through what is called "The Box" and the heat just bounces of the walls of the box and gets amazingly hot in there.  They hiked through some marshy area and finally made it to a sign that said Ribbon Falls which is an incredible sight.  They found out a little bit later that when Rick stopped at the sign to take pictures that it turned out to be a false Ribbon Falls.  We continued on and eventually reached another sign.  This time it said down to Ribbon Falls up to Cottonwood campsite.  About half the group went down to check it out.  The other half went up the hill and found out that the two paths eventually met one another about half a mile up the trail.  So we sat around and waited as they took pictures of Ribbon Falls and played around in the falls.  We sat in the shade and threw rocks into the creek and finally at this tree were a lizard was sitting.  We decided to see if we could move the lizard without hitting it.  So John, Matt, and Mike decided to try.  They were pretty darned successful until John ricocheted the rock off the tree and hit the lizard.  The lizard lived, but we stopped throwing rocks anyway.  We finally pulled into camp and it was pretty hot.  It was a nice campsite.  The stream near it was not as easily accessible as the one at Bright Angel the first night.  Most of the group napped while waiting for lunchtime to come.  A few of us went to the stream to wash the red dust off of our bodies.  This red dust is very annoying and worse than Cheetos cheese.  The scouts went further up stream and played around up there.  We are quickly realizing this problem that we have where we end up getting into camp a few hours before lunchtime so we have to find stuff to do until lunch and the main activity seems to be a nap.  David was so tired from yesterday that all he did was pass out for around 3 hours.  Rick got bit playing with a lizard that we named Stumpy.  The reason for the name is that Rick grabbed it by the tail and it turned around and bit Rick and left its tail behind and ran off.  We are all amused by how the lizards do their little push ups.  It really is quite funny.  After lunch we went back down to the stream while all the scouts decided to go to the Ribbon Falls.  Apparently they ran the entire way.  While we were down at the creek we found a tennis ball.  We would throw it farther up stream and wait for it to come back down to us.  We did this for around an hour.  It really is quite sad how busy it kept us.  All we did was throw a tennis ball up and wait for it to come to us.  We all became freakin' weirdo's by the end of the trip.  We went back to the campsite and during dinner Rick kept saying "crunchy" and David would laugh so hard we thought that he was going to die.  At this point in time the spoonerisms were just beginning.  Most of us went to bed early to get ready for the trek tomorrow.  It was going to be tough.

June 23
Crew 1 (Written by Brian Alexander)
North Kaibab Trail: Bright Angel Campground to Cottonwood Campground
Our second day began at 4:30 a.m. and we hit the trail at 5:30 a.m.  This was a little later than Gregg wanted.  We walked through the canyon and it gave us awesome views of the canyon walls and the stream that ran through it.  We had only been hiking for only less than an hour when we had to stop to purify drinking water.  Continuing on our hike we found ourselves in a swampy area which slowed our pace.  A day hiker coming from the opposite direction told us about a shortcut to get to Ribbon Falls.  We wanted to visit this place so we could cool off.  So we followed this man's instructions (bad news already).  Our group got split into three smaller groups maybe even more.  Ryan B., trying to be the world's best camper, crossed the stream, slipped into the water and got completely soaked including almost his whole pack.  After a good comic relief we took some pictures and cooled off and made our way to the Cottonwood Campground.  We arrived at around 9:20 a.m.  It was not as luxurious or populated as Bright Angel Campground was, but it was still nice.  We were happy to find out that the drinking water was cold.  We made ourselves at home quickly and everybody made breakfast. Soon after everybody went swimming except for Brian who stayed behind and slept.  Allen and Ryan went lizard hunting.  Another example of Ryan's intelligence is trying to eat plain ground coffee.  After attempting to eat it, he spits it out and it drips all over the front of him.  Allen gives him water to wash himself.  When he pours it on himself, he completely misses his body.  After this short comic relief, storm clouds began to move in and it rained.  Everybody put their stuff undercover and we stood under the ranger bulletin board.  Allen and Gregg took the opportunity to take a shower in the rain.  After an hour the rain stopped and people cooked their dinners.  They had many interesting conversations on topics such as poop, gays, and religion.  Everybody finally shut-up and went to bed around 9:00 p.m.

