Even though is not the deepest, longest, or widest gorge in the world, Grand Canyon continues to attract about five million people each year. Down deep in the Canyon the mighty Colorado River flows between the rocks like a fearless guardian. Everyday the Canyon performs his unrepeatable show of colors. Mornings start with a purple blanket over the ancient rock layers. This hue gives a blur to the Canyon and limits the skyline visibility, but once the sun starts to rise the colors permanently change creating some unique visual scenes. Sunset comes with exceptional landscapes that no words can describe it at its true value. The only way to really experience the magic of this natural wonder is to visit it for yourself. Whether you decide to hike it or to enjoy the dramatic views from the major overlooks, Grand Canyon will not disappoint you.
My trip to Grand Canyon was last December, but the memories didn’t fade till this day. I remember during the day weather allowed us to wear just a hoodie or a light jacket, while during the night temperatures were less friendly. Being interested in hiking down the Canyon, we headed to the visitor center for some recommendation. There they don’t advise to go down to the river and back up in the same day, especially during summer months. The risks are high, heart strokes and over-fatigue being just few of them. A camping area and a ranch is available at the bottom of Grand Canyon where you can spend the night.
When you plan your trip to the Canyon make sure to book the Phantom Ranch few months ahead if you think of passing the night at the river. Mule and horseback rides are another way to go down the Grand Canyon. As for those who decide to hike, keep in mind that it is very important to have a relatively good health and physical condition. Don’t underestimate the trail and be sure to take enough water and snacks/food. Wear layers and go for sturdy shoes. If you are planing on camping make sure to pack all you might need down there.
Well, going back to my trip, we did cross the Canyon in the same day. We went down the steep South Kaibab Trail (7.1 mi) and back up via Bright Angel(9.9 mi). Both trails start on South Rim, but they are completely different.
One is sharp and has little or no vegetation, while the Bright Angel trail is more “green”. The oasis at the bottom of the Canyon is like a rain in the desert. There we stopped to enjoy our sandwiches and to take our breath. The fresh air and the silence made us think that we should have camp there for night, but as we were not properly equipped we dropped the idea.
After an hour or so, we refiled out water supplies, wished good luck to people there and headed up the trail. It took us about another 5 hours to reach the top. I must admit that it wasn’t an easy climb and my muscles were letting me know that. However, we made it to the top in one piece. I have to say that all the way down and up thorough the Canyon my brain was generating thoughts about those Clint Eastwood cowboy movies, especially after we have met one look-alike at the first stop point. Needles to say that my imagination was playing with all the views I was witnessing hiking the canyon. In my head I was the hero of my movie. 😀
If you plan to visit Grand Canyon and repeat our one day hike experience please consider these few facts:
- it is a long…very long hike
- it is tiring and exhausting
- your muscles will hurt…a lot, especially the next day(probably another week)
- you should have a relatively good health condition and physical resistance
- you should keep a fast pace and not too many long breaks, otherwise you won’t make it before sunset
TIP: *better take short 10-15 min breaks every time you feel you need it, instead of exhausting yourself awaiting for the big break.
*drink water even though you don’t feel thirsty .
DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS DURING SUMMER MONTHS, once again our trip was in DECEMBER.
If considering all pro’s and con’s you still thinking of taking the one day challenge, then I only wish you bonne chance my friend.
When I saw myself arriving at the finish I suddenly felt a huge pride taking over my chest, and I caught myself thinking “I did it, I did it .” Yes, my muscles were on fire and I was physically exhausted, but I was equally happy and exited about this experience. Would I do it again? No doubt, YES.
Stay safe and I’ll see you soon,