The Grand Canyon experience!

Close to midday we arrived at Page by Lake Powell. We filled our food storage, ate a burger and booked a cheap tent site in a RV Park. Last real shower was a few days ago. It was also a good chance to do laundry, use WIFI for contacting girlfriends and making some arrangements.

Next morning we headed west and decided to stay one night in the Kaibab National Forest, before we go to the North Rim of Grand Canyon. One nice German couple, Beate and Sigi, who were interested in our travels, visited us and left us two beers. Many thanks! It was a great lonely location in the middle of the forest. But it’s a bit scaring when you hear the coyotes hauling in the night not far away from you.

The day before we made a reservation at the North Rim Campground for the next day, but when we placed payment, the site crashed and the last campsite wasn’t further available. We got up at 5:30 am to catch this site or maybe there is one first-come-first-serve available. At 7:30 we arrived and at 9:00 the ranger at the registration said no, no way. This site is already booked. Maybe we find one outside the park or in the National Forest. Steffi, one of four German girls came along and invited us to stay with them at their site. So nice, thank you so much!

We joined them for a hike to the Bright Angel Point. Gorgeous view there! Now we realized how big the Grand Canyon really is. Rest of the day we spent with Steffi, Peggy, Juli and Angi talking, shared stories, drank some beer and sat around the campfire. Kali cooked a delicious chili, Peppi prepared for the Rim2Rim-Hike next morning and we got to bed early. It was a nice experience to meet these girls.

Next morning we went different ways: Peppi will hike from the North to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and Kali drives the 200 miles there to pick him up in two days. When Peppi got the hiking permit and reserved two campgrounds in the canyon, the ranger scared him with 120 °F (49 °C) in the canyon. Last time we had was in Death Valley and we couldn’t stand it by going with a (not acclimatized) car. “Don’t hike between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm! The heat is insane! Start at least 4:30 am!”

Peppi got up at 3:45 am and started at 4:45 from the campground. Too late he knew, but coffee, little breakfast and restroom was much more important in that moment. 😉 It was about one mile to the North Kaibab Trailhead. Still dark only the headlight showed him the way. It was not very crowded, only a few spotlights hiked down the path of the steep canyon. The sun rises slowly and from 5:30 on you recognize the silhoutte of the Canyon. To create a path some passages were bombed out of the cliffs. The view was amazing! At about 6:45 the sun hit the top of the rim and everything got colored.

Enjoying the great landscape he arrived at the Ribbon Falls at 8:45. The bridge to get there was closed, but a guy had told him that it was possible to cross the day before. Never seen a place like this before, probably one of the best places he has been been! This waterfall, the canyon around and the green vegetation invited to stay. Nobody there and nobody will get there in cause of the closed bridge. He took a long time for having brunch, a little shower, enjoying and of course for making pictures.

It was 9:45 when he left the Ribbon Falls. Far too late before it gets really hot in the following canyon! He needed too long for 9 miles (14 km), but he unterestimated that elevation of 4480 ft (1365m) downwards. Another 6 miles (9 km) and 1260 ft (385m) down to go that day. The Canyon got hot like a stove and the water consumption increased dramatically. Every possible situation he wet his shirt and cooled his head in the creek. One quarter to midday he arrived starving at the Phantom Range Canteen.

After two liter lemonade and a snack he looked for a campsite and placed his tent. At the bottom it had about 110 °F (43 °C), but it was much hotter in the canyon before. Now he knew why they call it “The Box”. Shoes off! Ahhh! Bathing shorts … Cool down in the creek! It was the only way to suffer that heat. 100 °F (37 °C) at 10:30 pm makes it impossible to sleep well. A ranger gave him the tip to sleep outside the tent and with a wet shirt. Thank you for at least four hours!

Fed up with the heat Peppi decided to try to get on top of the rim the same day. It was already 5:00 when he left the campground. It was still dark and he was very tired. Probably that was the reason why he went the wrong way. at the junction. When he crossed the Black Bridge and the path with high grade started, he realized that he was on the wrong way, the South Kaibab Trail, with no water supply. Damn! So he went back nearly one mile to the Silver Bridge at the Bright Angel Trail. Half an hour lost!

It was strenuous and very hot (86 °F / 30 °C at 4:30 am) even in the morning. Peppi was nearly done when he arrived at the Indian Garden Campground. After a little brunch and a break of half an hour he decided to continue. It was 8:45 am and when he hurries, he can reach the 3 Mile Point before the sun hits the canyon at 10:00 am. There he can rest until 4:00 pm when the sun becomes weaker. But some clouds encouraged him to continue to the 1.5 Mile Point.

As closer as you come to top, it gets much cooler than at the bottom. With plenty of little breaks he reached the top right after noon. Completely done, but the feelings of his achievement predominated. After a burger and a drink he relaxed the whole afternoon at the campground. The shower was gorgeous!

– Distance: North Kaibab to Bright Angel Trail
   22 + 1 Ribbon Falls + 1 from campground + 15,3 + 2 detour
   = 41,3 km (25.7 miles)
– Elevation: 1750 m (5740 ft) down and 1320 m (4340 ft) up
– Temperature: about 110 °F (43 °C) midday at bottom
   100 °F (37 °C) at 10:30 pm
   86 °F  (30 °C) at 4:30 am
– Consumed water 18 liter in two days
– recommended duration 4 days

Kali had instead comfortable breakfast with the girls 😉 Just kidding! He left the campsite and visited the highest viewpoint, the Grand Canyon Vista. Awesome view! Afterwards he did a hike on the Walhalla Plateau to the Cape Royal Point. Your feet get groggy when you enter the platform. Thanks god, there is hand rail. 😛 At night he stayed at the same site in the Kaibab National Forest like two days before.

Next day he hurried to South Rim and passed some of gorgeous viewpoints. Rock Bottom and the Lipan Point are probably the only ones in the National Park, where you can see the Colorado River on top. It was quite late and he was so happy to find a free camp spot near in the National Forest. Wow, so idyllic!

When Peppi left the campground at South Rim next morning to find some WIFI for contacting Kali, he was already waiting on the parking lot of the supermarket. Perfect timing! Kali showed Peppi the place where he stayed the night before. Yes, it was really worth it to stay two another days there! P.S.: Best campfire spare ribs ever!





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