Crew 2 (by Mike Petroziello)
North Kaibab Trail: Cottonwood Campground to North Kaibab Trailhead
Today we got up at 3:15 a.m. and got everything ready.  Today we were hiking up to the north rim.  Today we did something unusual.  We stopped at Bruce Aiken's house for some lemonade.  This is the only man that lives in the Grand Canyon and everyday he puts out some lemonade for the hikers.  It was amazingly tasty.  After that we moved on.  The hike was not all that bad until we got to the bridge.  This marked two things: the halfway point as well as the point where it started to get real nasty.  Switchback (don't spoonerise this) after switchback, it kept going up.  We decided that we would stop and wait for everyone to catch up.  When we finally started again we reached another significant point and took another break.  We stopped at the point between the bridge and the top.  It was also a stop for the mules.  It had water and toilets.  We continued on again.  The first to reach the top was John Walsh.  After him it was Rick and Ken followed by David and then Mike.  The Rob and Bev Gardner came next and then Matthew.  The Adams' got stuck behind some mule trains and some rescuers.  A little girl was on a mule ride and apparently did not eat anything for breakfast.  It turns out that she is a diabetic and her sugar became to low and passed out and fell of the mule.  The rangers eventually had to have a helicopter come in and bring her out.  We later found out that a helicopter ride out costs around $3,500.  We then hiked about one more mile to the campsite.  We then had to catch a bus to take us to the mule ride location by noon.  We cut it pretty close.  It turns out that we were pretty smelly by this time.  So much so, that a few kids on the bus with us were plugging their noses when that sat by us.  When we got there they told us the mule that we would ride.  Mike's was named Maude and is what they liked to call an edge walker.  She likes to walk really close to the edge, so close that every time it looks like she is going to walk over the edge.  After a while everyone got the hang of it but they realized why cowboys walk the way they do.  Riding the mules puts strain on your knees.  It seemed that a lot of the mules had personalities that matched their riders.  The craziest thing about it was the waiver form that we had to sign, saying that we could die on the mule ride.  After the mule ride we went back to the campsite and set up camp and started getting packed for the next day.  Everyone but David and Mike took a shower.  A few did laundry.  It started to rain so most of the did not feel like cooking so they went to the lodge and had pizza and calzones.  As John Walsh said it was hot, he did not have to cook it, and there was no clean up.  After we got back we finished packing and went to bed.  While Mike was helping John move the cooler (which is very heavy), he made John Combs laugh.  John darn near herniated himself when he made Mike laugh and had to let go of the cooler.  After everybody was done, we went to bed for the night.
 

June 24
Crew 1 (Written by Brian Alexander)
North Kaibab Trail: Cottonwood Campground to North Kaibab Trailhead
Gregg woke us up at 3:30 a.m. and we hit the trail at around 4:15 a.m.  At the beginning of the trail, we had to use our flashlights.  However, in an hour the sun had given us enough light to see with.  At first, the hills weren't too bad.  Soon they got even more steep and the switchbacks got nastier.  We met up with crew two and exchanged a few stories and then continued on.  After about 4 hours, Mike McFall was the first person to the top.  About another hour later Allen and Andrew finished thus being the last to finish the long and tiring trip up the south rim.  From the trailhead, we walked another half a mile to camp.  We ate the remaining of the cheese, crackers, and sausages that we had on the rafting trip.  We took our shower and a short nap.  Gregg was nice enough to do some laundry for us.  In the afternoon, John took us to the north rim gift shops.  Here we registered for our mule ride for the next day and made dinner reservations for the formal restaurant at the lodge.  All the adults and Jeff ate there, while everyone else had dinner at the canteen.  Michael crashed on the couches in the deck.  He finally woke up and had dinner with Brian, Andrew, and Ryan in the canteen, and then went into the restaurant and bummed some bread off of Gregg.  Then he arranged for a happy birthday singing to Allen.  Allen turned 19 today.  After an eventful evening we all headed back to camp and some of us went to the store.  We went to sleep.

