I began planning this trip to the Grand  Canyon around the beginning of 2011. I learned a lot in the process. I had originally planned on doing this Rim to Rim hike in two days and camping in Phantom Ranch at the bottom. That plan did not work out as you must book your stay in Phantom Ranch thirteen months in advance and there are only realistically ten available spots for women and another ten available spots for men, all dormitory  style, since priority for all of the best rooms are given to those riding mules down and for those folks staying overnight on a rafting trip.

Grand Canyon 2012

Once I realized that Phantom Ranch was not a realistic option I made the decision that our group would make the South Rim to North Rim hike in three days instead of two, camping two nights in the Canyon Backcountry. The upside is that we were able to choose one of the best weeks of the year for backpacking. The downside is that a fully loaded backpack can weight twenty or more pounds than a reasonably loaded day pack. (I’ll provide details on the gear I used in a later post.)

Grand Canyon 2012

We ended up driving out to the South Rim from Phoenix on Monday, September 24 and camping in Mather Campground. We woke up Tuesday and took a van ride to the North Rim and camped. On Wednesday we woke up and hiked our way to the North Rim Trailhead which is about one mile from the campground. We then hiked our way down about eight miles the North Rim to the Cottonwood campground. On Thursday morning we hiked our way about another eight to the Bright Angel Campground. On Friday morning we woke up and hiked our way back up about nine miles to the South Rim. We camped in Mather Campground again on Friday night, woke up on Saturday morning, had a very nice breakfast at the El Tovar restaurant, and started our trek back to Phoenix.

Grand Canyon 2012

All in all it was a really great week. The group was very laid back and fantastically helpful to each other in so many ways. It is true that the journey is, and in this case certainly was its own reward, but the sense of accomplishment at the end, well, that will linger a very long time.

Grand Canyon 2009

September 24, 2009

[I originally posted this on my father in law’s blog back in May of this year. I know it’s been since December of last year since I’ve written anything but trying again to make this a habit; and getting a jump of my NYR for 2010.]

A few months ago (early 2009) my Dad informed me that he and his greatest friend Larry had plans to hike the Grand Canyon. Their plan was to hike it “Rim to Rim”. Sounded great and I was in! The details revealed themselves over the coming months. We would start by driving the four hours from Phoenix to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and spend the night at a Lodge there. The next morning we would take a van to the North Rim and spend the night in a cabin. The following morning we would get up well before dawn and start our hike from the North Rim back to the South Rim! That is just how it happened.

Dad and Larry arrived at our house in Maricopa on Wednesday, May 13th, enjoyed a home cooked meal prepared by Linda, and spent the night. On Thursday May 14 we got up at the crack of dawn and made our way first to Sedona, Arizona. We toured around a little, met up with the other four members of our seven-person hiking team and experienced a Pink Jeep tour; after which we headed out of town, making our way to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon!

The entire hike was approx 25 miles. The hike started at 4:45 AM and for me ended at around 9:00 PM. This means it took me approx 16 hours. This included walking very slow in 115 degree heat (which lasted a few hours during the afternoon), breaks, and an hour long lunch. I estimate having drank between thirty and forty pounds of water and sports drinks, consumed four power bars, six sports gels, ten little oranges, no less than a dozen fig newtons, one organic peanut butter and honey sandwich, and a handful of wheat crackers

I should also note that not only did Dad and Larry decide this would be a fun time to come see me and Linda in Phoenix and hike in the Grand Canyon but they took it a step past and made it a massive road trip too. During their entire trip they road 4,600 miles through twelve states. In order of travels: Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky. All very impressive for two guys in their mid to late sixties!