After months of planning, we finally did it.
My wife, daughter and myself set off early Wednesday morning to meet an Internet Wacko and do a car swap in Barstow Ca. All this to avoid the expense of the trans Canyon shuttle, and more importantly to take our daughter out of school one less day.
It was looking like the whole thing was in jeopardy due to a sailing incident that twisted my left knee pretty good. This was 10 days before the trip.
On top of that, my wife broke her right small toe swimming, 20 days before.
The only one that was in one piece was our 7 year old daughter.
Our spirit was unbroken and we carried on with our plan.
We meet Steve right on schedule. He looked like an honest fellow that I could trust our 99 4Runner with over 200K miles on, with check engine light coming on at times, numerous squeaks and rattles and marginal tires...
After all I was getting a nice VW station wagon in exchange, with only about 100K miles. I was hoping for a brand new Volt...
We were on our way to the North Rim and Steve to the South.
We arrived in time to take a short walk down the trail , just to get a feel for it. My knee with a neoprene brace on was about a C- but I had to do it there was no turning back.
We checked in at the Kaibab Lodge, outside the park and waited for our hiking partners, friends of my wife that took the shuttle from the South side.
To my horror they unloaded 2 monster backpacks with everything in them including the kitchen sink.
This was after back and forth emails between us where we were specific about what to take and what not to.
Our packs were under 15 LBS without water, theirs 35 LBS.
Rain jackets, rain fly, backpack rain cover, day packs...and then some.
They did not want to part with any of it except one day pack and one jacket that we left in Steve's car.
After about 3 beers I felt better about the whole situation.
Morning came and we were at the trail head at 6AM.Temp was in the 30s according to Steve's Car thermometer.
We put everything on that we could, we had little warm clothing.
Using trekking poles made the knee situation better but it was the magnificent Canyon that made me forget about the pain and I started to feel good about the hike.
The views are indescribable, one must go and experience the place for themselves, no pictures or movies or words can do justice.
We were passed by a older fellow that was training for a RIM to RIM to RIM run.
He was 84 years old and was amazed that a 7 year old was doing the hike. It was us that were in awe. Here we are broken knees and broken toes and we're in our 40s.
I made sure that we're stopping every hour or so, depending if we found a shady spot or not. Food and fluids, including electrolytes for everybody.
I also insisted that we change socks and let the wet ones dry outside the pack until the next stop.
We took advantage of every stream crossing to get our shirts and hats wet.
Our daughter had a Chily pad that retain moisture for a long time and cooled her off.
Thanks to JAGC Hiker's advice we took the side trail to Ribbon Falls where we meet Steve for the key exchange.
It was the perfect spot to spend 2 hours while we waited for the sun to go down some and for us to go trough the BOX.
When we left the Falls it was getting cooler and we arrived at the infamous Box with no sun in it.
You could still feel the heat radiating of the rock walls.
Thanks John !
We arrived at Phantom Ranch about 6:30 PM , found a camp site had dinner and went to bed happy that the worst was behind us.
We used a Big Agnes tent, no rain fly, thin fleece blankets homemade with material bought from JoAnn Fabric store, foam t-rest mats.
Looking up at the sky at night was a special treat. We like this desert hiking stuff.
Next day we did a small hike along the river trail, took a dip in the Mighty Colorado River, had lemonade and sent post cards and yes , gasp, I had one beer.
Our daughter took part in 2 Ranger talks and earned a special badge that kids can only get at the Phantom Ranch.
The Phantom Rattler Badge is given to kids that hike or ride a mule to the bottom of the Canyon.
The night came and we fell asleep under the stars again.
The next morning we were on the trail by 6:30.
Going up it's the easy part and we were making good time.
It was not as hot as the first day, still we were getting wet every chance we had.
We had cloud cover the last 3 hours of the hike and even got a few sprinkles.
Eventually our daughter was going faster than the rest of the group. I told here to go at a pace that she's comfortable with and can keep that pace all day in need be.
I had to stay with her, she was passing all kind of hikers, young,old and in between, while talking and counting switchbacks out loud.
Link to a short video where she was going to give me a heart attack. http://jsclimbs.zenfolio.com/p800649264/e6fa871f2
Her and I topped of at 2PM , Daniela came 30 minutes later, our hiking companions a whole hour later.
It was one of our best hikes and would do it again if we can. I recommended to everyone young and old.
Thanks to Steve for the car swap and to JAGC Hiker for the info about the Canyon and for helping Steve with the car parking. To bad we could not meet at the rim for a beer.
I called but only got your voice mail.
Maybe next time.
If anybody want to go through about 200+ unsorted and unedited pictures here's the linky http://jsclimbs.zenfolio.com/p800649264