Crew 2 (Written by Mike Petroziello)
North Kaibab Trail: North Kaibab Trailhead to Cottonwood Campground
We were up at 3:15 a.m. again this morning.  We broke camp and made breakfast and then walked to the trailhead.  It was around a mile and then we had to walk seven more down the hill.  We took the same trail down that we had taken up.  Luckily we started way before the mules started and we did not have to worry about them.  Every time that a mule train is coming towards you, you are required to step to the side and wait for them to pass.  It was pretty easy hiking.  We enjoyed it quite a bit.  We made real good time, but not good enough.  The other crew was coming up the hill and they started almost an hour before we did.  We met most of them a little bit after the halfway point.  This meant that they had hit the lemonade stand earlier than us.  So only three or four of us were able to get some.  It was just as tasty as the other day.  A few trail runners were passing us.  One or two made a rude comment towards John Walsh.  These people are insane! They run and jog the canyon trails.  Rob and Bev Gardner took a small side hike down the trail to see Roaring Springs.  We reached Cottonwood campsite in great time.  We took a little nap and played around in the pool as per usual.  We almost lost the tennis ball, but we were able to save it.  After lunch everyone did their own thing and a few of us planned on going to Ribbon Falls after dinner.  After dinner we were preparing to go to Ribbon Falls.  On our way there we saw a lady on the phone trying to reach a ranger and speaking to a man with a brace around his knee.  We asked them what was wrong.  It turns out that the guy was trying to hike from the north rim all the way to Bright Angel campground.  That is fourteen miles of hiking and on his way down he blew out his knee.  We told him that it was going to be a very easy hike, so he decided to go down anyway.  We went to the falls and it is one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen in my life.  It was a tower of moss-covered rock around forty to fifty feet high.  Above it water would fall and hit the tower and fall down from there.  There is a little side trail that you can take to the top of the tower.  We went up there and took a lot of pictures.  It was incredible on top.  There was so much moss covering the top and it was very spongy, plus it looked like a small bath on the top.  Once on top if you look out to the left you will see these small pillars in the rock wall.  You can take one of two ways to get there.  You can continue along the trail along the edge of the rock wall or you can hike down and take the trail up the side that leads directly to them.  After a few more pictures, Mike noticed a small cave at the bottom of the tower. He decided that he wanted to go in it.  He found the water was freezing and got totally soaked including his boots.  On their way back, they saw Allen, the guy with the bad knee.  He had not even gone a mile since they had seen him and the hike to Ribbon Falls is about a mile and a half.  The group debated about going to help him.  John Walsh decided that he would go and help the guy and Mike told John that he would carry some of his gear so that he could grab Allen's pack.  So he went on ahead and started to cook himself something to eat.  Mike ended up carrying most of his food and he went to go help Allen at and around 8:30.  Soon everyone went to bed and wished Allen luck and a safe trip.
 

June 25
Crew 1 (Written by Brian Alexander)
North Rim Layover
We got to sleep in until 6:30 a.m.!  WOO HOO!!! And some made breakfast and we headed for the mule ride.  A few of us were a little apprehensive about it, but once we got started everyone enjoyed it.  Each mule had a name and Gregg was happy that his mule's name was Elvis.  After that was over some people bought their photograph of them on their mule and we headed back to camp.  Gregg made some chicken patties for us to have some extra lunch and then we went to the Lodge again where we slept and read by the fireplace.  We also met some backpackers that had hiked up to the North Rim today.  Buffalo Joe, one of the backpackers, told us that he had been shaking along the trail because of the heat.  Gregg T. pointed out the fact that Joe's wife didn't shave her armpit hair.  Anyway back at camp some of us played cards at the general store.  We made dinner.  John was nice enough to take us to get pizza.  A woman from another campsite, Katie from Georgia played Frisbee with us.  Soon after we went to bed.  However, Mike, Allen, and Andrew played cards until around 10:30 p.m.

