I’m not sure how to write about the Grand Canyon. The canyon is huge, bigger than words, and an attempt to describe it sounds feeble and feels useless. A post by Doctor Quack today sums up the size aspect nicely. You should read that post before you read mine. I’m not good with superlatives.
I love living an hour away from the canyon. I’ve spent a lot of time there and every trip is as exciting as if it’s my first time. It never gets old. It’s pretty amazing to start hiking in the dark and watch first light and then sunrise. Then the sun gets bright and hot.
The canyon is big. When I go there to hike it’s easy to keep going farther than I would go in other places. I have to see what’s around the next corner, what the next side canyon looks like, even though in reality they all look pretty similar. I don’t care, every one is worth seeing.
Here are a few maps.
I’ve been putting my recent tracks into Google Earth to see them visually. The first map above shows all the hikes I’ve done recently. It’s some 120 miles but, as you can see, I’ve barely scratched the surface of the canyon.
The white trail is the hike I did yesterday. Grandview, Tonto, Page Springs, and returning on Grandview for 24 miles and 8,000’ of elevation gain. It’s a spectacular route but I wouldn’t attempt it again during the late spring or summer. No water or shade to speak of, and it’s a very steep trail.
The yellow trail is a 27 mile loop starting at Hermit’s Rest. Hermit (right), Boucher, Tonto, Bright Angel trails (left). I ran/speed-hiked this a few weeks ago. Lots of side canyons and good views of the river. No water or shade for the first 22 miles. Again, not appropriate for warm weather.
The blue trail is the classic route down South Kaibab (left) to the river and up Bright Angel Trail (right). It’s around 20 miles and is a tough hike. South Kaibab has great views due to being on a ridge, also it’s hot and exposed. Bright Angel is more sheltered from the sun and has water and shade halfway up. Views aren’t as great from Bright Angel and the upper portion is crowded with inconsiderate tourists with cameras. They annoy me.
The pink route is down South Kaibab (left) to Tonto and up Bright Angel (right). This is a great route with good views into a side canyon. Around 15 miles with water and shade at 10 miles (Indian Garden).
I’ve probably done my last hike for a little while. It’s getting hot and I don’t feel comfortable doing longer and more remote trails by myself. Yesterday’s hike went well, but I almost got sick due to the heat. My eyes were burning all day today, even though I wore my darkest sunglasses at all times. (Yes, Mom, I wore a hat.) A woman got airlifted out an hour behind me because of a twisted ankle. However, this route was the most spectacular yet. Grandview Trail is nonstop expansive views of the canyon in all directions. Grapevine and Hance Canyons are huge and had splendid views. There were bighorn sheep, elk (on the rim), deer and antelope.
Yesterday’s hike was too remote. Half of the people I met below the rim got airlifted out of the canyon due to an injury, which isn’t very reassuring. And that was on a holiday in the middle of tourist season with a bumper crop of visitors.
My plan was to post some pictures I took during the past few hikes.. but I’m not going to. It’s impossible to describe the canyon or a hike in pictures, and there are plenty out there if you disagree. The maps show the scale just as well.
Hopefully I’m able to get back to the canyon before I move east. Regardless, I’ll never forget the short time spent here in wild west canyon country.