Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Grand Canyon Trip 2013 - Part I

Not much motorcycle action in this post.  Not to worry, the Tucson Vintage Bike Show is coming up in a couple of weeks and I should have bike pictures galore.  Until then, I wanted to share some pictures of a trip my family and I took last weekend.  This vacation was planned a year in advance by my dad.  He wanted to try to get as many family members together for a hike down the Grand Canyon.  Last March we called up and got hotel reservations, camping permits, meals, and mule bags ordered.  Then a year went by, in a blink of an eye, and the trip was suddenly upon us.  So last Wednesday Kiri and I, along with my parents and sister's family, all headed up to the canyon.  After checking in at the Maswik Lodge we all walked over to the rim to see what awaited us the next day. 

My mom and dad.  This would be my dad's fourth trip down to the bottom and my mom's first time hiking it.
My sister's family. Katy, her husband Kenny, and their kids Maddi and Colton.  This was the first time Kenny had ever been to the Grand Canyon, and the first time any of them had hiked down.
One last picture as the sun was starting to set.  We headed over to the Bright Angel Lodge for some grub before getting a good nights sleep.
On the south rim there are two possible trails to take.  The Bright Angel and the South Kaibab.  If you're curious on the distances I've got a PDF link to the same map we used while hiking down.  It takes awhile to load so don't freak out if you just see a grey page.  The vital info is all on page two.  We wanted to see both trails so we decided to take South Kiabab down and the Bright Angel trail up.  Here is Kiri waving at me to stop taking pictures and get my a#$ moving, otherwise she was going to hike down without me.
There I am.  You can almost hear the Indiana Jones music in the background.
I don't care how many times you hike this place, it will always amaze you with the views and scenery around every corner.
Looking down on Kenny and Colton.  I'm sure they were discussing some deep philosophical issues.  Ok who are we kidding?  They were arguing over who could make louder burb noises.
If you enlarge this photo you can see the trail as it snakes it's way from the left, all the way down to the switchbacks just right of center.  It was a beautiful day for a hike!
"Just back a few more steps guys.  I almost have all of you in the shot."
About half way down we ran into a mule train coming up from the bottom.  I've never taken the mules, I much prefer to hoof it on my own two feet.  That being said this is the first trip where we paid to have some of our gear taken down by mules.  You can pay $60 for a single 30lb bag one way.  Kiri and I sent our tent, two sleeping bags, tarp, and air mattress via mule.  Some of you are probably yelling "cheaters!".  All I have to say is 1) I have hiked the canyon with all my gear before.  And 2) Kiri and I were hoping to tackle the North Rim the next day so we wanted to take it easy heading down.
There were straight sections.
 And steep switchback sections.
The hike was starting to take it's toll.  Shoes were coming off. My wife was sleeping in a ditch.  Dad was dipping into the whiskey.  We're not really sure who mom was talking to.  It was grim.  Real grim.
We pushed on through the pain.  Found this little fella taking in the view over the Colorado river and Bright Angel campground on the right.  Our destination for the evening.
 What a cute couple!  I was flying the wool socks pretty high.  There are no dress codes in the canyon, or at least I've been told as much.  Those with a fine eye to detail will notice my wife no longer has a hat.  A strong gust of wind and the canyon took it's payment for letting us hike down.
 There are two bridges crossing the Colorado at the bottom.  This one had a bridge troll that you had to fight before being able to reach the other side.  Wait, I'm mistaken that's my niece.  On a serious note the raised boards in the center are for the mules.  Their hoof's wear the wood down pretty quick.  So they put those down and swap them out as needed.
 Home sweet home!  Kiri and I decided to camp.  My parents and sister's clan stayed in bunk houses at Phantom Ranch.  There are ammo cans at each camp site.  You store all your food in those so the squirrels, rats, deer, etc. can't sneak off with the good stuff.
Phantom Ranch has quite a few small cabins you can rent, but they were all booked a year in advance. So the bunk house was the next best option if you didn't want to stay in a tent.  They even had showers!
Did I mention we paid for dinners and breakfasts at Phantom?  This was the steak dinner meal.  Camping is pretty rough stuff people!  It takes a lot of fortitude and character.  I really had to dig deep when they brought out the chocolate cake for dessert.  If you do get a chance to hike the canyon I encourage you to buy at least one meal here.  They do an unbelievably good job!!
After dinner Kiri and I wandered back to camp.  This is looking downstream and all the various camp spots are located to the right.
After a long day of hiking, cooling off your feet can't be beat!
Well hi there little lady!  How u doin?
Stay tuned for Day 2! when Kiri and I tackle the North Rim.  Will we make it back alive?  And if we don't who's typing up this blog???


  1. You strange, strange man. Lovely posts dear!

  2. That is so great. I've never been to the Grand Canyon so I enjoyed all the pics and of course your sense of humor. Looking forward to day 2.

  3. TB:

    lovely day for a hike. We don't have the fortitude to hike down then up so we would have to take the Mules.

    I think I would like to cool off in that stream too. Too bad about the Hat, especially with the beating Sun. You are lucky to be able to enjoy time with your family

    Riding the Wet Coast

  4. @KABittel - Thanks honey!

    @Trobairitz - You and Troubadour need to make a visit. The North rim is less people and just happens to be closer to Oregon:) I think a road trip is in order.

    @Mr. Skoot - Thanks for the comment! We had a lovely three days! I consider myself very fortunate that we got to hike surrounded by family.