…but you did, didn’t you? Okay, so you and the crew got LOST for the first 2 hours of the hike, making painfully slow progress down a ravine, rather than the trail (which, after you found it, was so painfully obvious that you were kicking yourself for the remaining 10 miles of the hike!).
Lippan Point offers a trail that goes 9 miles down into the Canyon, and then 9 miles back. At the trail head, there’s a picture of a girl, and the subtitle: “Can YOU run the Boston Marathon?” Followed by a summary about how a girl ran the Marathon in 3.5 hours, but still DIED in the Grand Canyon in July, from dehydration. Why? Got lost. Not enough water. Not enough food. Split up from her friend. Etc.
Alexis and Neil were nervous. “We don’t want to die, Maria!” But you were less deterred by the sign, made sure that your group packed about 5,000 calories, 11 liters of water, a compass, salt-laden snacks, and hit the trail by 7am.
Too bad you got lost. Neil eventually turned back when you re-discovered the trail, seeing a group of experienced old men heading back to the parking lot. You and Alexis pressed on. Pressed on hard and fast until you reached the 7th mile. Within good shooting distance of the river at the bottom… but it was 11am at that point, and your guts started saying, “Turn around now, Maria, turn around now. You’re being stupid. There is NO vegetation anywhere. THIS is why people die back here.”
So you listened to your guts, told Alexis that perhaps you should turn around… but wound up going another 20 or so minutes before your guts screamed, “STOP IT NOW! GO BACK!”
Always listen to your gut. Always. And thank god you did!
Alexis ended up with hyponatremia, a salt deficiency, basically. You were fine as could be, as you had dumped spoons and spoons of salt all over your nasty, fermenting rice. She, on the other hand, had made a calorie bomb of museli, protein, raisins, and, seeds. But forgot the salt. Whoops. So as she took down liter after liter of water, she only wound up making her condition worse. Light headed, full-on leg cramping, gradual shut-down, and obviously, panic.
It was an arduous climb out of the canyon. It was a very long walk, and you had to stop every 5-10 minutes, help keep Alexis calm, tell her she would live (although by the last hour, you weren’t sure if she would need a hospital). You shouldered both the bags, led her by the hand, tried to keep her from falling down the Canyon. It was rough.
The worst part was, at the time, neither of you had ANY idea WHY her body was backfiring on her… on what would have otherwise not been THAT challenging of a hike. And you’ll be honest, while that sign was posted there to deter people from doing an out-and-back in one day (precisely what you did), you felt absolutely grand. Worried, but grand.
Back in the parking lot, Alexis collapsed in the back of the truck, thanking her lucky stars. You inquired about her condition. Salt deficiency. So you gave her some Wheat Thins, mixed some salt water shots, and waited it out. Truly an easy thing to correct, but things like that sneak up on people.
SALT, SALT, SALT! Tell the anti-sodium campaign in NY right now that “Salt saves lives.”