Hopefully I will get some photos up to post over in Fun and Games soon, but this trip really felt more like my new beginning so I would like to post about it here.
I hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim for my 30th b-day.
The plan was to hike with my SO and sister, drive up to the south rim, shuttle to the north, overnight north rim, 3 nights in canyon, overnight south, return home. When we get to the north rim SO decides he is getting a sinus infection and doesn’t feel comfortable hiking into the canyon. We just spent 12 hours in transit, have been planning and training all year, everything is prepaid, hotel is fully booked and shuttle back to the car is $85pp. My sister and I decided to go forward as planned and SO took the shuttle back to the car.
The hike in was brutal. I was upset about SO backing out, we got a late start (7:30am) waiting to give him the car keys, I had a small pack filled to capacity so my sister had to take extra gear that SO was supposed to bring. The pack ended up way too big for her. She aggravated a bum knee about a mile and a half into the canyon. Do we turn back? At some point hiking into the canyon it is easier to go forward than backward. North rim is steeper than south, it will be getting hotter, there is less water, hotels are full, and the one shuttle to the south rim (5 hour drive) had already left. Well she was wearing a knee brace, but it had been so long since the knee gave her issues that she put it on the wrong knee! She also had SO’s hiking poles, which SO and I insisted she bring. She thought they were silly and cumbersome and refused to use them but after she tweaked her knee she saw their value. I also insisted we switch packs. No more issues and we made it to camp around noon.
The next morning we freaked out again. SO had ninja packing skills. Nothing was in its original stuff sack, and we couldn’t get everything to compress back to pack-in size. We finally strapped a bunch of stuff to the outside of the pack and called it good. As we started toward the trail however, I noticed my pack was leaking. We each had 3L and I had another 24oz bottle. SO was going to bring his filter, but we didn’t have room for it in our packs. 7 miles between campsites with no potable water, we couldn’t ignore it. We had to unpack the overstuffed bag, and find the source. The hose on the bottom of the reservoir had just slipped off. Thankfully we were able to reattach it and refill it before we left camp. No more issues. Even with the late start 8:00am, we made Phantom Ranch/ Bright Angel campground by noon.
It sounds silly to say, but it was the hike in that worried me. Once we made Phantom Ranch, I knew we would be fine. The south rim is more populated, better maintained, has more water, food, phones, mules, an easier hike out, and incline is easier on the joints. I used the payphone to call SO, he was resting up at a friends’, on antibiotics, feeling better, and planning to hike in to meet us at the last campsite and hike out with us. Fantastic!
So we relaxed at Phantom Ranch, had lunch, made camp, and got 9 hours of sleep. Bliss.
The next morning we got an earlier start, and started the hike up to Indian Garden (~4.5 miles) at 6:30am. We made what we thought was awesome time (3.5 hours) and got to camp by 10am. SO didn’t even make it down until 11. So joyous reunion, catching up, swapping photos, relaxing at camp, side hike to Plateau Point, back to camp.
The next morning we got an even earlier start 6am. Hiking out, yay! It was insanely cold on the trail and we wished we’d slept in instead, but momentum and the chill carried us forward. We made it out of the canyon at 9:30am and my sister and I bought Rim to Rim shirts.
As much as I wish SO hadn’t gotten sick, I feel so much more accomplished having done it all with just my sister. This trip was my baby. It is something I wanted to do before I even started dating SO. We carried everything we needed, and encouraged each other the entire way. It is nice to know I can accomplish my dreams independent of a relationship.
Even with him joining at the end, I carried my own stuff out. We chucked trash before driving home, but when we got to the scales, my SO and I both had 27lbs packs and my sister was carrying 17lbs. At full weight the small pack was ~33lbs, so the big one must have been pushing 40lbs. My shoulder is sore, but I’m 30 now so I should probably get used to it.
I feel like I can do anything I set my mind to now