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).
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).
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!!!
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.
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.