USA roadtrip – Grand Canyon rim to rim hike

Woah. I’ve barely had a free moment since I left Las Vegas. It’s been go go go. Camp, hike, drive, camp, hike, drive.

The Grand Canyon trek, along with Yosemite, were the two most exciting places for me before I set out on this roadtrip. Was it worth it? No doubt! Fantastic experience.

I had applied for an elusive Grand Canyon backcountry camping permit back on 1 January for a four day crossing of the canyon. North Rim to South Rim. These permits are hard to get, I believe the figure is one in three applicants are successful. So obviously I was really happy to be one of the “chosen ones”.

The total distance was only 40 odd kilometres. Just a cruisy 10 kilmetres a day so plenty of time to just sit back and “breathe it in”. Get to know the canyon inside out.

It has to be said again that the weather was beautiful. The week previous had been a scorcher, but this week was perfect. There’s a huge temperature difference between the rim and the floor. About 15 degrees celsius (which now that I think about it makes sense according the the rule of thumb – 10 degrees per 1000 metres).

Brilliant weather and a strange piece of flora on the walk to Plateau Point.
Brilliant weather and a strange piece of flora on the walk to Plateau Point.

I started out this trip alone but at the second camp I met a couple of gals from Ohio, Amanda and Sarah. We hung out a fair bit until I got bored and hiked out of the canyon – ok no. Until the trip was over.

We mainly laughed at my horrible looking microwavable meals I was eating un-microwaved, my squirrel chasing finesse, and my strict nazi-like criteria BEFORE you can take a photo. Plus we were just plain delirious dehydrated hikers (only joking Mum).

Me, Sarah, Amanda. We're laughing at the "crappy photo" about to be taken. Turned out good though.
Me, Sarah, Amanda. We’re laughing at the “crappy photo” about to be taken. Turned out good though.
Dinner anyone? This was one of the better tasting ones. Mmmm three cheese.
Dinner anyone? This was one of the better tasting ones. Mmmm three cheese.

Looking back on the trip there are a few things that really surprised me.

First there was this image in my head that I’d hike down the north rim, then spend the next so many days hiking across the open, desert like floor with little shade or water before I hiked back out. No, no, no. Not the case at all. The canyon never did open out, just a whole series of narrow-ish canyons and the trail followed a flowing stream most of the way!

Then there were the runners. I couldn’t believe the number of people running (or even walking) rim to rim in one day. That’s a 12 hour walk at least.

I got talking to a runner and he even said “It’s a bit of a thing for us runners to do the double. Rim to rim to rim in one day. 48.8 miles”. That’s almost two marathons back to back!!!

Nearly at the top!
Nearly at the top of south rim!

And the last big surprise was “arrrr my pack is so heavy”. I’d never done a hike with a heavy pack, or a multi-day hike at that and it’s hard work! I guessed my pack weighed almost 20kg (40 pounds) and I had to stop every half hour to rest. When I got to camp I generally slept for a couple of hours before I got back to it.

That said there were people of all ages hiking rim to rim. Couples in their sixties hiking across in just one day. I’m just not battle hardened enough.

Me having one of my breaks. I was getting faster (or my pack was just lighter).
Me having one of my breaks. I was getting faster (or my pack was just lighter).

Wildlife was quite abundant. Lots of lizards, squirrels, and some mule deer. Because I was practically “breathing it in” I even saw the rare and very crowd pleasing California Condor…twice. Up to a ten foot wing span.

Overall it was fantastic. Ribbon falls and Plateau Point were the highlights. Yosemite still claws the win in my opinion though.

Ribbon Falls.
Ribbon Falls
Plateau Point. That's not the very edge by the way.
Plateau Point

13 thoughts on “USA roadtrip – Grand Canyon rim to rim hike”

  1. That is such a good blog Daniel! The part when you said you just got bored and walked out of the canyon! Thats something Dad would do… just get the damn job done. Haha.

    Meals looked like absolute scum. Absolutely fowl! Theres not much more to say about that really.

    But you never told me you took Subway on the hike. Practically “breathing it in.” Haha. And tell me, was it degrees colder at the top of the canyon and hotter at the bottom? It could go either way.

    1. Well thanks for saying its such a good blog! Yeah I thought you’d like that “breathing it in” reference. Just absorbing the scenery to the maximum.

      And yes it’s colder at the top and hotter at the bottom.

  2. Hi Dan,
    The Canyon was not what I expected either. Some beautiful scenery – great photos. I figure you spent your birthday with the girls in the photo and those meals – yuk – I hope that wasn’t your birthday dinner.
    I guess you must have been hungry so anything would do. Where are you headed next?
    Love Mum

  3. That picture isn’t too crappy at all! Hi Daniel, glad to see we made the cut πŸ™‚ I hope the rest of your birthday went well! And don’t worry, Daniel’s mom, we gave him some of our ramen noodles after realizing what he’d brought to eat. This blog is awesome by the way, I love the map feature. The photo of ribbon falls is gooorrgeous! Your nazi-photo philosophy seems to work for you. Safe travels, can’t wait to see what you post next!

    1. Hey Amanda, thanks for commenting and I’m so glad you think this blog is the bees knees πŸ™‚ Those ramen noodles were good alright too. Maybe your creative writing skills will come in handy for your travel blog…but remember it helps if you’re travelling first.

      1. Yes….yes traveling I’ve heard does wonders for content when trying to write a travel blog. I’ll keep it in mind, thank you. πŸ˜›

  4. I’m so happy the picture of us made the cut, considering your such high standards for posting pictures! Haha. I hope the rest of your trip is going well. Maybe our paths will cross again someday πŸ™‚

    1. Yeah Sarah, it only just made the cut haha. Did you see the jumping pic is on my blog too. In the photo gallery for USA. Thanks for making this trip really fun and best of luck for the future.

  5. Brilliant pics Dan. What an adventure!! Any rattlers in the Canyon… apart from your stomach. Living on the edge… the ONLY way to go Dan Mike K

    1. Hi Mike, yeah there’s definitely rattlesnakes in the canyon but I didn’t come across (or hear) any. It was a great experience, living on the edge literally.

  6. Gosh, you must be fit. I’d have trouble with all the inclines – never mind having to carry a heavy backpack. And of course, you’re still young enough to do it. Keep up the good ‘work’.

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