Date: August 22nd, 2018
Weather: Overcast skies at the Trailhead, starting temperature 66 degrees and mid-day 85 degrees.
Total Mileage Completed : 15 miles on AZT / Feet +(-) 2382, 10.2% grade
Hike Description: So this was the day, the day Tom and I had been waiting for. Over a year of planning, three failed attempts to get a permit, weeks of day hikes with 35 plus pounds on our backs and this was the day. An easy and familiar drive to the Grand Canyon National Park and then we left the car in the overnight parking. Waiting for the South Kaibab trailhead shuttle, we looked at each other and said, this is it….
So I have had a good amount of “bloggers block” thinking about how to write about the hikes in the Grand Canyon. I didn’t really want it to be just another GC hike narrative, but I think I have limited choices here. J
The night before the mother of all hikes, the Grand Canyon got blasted by a monster summer monsoon storm. Arriving there in the early morning of August 22nd, dark cloud hung over us with a light rain. The forecast was for clearing, but remaining cloudy off and on for the next three days. “My God” I said to Tom….We got so lucky…..
Failing to get selected for permits in the months of September, October and November, we gambled, begging the park ranger for any three days they had open. “August”…they said, August 22 to 24th, which is my Birthday by odd chance. We took them quickly even knowing on those dates the Canyon could be scorching hot in late August. For weeks, Tom and I trained here in Phoenix, doing little day hikes in addition to our normal long distance AZT weekly hikes. I even drove with no AC and the windows down in Phoenix during the summer to get better accustomed to the heat. But no, we got lucky. Heading down the trail out of the South Kiabab Trailhead that morning the weather was magical. Clouds hung over the canyon with light winds blowing by. Trail workers were busy moving buckets or dirt up and down the opening corkscrew trail decent. It was surreal.
At this point I am going to end the story of the first day. I really don’t want to spoil anyone else experience of going into the canyon with my story(s). Everyone should have the right to experience those moments themselves. This is truly a must do hike.
The only think I will say, that I had a hard time online finding out for sure prior to the hike, was if that there is drinking water in the CG. To our surprise, there are water fountains at the South Kaibab trailhead, at Bright Angle Campgrounds, Cottonwood Campgrounds and the North Rim. Tom and I each packed out 5.5 liters of water with us that first day and we really did not need to. Although, there is no water from the South Kaibab trailhead to the river bottom, so you will need some.