When we arrived at the campgrounds, we continued walking until we found an empty spot on high ground to pitch our tents. I happily dumped my backpack on a picnic table and emptied out all of our gear. Then came the obvious problem: I had no idea what to do with it.
I’ve slept in a tent once in my life. I was 11, maybe 12, and it was an overnight summer camp trip. I’m fairly positive I did not pitch my own tent. Needless to say, I was useless. So I stood around taking pictures while the rest of the gang got to work.
I did manage to help a little bit. Here is me using a rock to drive a stake into the ground.
Here are my thoughts on sleeping in a tent: It’s not that special. Given the fact that we had to rent the equipment, we didn’t actually save any money over the ramshackle lodge in the village. And the lodge has a shower — which I badly needed — and AC — which I badly wanted. Plus we had to carry all the equipment, which weighed a ton. The thing that bothered me most about the tent was not the hard floor and the occasional bug, but the suffocating heat. I didn’t use my sleeping bag, except as another layer between my back and the floor, and still, I woke up the next morning drenched in sweat.
Finally, stumbling around in the dark with a headlamp, looking for the outhouse is not the most fun activity in the world.
I’ll confess, despite all my grumbling, camping in the Grand Canyon is one of those off-the-beaten-track experiences I’m glad I have under my belt. It’s a story to tell at cocktail parties (if I went to cocktail parties). But it’s not something I will make a habit out of doing.