Friday, January 08, 2010

Grandest Canyon

Zig Zag

Have any of you ever been to the bottom of the Grand Canyon? Not I. I have thought about doing so but frankly I am intimidated by the hike. This is what the National Park Service says about the hike to the bottom--"WARNING: There are no easy trails into or out of the Grand Canyon!"--which incidentally is printed in red. You get to choose between hypothermia and ice in the winter and heat stroke and 106 degree weather in the summer. Not to mention the cliffs and crowds.
To give you an example of the route, the South Kaibab trail descends (or ascends) 4760 feet in 7 miles. It is hard for me to even imagine climbing a nearly a mile in that distance! I did a lot of backpacking as a kid but I'm not sure this is something I'd want to negotiate now or in the future even if I were in shape. The alternative of going on mule-back seems even more intimidating although maybe less strenuous (not for the mule of course).

Mule Train

Despite sub-freezing temperatures at night and icy trails, there were a number of intrepid hikers and mule-bound travelers en route to the bottom when we were there. I took a few pictures in the true spirit of vicarious adventuring. I think if I ever see the bottom of the Grand Canyon, I'll have taken a raft trip.


paula said...

i can proudly say i've done the south rim by myself once (and camped out) and again with my sister (we didn't make it to the bottom that time the heat got to her)
then a decade later i went to the north rim and camped hiked. the mule thing is a nightmare i know how those ponies and mules are who have to do that over and over...they get nasty.
its hot, its steep and you feel you will never get out.
but by god its gorgeous.

paula said...

gorgeous pictures

Snail said...

Stunning view. I've stood at the rim and been quietly impressed by those game enough to do the trek.