Hiking with drama!

My sister and I visited Grand Canyon last April. I have been there before,  it was first time for her.
I wanted to take sunrise photos, so the night before we stayed in Flagstaff (town not too far away from the park) and at 3 am started our drive to see this wonder.
Our GPS and MAPQUEST directions were the same, so we did not think twice, we just drove listening to GPS we called “Mary”.

I got first inkling something was wrong, when the sun started rising, without me taking the photos (time wise we should have been there way before sunrise). We drove, and drove, but no Grand Canyon.
I remember from my first trip that we should`ve passed Grand Canyon Village and pay the fee to get into the park there. None of it has happened so far.
Instead we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere, with our “Mary” showing us to take unpaved small road straight into the woods. We did.
After 20 min of driving my sister had a feeling we should turn back (I had the same feeling), but I made decision that we keep going. It helped that we saw campers in tents and RV`S scampered here and there. We knew that we will be able to find help if things went really wrong.

At some point my sister noticed a “lookout” and told me to go back, so we can climb and see where we were. I am a good river, but driving in reverse?…I simply suck. I started back and next thing I see is tree branches. I got scared that I am gonna hit the tree, I slammed on the breaks and heard loud noise …like I hit the tree. My sister and I got out of the car and saw no tree, no rock that could make this noise if we hit it. We could not fathom what happened, only later to realize it was our luggage in the trunk of the car. Relieved it was just that, we climbed the “lookout” half way, the rest was closed. It was high enough for us to get our surroundings.

We finally found paved road and literally 10 minutes later were looking at Grand Canyon.
I was surprised we didn`t  pass the paying booths and realized with a laughter that we broke into the park. I thought they have guards at every entrance, no matter how small. They don`t and we drove in for free by accident.
We went to a view point and admired the view. My sister said “WOW”, then added “what now?” Since we missed sunrise I really wanted to take photos of the sunset. I read about hiking trail down the Canyon before our trip and took it into consideration. We planned to stay there all day (we packed appropriately and had right shoes and clothes). We went to information to find out more. The Bright Angel Trail was our way down. We went to the store at the Angel Lodge to get more water and candy, so we could hike down (we got food earlier).

At 9 am we started down. The trail information said it’s a very difficult hike and will take us 9-12hrs. We decided when it starts getting late we will simply head back up before reaching our goal point.
It was the best idea we had. It was beautiful walk and every few miles there is little sun shelter with water and restrooms, so it was easy and worry free hike. We were in heaven (we both love to hike). At our destination, Plateau Point, we had lunch and took a lot of photos. We were surprised how quickly we got there. If we knew, we would go all the way to Colorado River. We didn`t know we are gonna go that fast. We were advised it is not good idea to try to go all the way down in one day. Now we know if you are fast walker and start early, you definitely can. Well, there is always next time. We will have reason to come back.

Around 1pm we made the decision to head back. It was much more difficult of course going up the hill and we were exhausted from our previous days of walking/driving and having only 3-6 hours of sleep (I also have hurt my knee earlier while working out, so my leg was giving me hard time). About  1.5 mile before reaching the top, my sister decided to put her sunglasses away. She started to look for the sunglasses case in her backpack and froze. She went white and still, turned to me and slowly said “my wallet is gone!!!”
I thought she is joking and it is probably hidden somewhere with everything else in her bag. I grabbed the bag from her, checked it myself and went still just like her. HER WALLET WAS GONE!!!

In it were:

*her passport with very important piece of paper attached to her visa, that will allow her to come back next year. If she doesn`t have it, immigration will think she never went back to Poland, even when she did, it would create a lot of problems. This little piece of paper is something you have to give with your passport when you are leaving USA (also without any on her ID she can not board the plane to go back home, we would have to drive to Chicago instead to Las Vegas like we had in plans, goodbye fun weekend).

*all the money she was saving all year for this trip ($900 to be exact)

*memory cards from previous days, with photos on it (Page, Antelope Slot Canyon and other amazing places)

*my debit card.

We were trying to figure out where she could have lost it and there were 2 possibilities:
1. it fell out of the bag when we had lunch down at Plateau Point, when we were moving our bags (hers was open)
2. she left it in the morning at the store, where we bought more water and candy before our hike.
We knew it was too late to hike back down, we would not make it (it was gonna get dark soon). I said we sleep in the car or rent a room in a hotel near by (since I had my credit card on me) and hike down very early the next day.

We split up. I headed up fast while my shocked sister slowly trailed behind me. I went to ask around if somebody miraculously found the wallet. I had a feeling we will somehow find it. It also went through my mind that I was in such a shock myself that my gut feeling was messed up. I was so calm and collected like I have never been before in a situation like this. I kept my mouth shut, I thought I am wrong, although hoping for the best.

I always say hikers are then nicest, honest and helpful people. If she lost it somewhere else it would be long gone, but between hikers, there is still hope. It was getting late and I decided to go to the Angel Lodge where I found my sister at information desk.  The nice young men was calling “Lost & Found” for her. He spoke to the office on the phone, then turned to us and said the most beautiful words I have ever heard: “they have the wallet”. It was like winning lottery. We could not believe it. It was a miracle! He told us how to get there. “Lost & Found” office was open till 5pm (it was 4:55), but nice lady there said she will wait for us.

Turned out my sister left the wallet  it in the morning in the bathroom at the Angel Lodge (where we were buying water and candy). She put stuff she bought in her backpack and thought she put her wallet too. We drove there like crazy. My sis run out to get it. Lady told her she was trying to find her on Facebook, Twitter but she couldn`t (my sister has her pet name on it, now we know to change it to how it is on her Passport every time we travel). She came back to the car, looked inside and could not believe when she saw EVERYTHING was there: Passport, all the money, memory cards etc.
She started crying. She knew how lucky she was. Through the tears she thanked GOD and whomever found it.

If by any chance, miracle YOU are reading this post, we THANK YOU and GOD BLESS YOU!!! You not only saved us a lot of immigration/government problems, You showed us there are good and honest people with helping hearts, who care about other human beings!! May all Your dreams come true, even the impossible ones! YOU DESERVE IT!

Happy and relieved we continued the last leg of our trip, Las Vegas. But this…is another post ;D

20 Responses to “Hiking with drama!”

  1. Nice story. .it is so nice to know that there are good people on this world…blessings

  2. Yes it is nice to know. Gives me hope 🙂

  3. Me too…and that is always good

  4. Great story with an happy end . It is nice to know that there are still honest persons in this world.

  5. I can not imagine what would happen if things turned out differently. Now I know that there are good people!

  6. 🙂 it makes me happy that good people exist still . And I am happy that your story ended with this happy -end. 🙂

  7. I have tears of happiness for someone doing the right thing.What goes round, come around. You and your sister might like a raft trip through the Grand Canyon. The scenery and thrills are fantastic.

  8. I am happy too 🙂

  9. We were talking about it. It looks like fun. We hope one day we will be able to do it.

  10. Gonna be hard to hike, i believe:d

  11. I think we will do it again…hiking I mean 😉

  12. Interesting! Can i join?:d

  13. of course 🙂

  14. I’m so happy there was a happy ending to this story.

  15. Yippie! So glad you found it with everything in it. So awesome.

  16. gtonthenet Says:

    Nice story – and lovely photos!

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