Crew 2 (Written by Mike Petrozieelo)
North Kaibab Trail: Cottonwood Campground to Bright Angel Campground
The crew made the seven-mile trek in just under 2 and a half hours.  It was nice and easy.  As they came into the campsite, there was one small site right before the group site.  There was one person sleeping on a picnic table there.  Mike thought to myself it would be funny to throw a rock at this guy to wake him up.  However, he decided not to.  Had Mike known that it was John Walsh at the time, he would have most definitely thrown rocks.  It turns out that John had gotten in at 2:15 a.m. with Allen.  He had found Allen about a mile and a half down the trail from Cottonwood.  Allen was already starting to feel the effects of heat exhaustion as well as mild dehydration.  This was not good. Thanks to John Walsh, the guy made it all right..  We learned that the guy worked for IBM and that he was taking his grandson to the Grand Canyon for his 17th birthday.  The kid was supposed to go to Cottonwood and make some sort of electrolyte replenishing drink for Allen but he just kept going.  Most of us figured that Allen took him out of his will.  As it turns out, Allen normally does the trip 5-6 times a year.  The next people from our crew started coming in around 40 minutes after Mike had gotten there.  They had also really enjoyed the hike.  Today the water in the creek was quite nice.  Mike Petroziello's weather notes: It was very unusual this time of the year.  It rained every day, generally for only five minutes or so.  The great thing about it was the fact that it gave us some great cloud cover.  This kept the temperature at a very bearable level.  We played in the creek a whole bunch today.  The schmuks lost our tennis ball.  Sou all Yuck.  Today we took quite a few hikes up to Phantom Ranch for some lemonade.  This is at least a half mile hike so a few of us put in at least another two miles of hiking.  There was also a pay phone that only took phone cards that we made use of.  After lunch Mike hiked up to the ranch with Ken and found Rick and John there. This is when we all decided that we would take the Phantom Ranch trail after dinner.  We reached a board that would tell us where it was at and realized that we had gone the wrong way.  That wasn't to good and that meant that we would have to go another mile in the other direction to reach it.  So we decided to do the River View Trail again.  It was some nice hiking and good picture opportunities.  After we had gotten back most of us decided that it would be a good time to go to bed.

June 26
Crew 1 (Written by Brian Alexander)
North Kaibab Trail: North Kaibab Trailhead to Cottonwood Campground
The rain woke us up around 3:30 a.m. and Ryan, Michael M, Mike B, Allen, and Andrew weren't too happy about their things being wet.  We hiked to the trailhead at around 5:00 a.m. for the hike back down into the canyon.  We saw more great views of the canyon walls again.  Jeff Gardner reached Cottonwood at 6:45 a.m., just less than three hours.  Everyone else showed up in the next 45 minutes, and Gregg and Bob came in at about 8:00 a.m. About all of us took naps, while others went to the stream and did whatever the closest to whitewater rafting is.  In the afternoon we battled rain showers that came on and off again.  All of a sudden a National Park Service helicopter landed about 20 yards away from our campsite.  We all ran and took pictures.  We thought there was an injured victim, but it turned out that they were just dropping off batteries for some strange reason.  The weather cleared up and Andrew, Michael M, Ryan, and Jeff went back down to Ribbon Falls.  While Gregg and Bob started playing poker and at one point Gregg owed Bob 72 chicken sandwiches, 8 French fries, 4 frosties, 2 chilies, and 2 taco salads from Wendy's.  Luckily for Gregg, Bob had bet it all away in one hand.  Later in the evening, people fixed dinner while what looked like a big thunderstorm was on its way.  Everyone took cover but the dark clouds were just bluffing because it just sprinkled.  Everyone soon fell asleep as the sun fell.

Crew 2 (Written by Mike Petroziello)
Bright Angel Trail: Bright Angel Campground to Indian Gardens Campground
This is perhaps the crew's favorite day.  Today the crew got up at 3:15 a.m. as per usual.  Today most everybody decided to take today slow and enjoy the scenery.  Mike was hiking up in front with John Walsh and they saw about five deer.  It was some beautiful hiking.  When the group arrived at the campsite, they saw how great it was.  There were abundant amounts of shade and two picnic tables with shelters over them.  There were some very nice composting toilets.  No one in the crew knew how the composting toilets work.  They were just like pit toilets minus the smell and seem to be kept very clean.  After you are done going number two you dump in about half a cup of wood chips and this helps it to break down.  After three years they drain the stuff at the bottom and use it as fertilizer.  They are pretty neat.  The water in the campsite was only ten feet away.  When everybody got there, Rick, Ken, and John decided to go down to the Plateau Point.  It was another mile and a half.  Others decided to stay and take a nap.  When they were down there they saw a few falcons dive-bombing.  They said it sounded just like an airplane was going by.  They came back and told us what an incredible view it was.  Everybody else just scouted around the area or took a nap.  During the time before lunch most people sat around and went out to the plateau.  Most of the day people ate lunch on their own time and enjoyed the day.  Mike skipped lunch and went out to the plateau.  It was beautiful and Mike found a small nook hidden from the trail and read for an hour or two.  I eventually went back and everybody was still doing their own thing. After dinner, Rick, Ken, John, Mike and Rob headed for the plateau.  On their way, they saw an incredible rainbow.  It was quite large. Everybody took a few pictures and it started to disburse a few minutes after that.  They  arrived at the point and took a seat.  After a while the sunset looked like it would turn out to be a dud.  After it looked like all was lost it proved them wrong.  The sky just lit up and looked like lava rolling from the canyon and into the sky.  It was amazing.  The group had never seen anything like it before.  They watched it for what seemed like an eternity and Rick had shot about a roll of film on it.  After this time it started to fade and we decided that it is time that we get back to the campsite.  It was almost dark by this time and the wind started to pick up as well as the clouds.  It started to sprinkle as they were heading back.
 

