Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim for beginners
On Friday morning, I decided to hike down the South Kaibab trail. Its an easy (for me) 7 miles and I enjoy watching people run up and down this trail. After a few hours and one camelback later, I crossed the black bridge and arrived at Phantom Ranch to have a Coors Light, my first. NPS was nice enough to arrange my travel arrangements less than a week in advance at three campgrounds. So, I set up shop at the Bright Angel Campground. I brought my tent, sleeping bag, a small blanket, snacks and clothes. Thats it! On day 1, I ate dinner at Phantom Ranch and don’t really interact with anyone. There was a beautiful sunset and the stars shined bright and it was 80 degrees during the day and about 50 at night, so it was nice enough to still sleep in the nude.
Day 2: Saturday, I arose bright eyed and bushy tailed. I start out my mornings with a cup of coffee and the song; A Beautiful Morning by the Rascals and I didn’t change down at the bottom of the canyon. Once fully up and washed (to some extent), I make my way to Cottonwood Campground toward the North Rim. It was a glorious walk with splendid and decorative tree colors and the crisp autumn air reminded me of falls in NY.
Not too many people were camping so I took a day trip to Ribbon Falls. This is a hidden gem in the Grand Canyon that I heard was “life-changing” so I wanted to try it out. After a tricky trail, I arrived. People were leaving when I arrived, so I climbed to the top and undressed and showered under the waterfall. It was heavenly!
Pro tip: never drink from a waterfall if your not at the very top of it.
Day 3: Sunday, I wake up at 6 am and make a break for the top of the canyon. I beat all other hikers up to the North Rim and wish them well on their way up while passing them on my way down again. I tell people of my dream of making it down to the bottom of the canyon by dusk and they congratulate me. It was 7 miles to the top and 14 miles to the bottom. It took me 12 hours, but just as I passed the welcome sign to phantom ranch, they were ringing the dinner bell. The canyons walls started to look 3D to me*, so I was desperate for food at this point. I make a bunch of friends at the dinner table, but couldn’t stay too long before I made my way to bed.
*My initial plan was to make it up to Indian Gardens and camp there, but back were I started was good enough for me.
Day 4: Monday, because I have all day to hike up the canyon, I cherish my last moments at Phantom Ranch. This could be my last time. I take my cup of coffee and head up Bright Angel Trail. I see people I’ve met many days prior and we reminisce on the trail. There was a young couple that trailed me. The woman was in search of a workout and zoomed ahead. The guy, with a 50 lb pack, lagged behind. Josh and I became friends. He liked the pace with which I hiked. After Indian Gardens on November 5th, there was no more water access and Josh did not know this. I gave him water and stayed with him the rest of the way. After we laughed and finished, he said, “ I wouldn’t have made it without you” and I said it goes both ways!
My body aches, but I went to McDonalds to celebrate!!