Monday, June 21, 2010

Grand Canyon rim-to-rim backpacking trip ~ Day 1, Grand Canyon, Arizona

So we began our hike at 7:10am. What we didn’t realize was that the trailhead was 2 miles from the hotel, so instead of adding 2 miles to our planned 7 miles, we took (yet another) shuttle from the hotel ($7.50 per person) to the trailhead. We looked for people driving to catch a ride (this is how many hikers hiking out get to the hotel), but no one was around at that early hour. So off we went!!

We passed the Coconino Overlook (a nice day hike from the rim) and arrived at Supai Tunnel at 8:50am, which was 1.7 miles (1441’) in the canyon. We ran into a caravan of mules and people here, as this is as far as the mules go form the north rim. (Those taking mules to Phantom Ranch leave from the south rim.) What was nice is this meant that we wouldn’t be dodging mules, and their droppings, for the rest of the descent – always a nice thing! :-) Supai Tunnel is also a nice day hike destination, and has drinking water and restrooms.

So we filled our water, and continued another mile, arriving at the Redwall Bridge at 9:52am. Although much of the trails and everything else that goes along with hiking below the rim was built in the early 1900’s, this bridge was built in 1966 after 15” of rain fell in a 36-hour period, thus wiping out most of the North Kaibab Trail.

Along the way, you can see the water pipe, which carries all the water used at the south rim from the north rim. In fact, at times you’re hiking above the buried water pipe.

Continuing on, we past Roaring Springs (where you can find drinking water and restrooms), but did not take the 0.3 mile detour to see the springs, as we’d been there back in the 1990’s and could see if nicely from the main trail. This is the last of the recommended day hikes from the north rim, as it’s 5 miles below the rim and an elevation change of 3000’.

We ventured on, and arrived at the Pumphouse Residence at noon, where we ate some lunch, chatted with some people we met on the shuttle from the south rim the day before, filled our water bottles, used the restrooms, and rested. The Pumphouse Residence is occupied by a ranger, and at one time housed a family where, according to our neighbor who did this hike a couple decades ago, their daughter would sell lemonade to (very grateful) hikers. Not sure what she charged, though…..

While we were here, we witnessed a National Park Service helicopter rescue. More on this in the next post, but don’t worry, the woman was fine – it was not life threatening.

1 comment:

Adrian Klein said...

Looks like a great time Brad. Thanks for sharing your photos and stories. I hope to do that backpack trip someday myself.

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