June 27
Crew 1 (Written by Brian Alexander)
North Kaibab Trail: Cottonwood Campground to Bright Angel Campground
Gregg let us sleep in until 5:00 a.m. since the hike from Cottonwood to Bright Angel isn't too difficult.  People got themselves some breakfast.  Gregg and Bob left around 5:20 a.m. or so, and everyone else left about ten minutes later.  Today's hike wasn't too exciting and Jeff and Ryan made it to camp at about 7:45 a.m. and Mike and Allen came in around 8:15 a.m.  Just about everyone laid down until about noon.  In the afternoon, some went into the stream.  We started to eat all of our backpacking food since there was nothing else to do.  So Brian, Jeff, Ryan, and Michael M. went back to the Colorado River to swim and build sand castles.  Later we went to the canteen to cool off and played cards and chess for a few hours.  Then we went back to camp to cook our dinners.  We then attempted to make a rock bridge down by the pool so we could cross in the morning without having to go out of the way.  (TRAIL CUTTERS except Gregg and Bob)

Crew 2 (Written by Mike Petroziello)
Bright Angel Trail: Indian Gardens Campground to Bright Angel Trailhead
Today we left camp at 4:40 a.m.  It was a nice cool morning, very comfortable.  We had a nice four-mile uphill hike.  It was tough, but not to bad.  We made it back at very decent time.  John Combs was waiting with the video camera to get us coming up the South Rim.  The first up was John Walsh then Rick then Mike followed by Ken B.  After that we waited for a little bit took a group picture.  We then hiked to the van and loaded our gear.  We all said goodbye to John Walsh.  We were all sorry to see him go and very happy that he came on the trip.  He went into the lodge to have breakfast and then get on the road.  We decided to go to the lodge and check out the gift shop.  We met the Adams' there and saw that they had already enjoyed breakfast at the lodge.  After the gift shop we went to take a small road tour that the park service offered.  You get on the buses and they take you around the west rim of the canyon stopping at seven different places.  Only two stops, the Hopi and Mojave, had buses that would take you back without having to go on the full hour plus ride.  The stops were absolutely gorgeous, and give you a little bit of perspective as to how stinking big the Grand Canyon truly is.  You could see mountains 60 miles away in the background.  When we came back, we left for the general store so that we could maybe get some non-camp food as well as get an idea as to what type of trip t-shirt we may want.  When we finished there we left for the campsite.  I thought that everyone was joking when they said that we were going to be staying in Flintstone Bedrock City.  I just thought that it was Bedrock City and they just added the Flintstones to it.  I was wrong.  It is a campsite with a Flintstones theme.  It had showers and a bathroom, a small general store, a game room and sitting room, as well as horseshoe pit and basketball.  When we got there, we set up camp and just chilled for an hour or so.  While everyone was sitting around, John Combs and Mike decided to explore.  They went to the Flintstones café with their stupid brontosaurus burger that did not top even a pound.  They also went across the street to the two gas stations and an inn.  The crew mostly sat around and read or chilled some more. After taking showers, the crew drove to Tusayan. It had a few shops as well as a Pizza Hut inside the IMAX theatre.  They did a little bit of shopping then went back and hung around.  Upon returning to the campground, the group went up to the lodge that they had.  Inside the lodge there is a few video games, a broken pool table, a foosball table, some benches, a juke box, and some washers and dryers.  Several members of the group decided to play horseshoes.  As it turns out Ken can throw a pretty mean shoe and Mike lost pretty bad both games that they played.  Mike did make one miraculous shot.  Ken had thrown a ringer and if Mike did not match it, he would lose the game.  Mike threw his first shoe and missed so he told myself that if he missed the first, he would throw the second with his eyes closed.  He did this and amazingly enough, he threw a ringer on top of Ken's.  Most everybody went to bed pretty early.  Mike would also like to mention that it is little John's birthday.  Happy birthday John!!

