Loc: Mission Viejo CA.
Nothing wrong with car camping, we camped in our 4Runner many times, waiting for day brake to start a hike.
I agree that that key exchange is critical, we do have a hide a key on the 4Runner just in case. It saved my wife a tow bill once or twice. Steve is not flying home from Vegas. He's driving from Fresno, we'll meet in Barstow where we'll exchange cars. We're going to take his vehicle to the North Rim and leave it in the hikers parking lot. Hopefully there will be spots available.
Both Steve and the J-gang will leave stuff behind in the vehicles, things that we may not want to take to the bottom and up. Those things can be returned via mail, after the trip , or we can meet in the Sierra a few weeks later.
Always trust a man that likes his IPA in the morning!
Whitney Fan wrote: > As Alice said, "curioser and curioser". Stealth camp, aka Commando camp: quick and light, sleep in the woods, with a bag and mattress only. Walk in after dark, leave before dawn, leave nothing but footprints. I could sleep in J's car, but with any traffic cruising by, it could make for a restless night. If I get there before dark so have time to look around, the hiker parking lots might be isolated enough to sleep inside the car. Again, probably not permitted, but turning in late and getting out early ought to work.
It's not so much "cheap" as much as it is "No room at the inn", and also convenience/proximity to the trail head.
As for St. George and other towns: I'll get a short list of motels, and call and find a room once I get on the road with cell reception. By that time, a shower will be welcome. ;-)
> brunch (or whatever) would be even better I wrote "LAS" only meaning I'd be coming through Las Vegas. I'll have a huge appetite... so a big meal will be welcome.
The May average high of 92 F doesn't bother me. I'll be hitting the bottom around 9 AM if all goes as planned. I'll be well on my way up the Bright Angel Canyon by noon. And I live in Fresno -- It gets just as hot here.
I didn't notice the different trail link. Got to the right one anyway. I'll study the trail descriptions better when time gets closer. Not worried about the North Kaibab trail ...I hiked it ...39 years ago!!! That trip was also in May: Tried to pack clear to the river, but got a late start, feet were killing me (story of my life--boots didn't fit), so camped along the way. Hiked sans-pack to the river, took a swim, and then hiked out the next day. Say... might have to swim again, before the beer. I do recall the water being icy though.
> must be high drama planning to arrange when and where you'll meet Julius for the key swap Shouldn't be too bad. They'll be on their first leg, between North Rim and ...maybe Ribbon Falls? The only off-trail detour that I know of is Ribbon Falls, and I hope to do that myself. Otherwise, how could we miss? J has a spare key, and I'll be carrying one, too. So in the odd situation of no meeting, we still have backup keys.
> You should be excited about finally doing this hike -- its a gas. Definitely am excited. Planning this is a lot of fun.
Julius S wrote: > We're going to take his vehicle to the North Rim and leave it in the hikers parking lot. Hopefully there will be spots available. I cannot imagine the parking lot being full. When I called the wilderness ranger today, he said May 15 is the FIRST day the north rim will be open!!!
As for leaving stuff behind: I'm planning on getting one of those flat-rate USPS shipping boxes, and stuffing everything I leave behind in it, so all you need to do is drop it off at any post office.
Steve&Julius- May 15th is opening day for the N Rim- so the trails and especially the N Rim complex are going to be very, very busy. There will be alot of company on the trails..... Steve- There is a Hiker shuttle that leaves the Backcountry Office and Bright Angel Lodge at 5,6 and 7am.; and is a direct ride to the S. Kaibab Trailhead. The advantage of this is that Julius (and his 7 yr old daughter) coming out at the BA Trailhead will be closer to his car.(Walking or 2 shuttle stops) The 5 am shuttle puts you at the S. Kaibab Trailhead at 5:30, the river around 9:30 and through "the Box" on the N. Kaibab by 11am. This would be the latest I'ld start; as it puts you on the 5 mile, no shade portion of the N. Kaibab (and the hottest section)in the middle of the day. Good news its relatively flat, so one can make good time from Phantom Ranch/BA Campground to Roaring Springs in under 4-5 hrs. The accumilation of the altitude, heat and desert climate will start taking its toll on the Roaring Springs to Trailhead section- 4000' in 4 miles at 4-8k elevation. If you want to leave earlier, the two options are: parking at the BA trailhead/Backcountry Office and taking a taxi; or parking at the Parking lot at the picnic area at the road junction to the S. Kaibab/Yaki Point; and adding another 1/2 to 3/4 mile to your walk; and making it a little more challenging to Julius to get his car. If Julius has to go to this parking lot- he'll take 2 shuttles and over an hour to get to the S Kaibab Trailhead stop, and walk back to his car; provided he is out of the canyon by sunset. Otherwise he'ld need a taxi as well. Julius's daughter will determine how soon they 'top out' (but should plan a late afternoon stop at the ice ream store near the BA trailhead.)
