Monday, July 6, 2015

Hiking the Grand Canyon – Rim to River and Back - Wow!

The hike from the rim of the Grand Canyon to the river and back is not recommended as a day trip, so of course we have to do it.  In August, when it's over 100ºF down at the river.  

We each carry 3 liters of water and refill the bottles twice over the course of the 10 hour hike, drinking 9 liters each.  The river is close to a mile below the rim and we cover about 14 miles taking the South Kaibab trail down to the river and the Bright Angel trail back up to the lodge.

The park shuttle bus takes us to the head of the South Kaibab trailhead to start our day.  As we descend into the canyon, the views and colors of the rocks change and truly delight us with each new perspective.

We’re thinking that down is harder than up.  We have to be very careful about placing our feet on the way down, whereas on the up journey, we basically put one foot in front of the other until we reach the top.  However, up does take about twice as long as down.

 And, finally, we make it to the river, all the way down.

Enjoying our lunch at the bottom (we earned it), the view up is breathtaking.  One mile, straight up.  But, we have to go, dinner is up there.  

As we head up, we slowly gain altitude, but the rim still seems a long way away.

We pass streams where we occasionally spot a nose poking out where somebody has immersed his/her entire body to cool off.  We soak our shirts and hats periodically in our attempts to stay cool.  We pass one rest area where the park rangers have brought in a helicopter to evacuate someone who couldn’t make it any further.  We continue, one foot in front of the other.  Repeat.

But, what incredible scenery, we can tell why this is one of the seven wonders of the world.  The views and colors keep changing, each one more incredible than the previous one.  We are so lucky to be able to do this!

Along the trail up, we start to recognize and greet people that we have passed as they rested, now they pass us as we rest.  Some of them are doing the rim-to-river-and-back in a day as we are, but many spent the night at Phantom Ranch at the bottom and are tackling the journey up with more energy that we have left.

Eventually, we reach the top and head into the bar at the lodge for a drink.  The people we have met on the trail up trickle into the lodge as we all rest, congratulate ourselves, and wonder what’s for dinner.

And, luckily, the rain held off until the next day!

Doing this hike in one day is strongly discouraged by the National Park Service, but, wow, what an incredible experience!

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