June 28
Crew 1 (Written by Brian Alexander)
Bright Angel Trail: Bright Angel Campground to Bright Angel Trailhead
Gregg woke us up around 3:15 a.m.  Today the crew got ready the fastest with an incentive being the last day on the trail.  Allen, Mike B. left first followed by Gregg and Bob.  Then it was Michael, Andrew, and then Brian, Jeff, and Ryan.  We were surprised to see so many people (other than us) on the trail at the hour.  We had passed probably three to five groups of people.  The hike didn't start out too bad with some nice gradual uphill.  A few of the group took their last pictures of the canyon as they headed out.  The order they left in reversed quickly when Jeff pulled ahead and Allen and Mike B. fell behind.  Most of the crew stopped for a good rest and more water at Indian Gardens.  Soon after that Jeff finished in 3 hours 37 minutes.  He was followed by Michael M, Ryan, Brian, Bob, Gregg, Andrew, Allen and Mike B.  John Combs and Mike Petroziello. gave us a warm welcome and a pat on our back for our accomplishment.  We took off our boots and packs for the last time and didn't even think twice about getting rid of our backpacking food.  We pulled out of the Grand Canyon thinking to ourselves in amazement about what we conquered.  As we were waiting for everyone to get to the top of the Canyon some old guy yelled at us to be quiet.

Crew 2 (Written by Mike Petroziello)
South Rim Layover
Mike P. and John left to pick up the other crew.  Mike hide under pillows in the back seat just to get into the park with him again.  Apparently the park service was being not nice.  When they arrived, they went to the trailhead.  They soon noticed Mike McFall's orange shirt and Mike P. yelled his name.  He looked up so Mike ran down to meet him. As they walked up and Mike M. told him that Jeff should already be there.  So Mike P. ran up the trail ahead and lo and behold there was Jeff.  John and Mike P. had missed him by 10 minutes.  After them came Ryan B. followed by Brian A.  They went to the van to drop their gear and then went to the gift shop.  After that they all walked back to the trailhead to wait for the other scouts.  Soon they all came up and headed to the van.  They went to the general store to buy stuff as well as see if there were any t-shirts that they would like for a trip shirt.  Then they headed to the Flintstones Bedrock City.  They were all happy to be off the trail and take a shower.

Crew 1 and 2 (Written by Mike Petroziello)
For the rest of the day  the guys hung around the game room. John took Mike and Gregg to see some Navajo shops with real Indians.  I decided to hop into the van.  Gregg's  reason for going was so that he could see a Navajo Indian and make them smile.  Apparently he had been told that they would not smile at the White man as a form of protest for what had been done to them.  After lunch there was more foosball and then the crew finally loaded up and took a ride to the IMAX.  The group got a real good discount.  It should have cost around $180, but it ended up costing only $117 dollars.  Thanks IMAX.  The show was incredible.  As Bob D. said it is almost a spiritual experience as you feel part of the greatness of the Grand Canyon. Rob G. said, "I'm glad I saw that after we hiked it because I'm not sure that I would want to after I saw how truly big it is."  After the IMAX, the group had sweet, sweet Pizza Hut.  It was immensely tasty and it came with free refills.  Thanks Pizza Hut.  The guys then were given around an hour to search for t-shirts.  They found one and then bombarded the clerk for about 15 minutes while trying to figure out the sizes for everybody.  After that we piled back into the vans and headed back to the campsite.  Once there the group went back to the lodge and set up a foosball tournament.  The winners were Allen and David.  After that lights out came and we went to bed.  By the way today is John and Terry's aniversery.  Happy aniversery guys!!

