I just hiked the Grand Canyon!

The title pretty much says it. Yesterday two friends and I hiked up the Bright Angel Trail from the Bright Angel Campground. We’d hiked down to it on the South Kaibab Trail Sunday. Approximately 16 miles roundtrip and roughly a mile up and down.

The canyon is, of course, incredible. The colors, the strata, the wildlife are all amazing. We saw Muledeer, Ringtails, Spotted Skunks, Turkeys, Kaibab Squirrels, Mountain Sheep and, oh yeah, California Condors! (Admittedly not up close)

We’d been talking about this hike for a couple of years and since I lost 80 lbs. last year I felt I could do it. The hike down was hard simply because constantly walking downhill is hard on the toes. D (one of my friends) said that was the worst part of the trip. R (the other one) was exhausted by the end of the trip but he has lung problems so the fact that he did it was very impressive.

After camping for two nights and one dinner at the Phantom Ranch lodge we got up early yesterday and hiked up. It really wasn’t that bad and was in fact easier than hiking down in some ways.

More to come after I take a dog out for a walk.

Okay, to finish my tale before I pass out from lack of sleep, we hiked down S. Kaibab on Sunday, which took about seven hours. We arrived at Bright Angel Campgrounds just as the sun was setting which meant we had to set up the tents in the dark. :rolleyes: We finally got them together and went to…tried to go to sleep. I don’t sleep well in a sleeping bag and kept dreaming I was at work in the middle of the night. Probably because I was awake in the middle of the night.

On Monday we took it easy and hiked part of the way along Clear Creek Trail to a bench built by the CCC in the '30s. That put us about a thousand feet above the camp. After we got back from that we walked a little along Bright Angel Creek on the North Kaibab trail, but not very far. It was beautiful. Every time we’d turn around a bend there’d be another incredible view. We were also impressed by the old Grand Canyon Telephone lines that are still in place, though we suspect they don’t actually work anymore. In the camp the telephone poles have been repurposed as hangers for backpacks. Well, they were already there so why not?

We had dinner Monday night at Phantom Ranch Lodge and decided that, were we to do this again we’d probably stay at the lodge and eat there, meaning we wouldn’t have to lug so much food down the trail. As it was, I had to leave most of my camera equipment behind and just use my Holga and a small digital camera.

On the way back up we got to see a couple of Rams walking around the cliff faces like they were just strolling down Michigan Avenue.

The trip was painful but I’m glad we did it. As I said before, the Canyon is amazing.

Sounds beautiful. Got any pics?

Congrats! The Canyon is just an awesome place, ain’t it?

But, you haven’t lived until you’ve hiked those last miles back up to The Rim in a thunder/hailstorm! I don’t know if I’ve ever been on a more miserable hike. I had just finished having lunch at Plateau Point when the horizion started looking rather ominous, and I could see lightning strikes out to the west. Yikes! Time to head back!

Before I got to Indian Gardens, it had really started to come down in buckets. Luckily I had bought some cheapo rain gear the night before. For the next 2 1/2 hours or so, I just put my head down and trudged upwards as fast as I could. It hailed for about 30 minutes at one point…and the middle of the trail became a decent-sized stream.

Some folks were trying to shelter beneath overhanging rocks, but I knew that the trail had just been cleared of slides a couple of days earlier…and I wasn’t prepared to spend the night. I somehow managed to make it up to the rim without getting struck by lightning or catching hypothermia. And, of course, the moment I got to the trailhead, the storm broke, and the sun came out.

Dinner that night at the El Tovar was especially delicious for some reason.

LunaV, we took plenty of pics but I haven’t had a chance yet to go over the digitals or develop the film.

Blondebear, yikes! Just…yikes!

Well, someone with that username would pretty much have to have some pictures.

But for heaven’s sake, why a Holga?

Because my pack was already heavy and my Hasselblad or the Optika that I picked up on Ebay recently would’ve just added too much weight.

I kinda figured that. But you could take a rock of the same weight and the pictures would be almost as good. (I should say that the only Holga pictures I’ve seen are from one with a Polaroid back on it, which probably didn’t help the results any.)

The hike sounds fantastic. I just saw Grand Canyon for the first time a few months ago; only had a few hours on the south rim and wasn’t really equiped for hiking that day. I was talking with someone who took a bus to the north rim, hiked to the bottom, then up to the south rim the next day. I’d love to try that trip sometime.

Wasn’t it a bit cold? I mean, I know it’s Arizona, but at that altitude in February doesn’t it get a little chilly.

It did get cold at night; lows were in the high 30s to low 40s, and during the day the temps at the bottom were in the low to mid 60s. The sleeping bags and tents were fairly warm although both nights I did wake up with a chill in the early hours.

Hiking back up on Tuesday we did get cold when we were at the 1 & 1/2 mile resthouse on the Bright Angel Trail and had to add some layers back on, but that was only after we’d been resting for a bit. Once we started moving again we warmed up quickly.

Pretty cool. I am dieing to go. I’m not sure I’m in good enough shape to hike it, but I have been excercising, so maybe someday…

Forgive me, but I wasn’t sure I understood - exactly how long did it take?

Sounds like some major cool fun. So, is going down the Grand Canyon and back kind of like a reverse mountain climb?

The hike down took about seven and a half hours. The hike up was around nine and a half hours. There were signs recommending that when hiking up people should try to maintain a pace that allows them to walk and talk. Walking too fast to talk could burn one out too soon to finish safely.

You definitely use different muscles climbing and descending. On the way up I was grateful for all the deep knee bends I’d done over the last year and on the way down our toes really took a beating since we were putting our weight on the fronts of our feet.

Evil, I had that same thought. We were effectively mountain climbing in reverse.

When I spoke to D yesterday he said he was starting to think about another hike, this time rim to rim using the North and South Kaibab trails. I’m up for it.

Pretty cool. I’m not sure I could make it 9 1/2 hours though. :frowning:

Maybe in a year if I keep on working out.