Camping at S Rim that weekend will be challenging. Mather Campground will be full(Check Rec.gov); there may be a chance of a cancelation and get a site as a walk-up. The Forest Service Campground TenX , outside the park; probably will have space- just a little farther from the S. Kaibab Trailhead. There is National Forest just outside the S. Rim Entrance- so 1/4 mile off the road and its the cheapest option. It would be the same on the N. Rim- "no room in the inn or campground" if you don't have a reservation by now. There is Forest Service land outside the Park near Jacobs Lake Lodge that provides that free camping to rest after your 21 mile walk. The S. Kaibab vs Bright Angel going north: the elevation change and distance are very close from rim to the river- less than 50 m in elevation. The difference is the 2 mile River Trail walk on the BA to the N. Kaibab; and the S. Kaibab is a direct cross of the river and to Phantom Ranch/BA Campground complex. The BA has water stations at 1 1/2, 3 mile and Indian garden (half way),vs carrying 3-4 liters on the S Kaibab. One should always have a way to treat water on the N. Kaibab; because: if the water lines are broken, there will be no potable water on the N. Kaibab. The Good news is that the trail parallels the BA creek to Roaring Springs, so the worse case would be needing 4 liters at Roaring Springs to get to the rim if the water at Supai Tunnel is off. There have been the typical line breaks this winter(the line currently has a break between the Box and Ribbon Falls.) The Back Country Office updates the water status on the park website, and you can check once at the park for last minute planning/update.
JAGCHiker: Now I understand the meaning of your initials! Thanks for all the helpful info.
I am hoping to arrive at the S Rim the afternoon before, in time to scope things out. I'll talk with the taxi service that afternoon, and if they sound reliable enough, I'll have them pick me up about 4 AM at the Bright Angel trail head. Otherwise Julius will have to do the shuttle to retrieve his car -- the Wilderness ranger I talked to suggested I park at the Pipe Creek Vista overlook, or near the BA trail head and ride the 5 AM bus. I need to find out whether Sprint cell service works at the S Rim.
Are you saying the North Rim on opening day & day after is really crowded? Must be due to rising temps, so people want to hike before it gets too hot at the bottom. I would have thought it would be less crowded due to the early date.
Thanks on the camping info. You can read my plans a few posts above. I'll try to turn in at 9, get up by 3... I should be ok.
Loc: Mission Viejo CA.
For the J gang getting the car after we top on BA is not a problem. We're planing an alpine start out of the Canyon, to beat the heat and to get on top before dark. Daddy wants to take sunset pictures. http://jsclimbs.zenfolio.com/p922760692
We have reservations to stay Saturday night at the lodge, wife did all the planning, and got a place to stay early. I can leave the girls at the ice cream place, than take shuttles, or get a ride to our car, wherever it may be.
Tomorrow we're going to do a local training hike. Holy Jim Trail, on Saddleback Mountain in Orange County. It's 8 miles one way, 4K elevation gain, steep and hot. The motivation? She can watch a movie when we get back and have some of mom's Valentine day chocolate. Daddy will have some ice cold Stone IPA
Julius- Can't emphasize enough to remember that to focus on her enjoyment will make or break your walk. I've seen an 18month,3 yr old ejoying the R2R with their dad, and mom and the teenage daughter were ready to just get it over with; largely due to the additional weight they were carrying to compensate for the little ones and dad having a child carrier.
Stop at the bookstore and get the Trailguides for the N.KAIBAB and the Bright Angel. There are a lot of interesting history, geological and wildlife info; so you all can appreciate whats being walked through. There are other books for kids that may be of help to keep her interest.