June 29 (Written by Mike Petroziello)
Today we woke up at a decent hour and had breakfast.  After breakfast it was time to pack the van and get underway to Utah.  We left and did some driving.  We decided to have lunch after we crossed the state line.  We were going to try and eat at the visitor's center but that did not happen because they wanted $3.50 per person.  It was not worth it.  We pulled into the campsite without any problems and set up camp and Gregg and his helpers got dinner going.  Most of the scouts were playing five dollars with a Frisbee.  A few others started to play some card games.  It was a pretty relaxing day.  After dinner a few of us played some more card games.  As it started getting dark, most people were sitting around talking.  It was an all right day.  We all went to bed and apparently there was quite a windstorm in the middle of the night.

June 30 (Written by Mike Petroziello)
We woke up, had breakfast and got underway.  In less than five minutes, we entered Arches National Park.  It had more arches than Red River Gorge and the most arches in the U.S.  It is pretty neat out here.  There are pillars of stone just sitting around everywhere.  We finally stopped at a double arch and found that there was a wedding going on there.  I decided to bypass the wedding and climb up as high as I can. After double arch we headed towards Delicate Arch.  It was pretty darned big with a 1.5 mile long hike that was pretty stinkin' strenuous.  We all took a few photos and enjoyed the view.  It looked really neat.  It was like a gigantic donut.  After this we took off to see Landscape Arch, the longest arch in the U.S.  It was pretty darn neat.  It was very thin and looked like it would fall in a few centuries.  After this we got back on the road and headed for a Strasburg, Colorado KOA.  The drive was a long one especially with all the hills.  While the Adams' van stopped at a grocery store, the Gardner and troop vans headed to a rest area.  Somehow the Adams' van thought they heard the rest of the guys on the handheld radio and thought they'd passed them.  It turns out that they did not and turned around for no reason.  They eventually stopped and asked directions.  After continuing on, they eventually found the others.  We had a tasty dinner of BBQ beef and soup.  After this we piled back into the vans and drove for three more hours.  That put us into camp a little after midnight.  We set up and it was very windy and it looked like a storm was on the way.  We all went to bed right away.

July 1 (Written by Mike Petroziello)
Today we got up pretty early and used the free (yes you heard that right, free) showers.  It was quite nice.  We had breakfast.  It consisted of chocolate pudding, cereal, and oatmeal.  After that we got underway quickly, because we have around 13 hours of driving to do.  For lunch we stopped at a nice rest area and had some tasty lunch.  Mike Petroziello was  promoted from Gas Boy to Shirt Nazi. (Thanks John!!)  The promotion came with a 20% pay raise (but 20% more of nothing is still nothing) but he had cool whomping powers.  Any scout whose shirt was not buttoned and tucked John told Mike to give them a "correction"  (So no parents get bent out of shape I did not really beat them I just said "tuck and/or button your shirt.").  After lunch we piled back into the vans.  Gregg and Mike continued our strenuous movie regime (it's a hard life but somebody has to do it).  We stopped at Pizza Hut for dinner and it was excellent.  After dinner we piled back into the van and the Adams' van decided to go on ahead of the rest of the group so that they could get to the church early.  This way the guy would not have to come and unlock it at one o'clock at night (aren't we nice).  Around an hour down the road Mike's explosive colon forced them to stop at Taco Bell restroom.  After that the trip was pretty uneventful.  When the Adams' van arrived at the church the Associate Pastor showed up a few minutes after us.  The church was excellent.  They had couches and pool tables as well as T.V. with cable.  As he was showing us around he let us see that they had a kitchen and showers. All night most of us watched T.V. or played pool.  Then went to bed.  John being the cold-hearted man that he is would not let Mike finish watching the Critic (some sort of whining about needing sleep, and not being able to sleep because he was the driver).

July 2 (Written by Mike Petroziello)
Smack!! The cue ball hits another ball.  John says "A normal man would have been able to make that shot".  This is how we were awakened.  John and Gregg were playing a game of pool and there was no definitive winner, but it was clear near the end that John had been trying to scam Gregg.  After a healthy breakfast of Pop Tarts and soda we got under way.  We made a fast food stop for lunch.  Rick gave each person $5.00 and we headed off for our favorite fast food joint.  We finally pulled into the Combs' driveway at 6:45 p.m.  All in all it was a great trip.