Day 4: Lava Chuar to Rattlesnake Camp is only 9 or 10 miles on the river so it wasn't the paddling that was daunting. We got to camp early so we could take part in the yearly tradition of "Mike Hikes". He pointed up to a peak that looked to be beyond not just the first wall behind camp but over another and then one more. That was a daunting visual. I was thinking to myself, really? A couple years before I was involved in a "Mike Hike" that involved 5.9 climbing up and across a scrabbly, crumbling Talus slope that I turned back on after 5 or 6 rocks ranging from baseball to football size shot past me while I hunkered down behind a shifting boulder. The group that day went on to finish the hike but as I slid back to the base of the scariest climbing I had ever done without a rope, I could hear them screaming "ROCK!!", followed by nervous laughter. Lets just say when Mike said bring your headlamp I was hesitant. It turned out that the hike from Rattlesnake camp up to the Tabernacle was not horribly long or difficult as far as climbing, however there was 1600 feet of elevation gain. It was a constant uphill grade that kept me huffing and puffing, my legs got a little wobbly afterwards, but it was very doable hike. We followed Mike up the slope over one ridge, past another, around the back side of the peak, and then up on top for a 360 degree view of the Canyon. What seemed so far away and kind of unthinkable crumbled away in a couple hours to a simple afternoon hike to one of the few peak hikes in Grand Canyon. The textures, colors, and landscape kept me entranced the entire time.
The peak is in sight, but there is more climbing to do.