Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hiking to Phantom Ranch

We started out early this morning because we wanted to get to the bottom with time to explore before dark. We decided to take the South Kaibob trail down because it was shorter, but steeper than the Bright Angel Trail. We thought that it might be cold or rainy as that was what the forecast said yesterday, but we were pleasantly surprised that it was sunny. When I first saw the trailhead I thought that the trail would be easy because it looked more like a series of steep ramps than a hiking trail. Boy was I wrong ! This trail had loose gravel and was sloped so sharply that you had to walk carefully so as not to slide. What was worse is that going down puts all the stress on your ankles and knees… with my flat feet, this made for INTENSE pain by the end of the day. Not only that, but as yet we had had cloudy skies to keep us cool. Today was bright sun and the temperature went up as we descended the canyon. I did manage to take some AWESOME pictures so check out the link at the end of this post! It took us 6.5 hours to get down and to be honest I was hurting pretty bad by the time we made it to the bottom. Rachael seemed fine and full of energy the entire time and kept pushing me to “hurry and get to the bottom”. She was anxious to see the Colorado River. When we finally made it to the bottom of the canyon there was an area of beach called “boat beach” where all the rafting trips depart from. We were so hot and tired we just collapsed on that beach and soaked our feet in the ice cold water ! Lying on that beach was so relaxing that I did not want to get up but I knew we needed to get checked in and I wanted desperately to change my clothes. After lounging for about half an hour, we hiked ½ mile more to Phantom Ranch. We were staying in the dorm/cabins so we checked in and put our stuff away and headed for the Bright Angel Creek which is a tributary of the Colorado River. In the creek we soaked our feet and legs and met other weary travelers. It turns out that what was a “feat” for us was not a big deal to many avid hikers out here. Many hard core hikers go from North to South rim in just a few days. We even met a man who RUNS down and up the canyon in ONE DAY ! Still, I am proud of myself for making it down in one piece ! After relaxing for a couple hours it was dinner time at Phantom Ranch. I must say I was a little wary about what the meals would be like. We had to prepay for them over 2 months in advance and $25 per meal seemed a lot for “Hiker’s Stew”. I was very surprised at the dinner. We had an awesome salad, INCREDIBLE beef stew, corn bread, drinks and dessert ! It really was delicious and I’m not just saying that because we were hungry and tired. What makes it really interesting is that all the supplies have to come in via pack mule. After dinner Rachael and I headed for our dorm. We were able to see the full moon in the canyon at night but the picture didn’t come out too well. As for the canyon itself, I took many, many, pictures but pictures just don’t do it justice. AND, there are no words to really describe how AWESOME, INCREDIBLE, MAGNIFICENT, AMAZING, WONDEROUS, the canyon is… you really do have to see it yourself. BUT, until then you have the pictures I took. When we got to our dorm, we got settled in for the night but chatted with the other 6 woman who shared it with us. Most of them were from the same family and they were taking a family trip together. This was the extended family of mother, adult children and their spouses, and their children. Wow, I wish MY family would get together and do something like this !

Today’s pictures can be found at :

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