I promise I’ll get back to musings on southern style but for a moment I’d like to share photos of what I did on my winter vacation. Before Katrina my husband and I visited the Grand Canyon once a year until the time we moved to Arizona. We even took a working vacation in 2003 and spent 3 months working for Xanterra at the restaurants on the rim. In 2004 we got married at Havasupai so clearly the Grand Canyon is a special place for us.
I’ve stood in front of this sign at the trail head more times than I can remember but have never taken a picture. We hiked to Phantom Ranch, my favorite place in the world besides New Orleans. Note the drop in elevation from the trailhead to the river. That is a #$!@ on your knees on the way down and a %$#@! of a climb on the way out. Imagine being on a treadmill at the highest incline for 7.1 miles and subtract the ability to get off.
Speaking of steepness check out that trail! We trudged through ice and snow for about 1/2 of the hike in. Some might call me crazy but I actually enjoy this and nothing makes you appreciate walking on flat, dry ground than a steep walk through the snow.
Sis and I at Cedar Ridge.
The bottom of the canyon looks quite different from the top. This was taken standing on a little bridge next to the Bright Angel campgrounds. The large bridge in the background is the black bridge.
My sister and I both got the memo about black North Face jackets and gray Target yoga pants. We didn’t even realize we were outfit twins until the second day. How dorky.
Here I am getting ready to hike out after spending 3 nights at the bottom.
If you are interested in planning your own Phantom Ranch trip I highly recommend scoping out Hit the Trail, a comprehensive guide about hiking in the Grand Canyon. I’ll leave you with a few quick tips.
- Know what you are getting into. Canyon hiking is like climbing a backwards mountain. While the descent might seem easy at first remember you have to take the same way back up. Everything in the Grand Canyon is steep but some trails are harder than others. The descent is harder on your body but the ascent will really get your heart racing.
- Be prepared. I really can’t say this enough. You never know what the weather will be like or if you will get injured. Bring plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing. If you really want a lesson in what not to do Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon is a good start.
- Be aware. How close is that edge? Is that a branch lying across the trail or a rattlesnake? What’s that big horn sheep doing over there?
- Don’t be the $#@!^%#@! that feeds the wildlife. Don’t take anything that isn’t yours and hike out all of your trash.
- But most importantly have fun! You are here to experience one of the natural wonders of the world. Take lots of pictures, attend a ranger program, soak in the sights, and just sit back and comprehend how incredible your surroundings are.
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