Part of our group crossing a bridge on the North Kaibab Trail

I started planning this trip in a post during December 2012. Plan A fell through when I was unable to get through to make Phantom Ranch reservations at the beginning of May 2013 for the last two weeks of May 2014, so I was very concerned that I would not get through again for June. Also the size of our group increased from 4 to 5, then to 7. On June 1st I started dialing a minute or two before the phone lines opened, and got through finally 45 minutes later. I already had North Rim lodge rooms for the first week of June so I had a set of primary days that would allow us to spend 2 nights on the North Rim and then start our hike. By the time I got through to an actual person none of the primary days were available, but luckily a day on each side of that range still had spaces. I jumped on the those rooms, dinner, and bag lunches for the next day. This would have left us with only 1 night in the North Rim with no real time to explore, so I checked right away to see if there were additional rooms available. I was able to get two pioneer cabins for the two nights before we would start the rim to rim hike. The reservations for the South Rim are always easier to get this far in advance.

With all the reservations in place we now just need to do more detailed planning. We have people from 3 different states all coming together to do this trip, so the logistics may become complicated. Some of the seven people have changed to tentative, but we have back-up folks already lining up. On the 2010 trip we camped at the Bright Angel Campground near Phantom Ranch, this time we will be staying at Phantom Ranch. On the last trip the dinner reservations were all gone by the time we started planning, but for this trip we have reservations for dinner at Phantom Ranch. We were also unable to stay at the North Rim lodge last time, which made riding the shuttle to the North Rim impractical. That meant we drove to the trail head in the morning and started the hike. We also had to drive back around the Grand Canyon after the hike to pick up our vehicle. This time we will be able to take the shuttle and we’ll be staying at the North Rim for 2 nights giving us a full day to explore.

View of the black bridge crossing the Colorado

I’m hoping to add one other major change to the hike this time. I’m hoping that a portion of our group will skip the shuttle ride to the North Rim and hike from the South Rim to the North Rim while the rest of the group takes the shuttle. I’m definitely in, but my wife won’t give her blessing unless at least one other person goes with me. Frankly I have no intention of doing it alone. At this point in the planning I have one other person for sure and another maybe, so I’m feeling pretty confident that I will be doing a “somewhat modified” rim to rim to rim hike in June 2014. Instead of doing it in 2 days, it will be hiking 3 days in a 4 day period. What I will love about it is the chance to hike down the South Kaibab trail and across the black bridge. Of course the physical challenge of hiking 23 miles in one day is the main reason for skipping the shuttle ride! Since I’m training to run 26.2 miles in under 5 hours, I’m pretty sure this will be doable. It is just walking after all! This does change our planning a little though. The original plan was to stay close to the South Rim the night before we started, the trans-canyon shuttle doesn’t leave the South Rim until 1:30 PM. However, if 2 or 3 of us plan to hike across the canyon we are going to want to get an early start. It is likely that we will have more than one vehicle, so the three of us could leave early in the morning to drive to the canyon. I really don’t like the idea of an hour or two drive before starting the hike. The optimal plan would be to stay at a South Rim lodge the night before and be ready to step off at sunrise. Plan A will be to stay at the South Rim.

Looking out over Grand Canyon the day before our rim to rim hike in October 2010

We will need to do some final planning for this before the end of 2013. I need to do some research on the Trans-Canyon shuttle reservations and dinner reservations at the North Rim. We’ll need to coordinate travel plans, and figure out if anyone has a something special they would like to do. Even though the main hikes are planned there will be time to fill, especially at the North Rim. We’ll need to come up with a gear list for the hikes, including food and drink mixes. Since we are staying in lodges every night, the list will be shorter, but no less important. Although this is still more than 9 months away, I’m sure we’ll be looking out over the canyon in anticipation of the hike before we know it. For me training for the long hikes will start late this fall, after the Marine Corps Marathon. I expect I will be in pretty good shape even before I start this training!

I’ve posted one last planning post: Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim Hike (June 2014) – Final Planning

List of all my posts for the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim: Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Hike Posts (Oct 2010 and June 2014)

  1. Jon Kenton says:

    Cool blog Eric. I just was looking at some of your photos in prep for our GC trip in 2 weeks. We are going rim2rim on June 7, maybe we will see you there. Have fun and stay safe


    • eric.rial says:

      Thanks Jon. We are really looking forward to this hike. We’ll be done a little before you get there but have a great time. I enjoyed my first time in 2010 and look forward to going both directions this time. I hope we both have terrific weather for the hike – that can make all the difference!

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