We are heading to the Grand Canyon very soon for another Bucket List hike. I did a rim to rim hike in 2010. We hiked from the North Rim to Bright Angel Campground on Day 1 and then out to the South Rim along the Bright Angel trail on Day 2. We camped, but used the mules – duffel service to have most of our gear brought to Phantom Ranch for the overnight at Bright Angel Campground.
We had a great time, but of the four of us who did that hike I’m the only one returning for more! The others have checked this off their list, but I had a few more things I wanted to do. I started planning this years hike early last year so it could be a different experience: Early Planning Post. In August of last year it seemed the plan was really coming together: Intermediate Planning Post. We had reservations in place and a total of 7 people signed up to go. However, plans changed! My oldest daughter and her fiancée had to cancel as his college finals conflicted with our hike date. Then a couple of weeks ago my sister had to cancel as she injured her leg and will be on crutches for 6 weeks. That left the group at 3 people, which is fine, but there was one glitch in the plan. Of the original seven, three were planning to hike the rim to rim to rim, and four were planning to shuttle to the North Rim and hike the rim to rim. That plan was workable, but when the total number dropped to 3 it left one person to take the shuttle. Having one person spend the whole day alone, first on the shuttle and then at the North Rim waiting for us did not sound like a good plan.
On our last long training hike my youngest son, who has done almost all the hikes with us this year, was leading the way for the whole hike. Although he has had some issues with heights on a few hikes, he didn’t have any issues on this hike. I mentioned to him at the end of the hike that he had just done a hike that was much tougher, and with worse height conditions than we would have in the Grand Canyon. I’m not sure what prompted him to make the decision, but on the way home he told us he wanted to do the Grand Canyon hike with us. A few months ago I wasn’t sure that it would be a good idea for him to go, but I’m sure he will have no issues with the hike. In fact I’m certain he will be a lot less tired and sore than I will be!
We had added a night and part of a day in Sedona since my sister would have been visiting her sister-in-law very near there just before the hike. However, once my sister cancelled, not only hiking, but all of her vacation (bummer), we decided to skip that part of the trip. Recent fires in that area make skipping it an even easier choice. We’ll just have to explore Sedona another time. So our final plan is:
Day 1: Drive from San Diego to Grand Canyon South – leave early and get there in the early evening.
Day 2: Two of us will start hiking sunrise on the South Kaibab then North Kaibab trail to the North Rim. Two will ride the shuttle from South to North. We will meet again at the North Rim. We will be staying in a Pioneer Cabin and have late dinner reservations at the Lodge.
Day 3: Explore the North Rim lookout and trails. We will do the Cookout Experience and spend one more night in a Pioneer Cabin.
Day 4: All four of us will start hiking at sunrise the North Kaibab trail to Phantom Ranch. We have reservations for dorm beds so three of us will be in the male dorm and my wife will be in the female dorm. We will also be enjoying dinner and picking up a bag lunch for the hike out. It will be nice to soak our feet in the “very cold” water of Bright Angel Creek and then take a shower before hitting the rack.
Day 5: We’ll start hiking a little before sunrise on Bright Angel trail to the South Rim. This will be the fun part! Instead of having breakfast at Phantom Ranch (too late), we’ll have some oatmeal which really sticks with me on long hikes and runs. We’ll have some pizza and beverages when we finish and have a good nights sleep at the lodge.
Day 6: Drive from the Grand Canyon South Rim to San Diego. I’m sure we will be just a little more sore and quite a bit more tired than on the Day 1 drive.
We have a few more things to do before we go. We plan to buy some new SmartWool socks. These socks are the best and very durable, but we’ve put a lot of miles on ours over the last 4 years, so it’s time for some new ones. We need to put together a shopping list for supplies. This will include plenty of granola bars, powdered Gatorade, some apples (love these on a hike!), a couple of freeze dried meals for the full day hike from the north to the south, and we’ll restock our first aid kit (plenty of second skin patches, Motrin, and several elastic wraps for sore knees and ankles). We’ll lay out our equipment this weekend and make a list of anything else we may need.
I’ve got all the reservations trimmed back to meet the needs of 4 instead of 7, so I believe we are set! Can’t wait to get out on the trail!
Here are a couple of pictures of the trail from our last trip – looking forward to taking hundreds more!
This is Bright Angel Creek as it runs beside the North Kaibab trail. I believe we were getting close to Phantom Ranch at this point, but from what I remember we thought we were getting close for quite a long stretch…
This is a view of the black bridge, one of two bridges across the Colorado River near Phantom Ranch. I didn’t cross this bridge on the last trip, but we will at the end of the South Kaibab trail on our South to North hike.
Next post in this series: Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Hike (Day 1-2 – San Diego to the South Rim)
List of all my posts for the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim: Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Hike Posts (Oct 2010 and June 2014)