Hiking The Grand Canyon

Hiking The Grand Canyon

7 years ago I was convinced I would never set foot on a plane, let alone consider myself being in another country. I had been raised on camping, 4wding and overland travel and thought that I had everything I could ever want to see here in my own country (which is true of course!). Things changed when 6 years ago I met my wife, and with one half of her family living in the Unites States I was destined to hit their shores sooner or later.

Nek Minnit (6 years vanished quick okay?) I’m standing on a platform overlooking the seemingly impossible width of the Grand Canyon. This enormous scar in the earth’s crust is up to 29km wide in some places and from where we stand, the bottom isn’t even visible some 1.6km below us.

grand-canyon-intents-offroadAs we only had 1 day to take in the Grand Canyon, we had to plan carefully to take in as broad a spectrum of activities as possible. Our chosen hike was the South Kaibab Trail which claimed to have the best views for a relatively short hike. The enormous size of the grand canyon means that a hike to the river and back in a day is strictly out of the question, that’s an overnight trek only. Our round trip was 4.8km into the canyon and back up while descending a mere 350 metres into the canyon.

grand-canyon-kaibab-hiking It is immediately apparent that this track was not created by simply finding an easy path down and marking it out. There is no easy way through this terrain. Instead it was carved with dynamite, elbow grease and a load of pack mules. Speaking of pack mules, they are currently still working away in the canyon hauling the gear and supplies of privileged campers and hikers. Plenty of donkey poop on the trail as evidence of that too.

There aren’t too many hikes that start off going down hill, and of course this made us feel extrememly good about ourselves and how fast we were covering ground. We made it down to “Ooh-Ahh Point” in no time, a rock who’s shape and design was clearly stolen by the canyon after seeing Pride Rock on The Lion King.

grand-canyon-hikingA fellow hiker confirmed that I wasn’t the only one thinking this as he belted out the start of “Circle Of Life” from the edge of the rock. As you can imagine; this was met by much applause and whoops of gratitude from those above and below on different stages of the hike. While some turned around at this point content with the view they had just witnessed at ooh-aah point; we continued down to Cedar Ridge as planned, the whole descent to that point only taking us around 45 minutes of the 4 hour recommended hike time.

cedar-ridge-grand-canyonWell, what comes down must go up as they don’t say! Our climb back to the top took us more than twice as long as our trek down, our panting and red faces striking looks of fear into the eyes of those just beginning their journey down. On top of that were the vultures circling overhead. I thought that only happens in movies! I suppose they probably weren’t waiting for us to collapse. Or were they? We finished up our hike at 11am, avoiding the worst of the heat, avoiding the crowds of sleeper-inners and avoiding the digestive systems of the vultures.

Do we rate the hike? Absolutely. Ten outta ten, would do again; only next time with some experience under our belts and the appropriate gear to make it an overnight trek or even longer.



Alex Garner

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  1. Paul (Uncle)
    November 28, 09:36 Reply
    We are cheating doing it in a helecopter :) i wonder if you will ever write a book, i can see it happening :)
    • Alex Garner
      November 29, 15:08 Reply
      It will be awesome doing it in a helicopter. If I ever go back, I will be putting aside cash to do that for sure!

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