Hiking across the Grand Canyon

This Thursday I leave for Las Vegas. Sunday, I leave my car the North Rim and take the shuttle van to the South Rim. Monday, I hike down to Phantom Ranch, and up to the North Rim the next day.

I think I’ve got everything planned out; maybe I should have asked here for any tips or advice.

Wish me luck.

Watch where you place your feet.

And have a good time.

That’s my advice.

Good luck, drink lots of water, start early.

Good luck to you. I take it you’ve been training for this hike.

My advice: go slow on the downhill. There is a tendency to go fast, since it is easier and you can make good time. This will trash your quads, and you’ll be hurting for the uphill. So go at a regular pace, and try not to speed up too much. Take plenty of breaks, even though you may not be too tired/sore.

It may be too late, but hiking poles help a lot - particularly on downhills. I’d recommend them.

Are you taking Kaibab down to the river, or Bright Angel ? (I’m guessing Kaibab since it is shorter).

On the north rim side, I am only familiar with the stretch from Phantom Ranch to Cottonwood camp. It is not terribly steep, but an uphill grade throughout.

Tell us about it, after you complete it !

I have been training. I’ve put 540 miles on my bike in the last month; trying to get my heart and lungs whipped into shape. I hope it helps.

I hadn’t really thought about hiking poles, but it’s not a bad idea. I did an easy hike with my dad a couple months ago and took one of his old ski poles. It seemed to help. I’d need something collapsable to fit in my luggage. I was gonna head to REI tomorrow, anyway, looking for a new pocket knife.

I’m planning to head down the South Kaibab trail, not so much for the distance but for the view. That could change. I’ll check on the weather when I get there, and if I need to lighten my pack there’s water available on the Bright Angel trail.

I’ll tell you all about it when I get back. If I get back.

Sounds like you’ve worked on your endurance/lungs. I would have focused more on hiking itself.

South Kaibab does get some steep grades, so again, take your time.

So one more suggestion: moleskin. Lifesaver if you get any blisters.

Best of luck. Take lots of pictures.

Yep - REI will have the collapsible hiking poles. We bought one at the Phoenix REI when I needed something to help me around the GC (we didn’t hike far down, but I’d just injured myself). It fit quite nicely in our suitcase on the way back.

Get yourself a nice big floppy hat. I live in Vegas and hiking is among my 5 favorite things to do, and I always wear a hat big enough to shade my ears and the back of my neck.

Wear sunscreen, and re-apply it ever 4-5 hours.

Take a good, reliable water filter with you.

A walking stick or poles is a great idea.

Enjoy yourself. You’re about to see some truly amazing shit.

Heck, I moved here from my beloved swamps because of the canyons.

What I wish I could say: I bestride the earth like a colossus. I scoff at this so-called natural wonder that passed easily beneath my footsteps.

What actually happened: Heat exhaustion on the first day, and guarding against hypothermia on the second. A park ranger who merits a pitting. 17 hours to hike out, and there were only 14 hours of daylight. I have blisters under calluses. You could bounce a quarter off my calf muscles, and it would make a pinging sound. I move now with all the grace of Boris Karloff in Frankenstein, when I can manage to move at all. This may have been the stupidest thing I have ever done.

However, I did do it. I walked across the Grand Canyon. You may now post tributes to my awesomeness.

Congrats on your (mis?) adventure! You lived to tell the tale…now you can provide your hard-earned wisdom to future posters planning to brave The Canyon!

In hindsight, would it have been, well, not “easier”, but “marginally less impossible” if you’d hiked down the North Rim, and up the South Rim? I seem to recall the NR is higher.

Well done. People always underestimate the canyon, but you survived and succeeded.

BTW, here’s a friend’s trip report from her Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim dayhike - RunSueRun: Grand Canyon Double Crossing But she’s an amazing athlete.

Congratulations ! But ouch - heat stroke ! Sorry to hear about that.

Not that I was in that bad of shape, but I can relate to the hypothermia. On my first backpacking trip, we left Indian Gardens with clear blue skies, cool but sunny conditions. About 1/3 of the way up Bright Angel (to the south rim), these clouds move in from the south. About 20 minutes later it starts snowing. I opted to put on my jacket but stay in shorts (I was still overheating from the climb). But the second I paused for any break, I was shivering. I don’t think I was seriously chilled, but it was too weird.

The ache, pain, blisters will pass in time. Trust me. Then you’ll feel better about such an accomplishement. Good job !

The North Rim is about 1,000 feet higher, but if I’d done it the easy way I’d still be wondering if I could have done it south-to-north. This way, no questions.

Except that the trail plays some weird tricks. It didn’t feel like I’d come up as far as I went down. And there are places where the trail goes around a rock or over a rise and seems to just disappear.

I saw some folks like that on the trail. It just boggles my mind. I took two days just to cross once, and I was almost crawling by the end. At the last water stop, about 1,200 feet below the rim, I considered sheltering for the night in the composting toilet. Next time you see that woman, buy her a drink from me.

I think I had heat exhaustion, which is not as bad as heat stroke. I could see the bridge over the Colorado and I think I pushed myself a little bit too hard. Just a couple hundred yards from it I stopped, rested, then threw up a half-liter of water. Across the river was a water stop, so I was drinking and pouring some over my head. Close to the ranch, it came back up, but I figured at least it was taking some heat out of me.

No snow, but as it got colder I tried to limit how much I was sweating. I kept checking my GPS; I’d gain about 50 feet for each time I had to stop and rest. (I recorded a waypoint when I parked the car, but I must not have had a very good signal; after struggling and thinking I was almost there, eventually I was climbing higher than the end of the trail.) My rain gear kept me warm enough. It was colder than you’d expect of Arizona in the summer, but probably not life-threatening.

Pain fades. Chicks dig scars. Got it.

Congratulations, I’m glad you made it the whole journey. Despite the pain, how did you enjoy it?

I’ve got to say for me descending down with that amazing view changing but still so vast and beautiful is something I’ll always remember. Swimming in the Colorado at the bottom is cold but feels so good to the tired limbs. My camp (5 of us) was raided by Ringtails in the evening and we had to bring all food into the tents. I had a swollen knee and lots of fatigue but felt like a champion.

I hope you got lots of pictures.

And now for the fun part - the hike BACK across, to get your car…

Don’t joke, there are people who do that, rim-to-rim-to-rim. I find it hard to believe I am even in the same species with those people.

There’s a private company that runs a shuttle van between the rims. It’s 10 miles as the crow flies, but 200 miles by road. I left my car at the North Rim and took the shuttle.

That’s where pitting the park ranger came in. I got dropped of at the South Rim village, but my hotel for that night was in Tusayan. I checked the park’s website before I left. They have buses within the park, and one that went to Tusayan; perfect for me. When I got there, I found out they had just discontinued that route. I asked a park ranger how I could get there without a car. She said there were taxis, but also told me it was only 2 miles away. I told her I’d walk.

5 miles later, I got to the park entrance, and found it was 2 miles from there. Obviously that ranger thought I could just teleport to the gate and walk from there. An extra 5 miles on asphalt was not what I needed. My heels were sore and the real hike hadn’t even started yet. I was pissed.

Anger fades, too. I’m feeling much better now.

Glad to hear you survived. Where are the damn pictures?

I have to finish the roll and get it developed, first.

Film?! What are you, a Luddite? :slight_smile: Can’t wait to see them.