The South Kaibab Trail of the Grand Canyon is supposed to be the best but least traveled. On the first day of our hike this is the trail we followed. It descends 4,820 feet to the bottom. It is very steep with very little shade. It is 7.5 miles to the Bright Angel campground where we stayed two nights.
Craig, Nicki, Brian, and I each had a backpack weighing 17 to 30 pounds. Mine was the least, weighing 17 pounds and Craigs weighed 30 pounds. They have a little weigh station where you can see how much it weighs before you take off.
When we started off We all felt great. I was very excited and felt like I could conquer the world. But the constant downward motion wears on your feet and knees. After a while it starts to hurt tremendously. Pretty soon every muscle in your body is just crying out in pain. There is no turning back though. All you can do is take a break and continue forward. The hard part is knowing that you’re holding everyone else back. Ha ha! Fortunately, the scenery is just spectacular and out of this world beautiful! We took a lot of breaks. You keep telling yourself I am going to the bottom of the Grand Canyon! It’s just unreal.
We got to the campground and set up tents and sleeping bags then set out to make our dinner.
We had these bags of dehydrated food and Craig had something called a jet boil. He would boil water and we would pour in to our bag of food and stir it up and it becomes like a meal. It wasn’t bad at least on the first day. After two days it was getting pretty old. LOL It’s something like army rations I believe. My favorite was chicken and dumplings.
We had to completely empty out our backpacks into a lock box, then hang the backpack on a tall hook. You cannot have anything scented in your tent either. Apparently the squirrels have gotten smart and figured out how to get into peoples backpacks for food. It makes it a real pain because then you have to pack everything back up in the morning. We had to do that at each site. Squirrels are not afraid of you here. They come after you! Lol
The second day getting up was pretty hard since my legs and feet were very sore. I wasn’t alone though and misery loves company! We all got up and had oatmeal and did some stretching exercises to loosen up and then hiked to a place called Ribbon Falls following the Bright Angel trail. It’s 6 1/2 miles to the falls, 13 miles round trip. It was really a spectacular sight.
You are so deep in the middle of the Grand Canyon and the walls are just towering around you. It is just unbelievable. The scenery is breathtaking the whole way and in every direction. It didn’t even seem like 6 1/2 miles, (13 miles round trip)and went very fast. The aching muscles and soreness eased up. We had to cross a river and that was somewhat difficult but we made it. Then we could see the falls in the distance. It is very narrow and that is why they call it ribbon Falls. It is surrounded by greenery and moss. I wish I had better words to describe it.
We had started out at 10:00 in the morning and didn’t get back until 7:30 in the evening We were exhausted but it was worth it.
Day 3 we wake up and start the 5 mile hike to Indian Garden campground. This is following the bright angel trail heading back up the very steep inclines, working our way back up to the top. It was very shady at Indian Gardens and cool. Craig, Nicki, and Brian, decided to do a sunset hike that’s 3 miles round-trip called Plateau Point. I just did not have the energy and stayed behind and did stretching exercises and relaxed which was really nice. They were gone until after dark and had to use their headlamps to find their way back. It was pretty chilly at night, every night and I don’t think any of us really slept all that well.
Day four we wake up and all of us are very sore except for Brian who said he could’ve done it again with no problem and I wanted to punch him. 😆
While waiting for everyone to get ready I saw 3 deer very close up. That was an amazing experience!
We start off to begin the 4 1/2 long miles to get to the very top on the bright angel trail.
It really is a mental struggle. Plus the added weight of the pack you are carrying. You have to keep telling yourself I can do this. Really there is no other choice because it’s keep going or a helicopter is going to have to rescue you.
There were times when pack mules passed by. (I got some footage that will be in the video.) A long line of people on mules and then another line of mules carrying their belongings. The mules were very sweaty. I felt sorry for them but Craig said they treat them well. I hope he is right.
I would go as far as I could until I felt like my heart would explode and all of my muscles in my legs and feet hurting so bad. I couldn’t take it and then I would stop and rest. They were letting me lead the way because of course I am the slowest. I am also the oldest!
As we get closer to the top there are more and more people because all of the tourists come down from the top a little bit and then turn around and go back. It is also a lot colder at the top.
As you near the end you feel like it’s going to never end but you keep pushing forward. Finally, we make it! We were all very excited. I had to use the bathroom very badly and it turns out some of the bathrooms were out of order so the lines were extremely long. I was getting cramps in my legs and my stomach and a couple of people ask me if I was OK. I told them that I had just hiked about 30 miles over the past few days. Then it seemed like everyone wanted to let me go in front of them. I think they felt sorry for me because I looked like a homeless person ( or because I hadn’t showered in four days!). It made me feel good that there are still nice people in the world.
All in all it was an excellent trip. I can say for sure that this was a one time thing that I will not do again. I am glad I did it but it was just too painful. We got some pretty good footage and plan on making a video. Of course It can’t compare to seeing it for yourself.
I will forever be in awe of the Grand Canyon. I will never forget it, that’s for sure!
Now it’s time to get to work on things here at home. I am so glad to be home !!!