Phantom Ranch lemonade is a must.
Don't rush, help her focus on the neat things you'll see; keep her eating and drinking fluids regularily to keep her energy level up; take breaks; and remember her body hasn't developed nor does she have the experience to let her (and you) know what is going on her body. Kids tend to go until they drop-they haven't learned how to pace themselves. Pay attention to her, and when you see/hear something that is different than her normal personality- stop and fix it. Families have a great time when they focus on enjoying the experience; and not being focused on a 'timeline' based on adults priorities. These tips are for any activity- Whitney included. The big difference is that at Grand Canyon one starts at the summit, walks down to base camp; then walks back to the summit- The reverse of most other hikes; and explains the looks you'll see of hikers going back up on both rims.
Steve- A couple more 'food for thought' to help getting the most restful sleep prior to your walk with your options: 1) If you want to get out of the car and have fewer/no interuptions- The forest service lands just outside the south entrance is a good option. If you go farther back in, you'll have less traffic noise; a little rise will block the noise/light. After 9pm most of the vehicle traffic leaving or going into the the park is minimal.
If you want to sleep in the car; then you may want to go down to Grand View Trailhead. Its located farther away from East Rim Drive so it will be quieter from vehicle traffic than the S. Kaibab picnic lot option. After dark the only car traffic in the lot would be late exiters(which you can count on one hand and have 2-3 fingers left.) It is about 8 miles further east; and has a section for overnight parking. Downside is a longer drive; upside its a lot quieter.
Bright Angel Trailhead and Backcountry Parking Lot will be the noisest. Shuttle busses run right by them until 10:30ish. And there is a hotel/resturant in close proximity to both; so it wouldn't get 'canyon quiet' until after the bar closes.
The BA trailhead parking AND the S. Kaibab Parking lots probably will have R2R foot and car traffic at all hours.
A note on Stealth Camping inside the park: Camping inside the park, in an area not designated for camping; is not allowed. Is it done? yes.
Car sleepers at trailheads usually are not ticketed; as long as the occupants of the vehicle are quiet and not bringing attention to themselves-noise, items outside the car, etc. The only downside would be if a Ranger patrol spotted a body(You) in a car and did a 'courtesy check' to ensure you weren't dead or in need of medical aid because of finishing a R2R, etc. Grand Canyon annually averages 12 hikers dying below the rim,and 2-3 suicides a year; so this isn't 'Ranger Hasseling'.
Someone who sets up in the pines and isn't taking a break; will more than likely get a ticket for 'camping out of bounds' and then have to move; provided they are seen or brought to the attention of the rangers; ie setting up a tent/bivy/ sleeping bag in close proximity to the S. Kaibab Picnic parking lot that could be seen by a patrol. And this being a busy spring R2R hiker time; there will be more Ranger LE patrols/hiker aid responses to the S. Kaibab trailhead area. (This is why I've been leading you away from this option.Don't need the extra expense of a ticket and losing sleep due to having to get up and move..)
I may want to take an early morning walk that Friday morning; and could save you the taxi fee- More on this option as we get closer to May.
JA: Thanks SO much for the additional info. You can be sure I am reading and re-reading what you've written.
I am trying to get a handle on where there might be an available spot in the National Forest area S of the S entrance. I have the S entrance station on this map in the crosshairs. The traffic circle in Tusayan is about 1.5 mile south. Maybe you can identify where you might suggest for a "legal" bivy spot.
I have a hiker friend who is definitely interested in coming along. He's been on Shasta and Whitney with me several times, and first declined because he's not in shape. But that can be remedied in the next 10 weeks or so.
If we stealth camp, we'd walk far enough away from the road so there wouldn't be any traffic noise, and completely out of sight of any spotlights or whatnot from the paved roads. We're definitely not taking a tent.
I am definitely interested in the early morning option. At this point, I'm planning on hiking on Thursday rather than Friday.
JAGCHiker, you said, "Grand Canyon annually averages 12 hikers dying below the rim,and 2-3 suicides a year . . . " .
I recall only one news report last year of a hiker dying below the rim. If an average of 12 a year do that I'd like some credible documentation of it. Not saying it doesn't happen, just saying I'd like some real proof of it!
"Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon" by Michael P Ghiglieri and Thomas Meyers; puts out a new edition nearly every year; due to the 'continuing research'; and they(every fatality based on a medical report)are all listed there. Two years ago there were 12 hiker deaths below the rim, and thats subtracting out the suicides and boat trip fatalities. If I remember correctly; there were a total of 19 fatalities; the second worst year since the 1956 Airplane Mid-Air Collision. 2012 Summer was cooler and had a good monsoon season,so there were fewer- dropping below the average. When the rangers and all media concerning hiking at GC don't recommend hiking to the river and back in a day during the summer- theres a reason....Often there is something more flashy in the news than another fatality here; and many simply don't make the press nor are the causes released to the public.
On average, 150-200 life threatening medevacs are conducted here; between June and Sept. 750 hiker assists were conducted in 2012 between May and Sept. An assist is when the hiker requires to be helped to walk or be carried out. Thats 1% of the hikers on the cooridor trails during that time. A study by CJ Malcom, the PSAR (Preventive Search and Rescue) Supervisor; also shows some more intersting #'s: The PSAR Teazm contacted 80k hikers in 2012;and 40% of those were unprepared for the walk/hike they were attempting. Since its inception in 1997; PSAR rangers and volunteers have lowered the life threatening incidents at GC by 40%. This programs success has brought its implementation to other parks- Yosemite, Rocky, Mt. Rainier; to help address the same common cause. Grand Canyon just sees soo many more people in a very special environment, doing the reverse of what they are used to.
CJ Malcom will be happy to discuss any of his findings.
When I open my pack to give food/water/electolytes/etc to a hiker, I tell them "its ok; I don't carry this for me. I carry it for you." I have assisted someone every month of the year; so I simply expect to have a hiker contact on every walk below the rim I go on; and during the summer 80% of them result in a hiker assist. I much rather educate, feed and walk with them -than have me and 8-16 others have to carry them.
I see the publication you reference is readily available for purchase.
I've got two immediate reactions to what you posted.
One, gives me a new sense of pride in having completed my own rim to rim hike in October. Particularly because of what you've said about "hiker assists". Those who read my trip report know about the self doubt experience I faced when my fuel was empty, wondering if I myself might need a "hiker assist".
Two, the overall projection of so much going wrong with so many people here -- it makes me wonder if our Mt. Whitney venue has anywhere near so much going on to match that. My initial impression is, no -- no way. Or is it a case of just as much going wrong on Whitney but not being as publicized? Others want to comment on this?
Steve, I'll bet this information that has been posted ramps up the attraction of your own planned hike, right?!
> it makes me wonder if our Mt. Whitney venue has anywhere near so much going on to match that.
I believe there are serious problems occurring nearly daily on the Mt Whitney Trail. However, since people who get into trouble can turn around and go down to safety, they can often be helped out by their friends. And also, since going down is so much easier, their problems do not get worse as they evacuate.
On the other hand, in Grand Canyon, when someone is in trouble, they need to go up, which is so much more difficult. In addition, the going up is in the second half of their hike, and they are most vulnerable at the very end of the hike.
Due to the differences, I'd say that given the same number of hikers, the problems at Grand Canyon occur more frequently, and are potentially more serious.
> Steve, I'll bet this information that has been posted ramps up the attraction of your own planned hike, right?!
Not sure if you are referring to the dangers and numbers of deaths, or just to the helpful info JA has been serving up. The dangers don't make it more attractive. I just want to experience the fun and beauty of the place. The dangers however will certainly be on our minds as we prepare for and start on our hike.
I was referring to the dangers. Sort of adds to the overall cachet of the hike. Understood that we go for the beauty and other things -- but the sense of adventure is heightened knowing that the whole experience is potentially not a free ride!
Julius and Steve- A note concerning yesterdays action and the misinformation (political positioning?) Concerning the effects on the National Parks that has been in the media.
Grand Canyon planned for this and visitors will see minimal impact. The park is open, all activities are being conducted- ranger talks, campgrounds, hotels,etc.; and the N. Rim should open as planned (weather permitting). Steve- I'll check the potential campsites in the forest once we start seeing more visitors-spring break. These don't need to be commando- you'll be able to get a good nights sleep....