The overnight wind had amplified the chilliness of the ~50 degF overnight temps. We’d chosen down blankets over sleeping bags to save weight, and I’d got a bit chilled a couple of times, but Samuel had been fine. The “5.4 degF per 1000 ft” rule seemed to be applying well. The day was bringing a 6-mile, 2000-ft climb so it was not a rushed start, but we still wanted to beat the heat. We enjoyed the sunrise catching the edge of the rim before heading off across the Esplanade’s rocks. Shortly before the Bill Hall switchbacks, a lone hiker passed going the other direction. Other than the REI group, she was the only other hiker we had seen in these three days. We managed to complete most of the switchbacks before the sun rose enough to warm us, but we’d had plenty of water (actually dumping about one liter before the climb).
The car was a welcome sight, and the inside had kept some water cold. Clean clothes and wet wipes were very refreshing. As we still had much of the day, we decided to check out the official North Rim, which was still over an hour’s drive away. It was a pleasant drive through lush Kaibab National Forests ending with fantastic views of the rim, right out of the window of the lodge! While there were other people with perhaps cars parked at the trailhead for the main corridor trail to the South Rim, the crowds are nothing compared to the much busier south.
So that was our 3-day adventure. I was pleased with my fitness and that my old joints don’t appear to be that old! Samuel and I remain needing to be challenged in our adventures and finding ones with the right balance remains my challenge. We have already made the pact that neither of us wants to go home to tell Janet that the other one didn’t make it, and that helps us manage our risk!
I’m not sure if we will return here, as there are too many other places to go! If we do, there are a couple of options. First, we fancy the idea of doing the “rim to rim to rim” in the winter. This would be starting from the South when the North Rim is closed to traffic because it is under too much snow, but one can still hike to it from within the Grand Canyon. While the rim temperatures can be brutal, the canyon bottom can be quite moderate. The second option is known as the Escalante Route which is a 33-mile, 5-day arduous trek from the South Rim, mostly following the Colorado.
But before the next visit, there was still lots more happening on this visit. A rest day was planned, and then Buckskin Gulch. Much more ended up happening, so read on day 4 (a surprisingly cool rest day) and day 5 (Buckskin Gulch).
This page is linked to from my Grand Canyon Buckskin Gulch home page.