we had the opportunity to hike the grand canyon with brain's family in june. you have to book the cabins at the bottom of the grand canyon a year in advance, so we committed quite a while ago, & i'm not even sure how it came so fast.
i wasn't even really sure how to prepare for this hike. brian and his brothers have all done it before, and so i'd heard lots of stories about the hike. some good.....some, not so good. :)
brian and i did a few hikes together to prepare, and other than that my plan was to just stay in running shape--however i did something to my hamstring in april..ish and so my running came to a pretty quick halt. so basically i felt very unprepared to hike for 2 days straight.
we drove down the day before and got to the north rim in the afternoon. we walked around, had dinner and stayed in the cutest little cabins. i took this picture of brian and then he told me that we would be over on that other side in two days. i wasn't sure i'd make it.
we started out bright and early the next morning. 5 am to be exact. it was actually an hour later than i was used to waking up, so i was feeling pretty good.
the first day was 14.5 miles. the first 5 ish miles is all downhill and in the shade, and the rest is mostly flat..just walking across the bottom of the canyon. i remember thinking "this isn't bad at all." and it really wasn't. i think the worst part for me was having to go to the bathroom way before we were ever going to get to the bathroom. (they have super nice porta-potties on the trail..heavenly!)
the end of the 14 mile hike you go through something they call "the box." you hike through two huge walls of rock on either side of you...and the rock walls trap the heat in, so it's supposedly 15-20 degrees hotter in there than anywhere else. (and it's already around 110 degrees at the bottom of the canyon) SO, we were dreading that. BUT, it really wasn't as bad as we were expecting. we hiked on the perfect day because it was a little bit cooler (but not cold by any means) and there was a little breeze every once in a while. the only bad part about the box, for us, is that it was the end of the hike and we couldn't really feel our feet. we were ready to be done.
we finally made it to phantom ranch! where we camped at the bottom of the canyon. when we got down there we headed to the colorado river to jump in and cool off. On the way to the river we saw a sign that said it was currently 130 degrees. woof! but the good news is the river was the coldest body of water i've ever felt. i was the only one that didn't pack my swimming suit (dummy) so i got in up to my waist, but no further. because as hot as it was, that water was too cold to really be refreshing. :)
after a swimming we all took a little nap & then headed to dinner. when you stay in the cabins they make you a home cooked meal to eat for dinner which is heavenly after eating snacks all day. after dinner & a shower it was off to bed @ about 8 am for another early morning. one kind of funny thing--we rented 2 cabins at phantom ranch, but unfortunately the AC in the girl's cabin wasn't working. so, we carried all of our mattresses into the boy's cabin & all slept under the same roof for the night. it was a little squishy, but totally worth it for the cool air.
we started day 2 off bright and early again. this day is a total of 9.5 miles. the first 5 of it is a little bit easier, getting through the rest of the canyon to the south rim, with just a little uphill here and there. in fact it was probably my favorite part of the hike. the last 4.5 miles is basically straight up. switchbacks one after another....until you get to the top. thankfully they have a water stop every 1.5 miles--because i needed it.
after a million switchbacks and a million breaks we finally made it! i'm so thankful i had brian to pull me up the south rim. he didn't let go of my hand the last couple of miles, because if he would have we would have stopped way too often. :) he also carried tons of water, so that when i would run out, i could drink his. :) i'm not really sure where that boy learned to hike. but he's really good at it. (in fact, the first time he hiked the grand canyon he RAN the last mile and a half to the top. ridiculous.) oh, we also had a fun encounter with a rattle snake about a mile from the top, but thankfully we made it ouit alive. :)
the rest of the girls and our cute nephews were waiting for us at the top with all of our favorite treats. we ate lunch and then checked into our hotel to shower and clean up and take a nap before dinner. :)
we had such a great time, and i can't wait to do it again. (maybe in a couple of years...) :)