These are two trips that should be on any bucket list. “How” one does the Grand Canyon is particularly exciting. Many years ago, a work colleague Steve, who knew I liked adventures, advised me to talk to him if ever I was planning a Grand Canyon hike. That planning started at the end of last year (2021), so even though I no longer worked with Steve, I gave him a call and he was happy to advise. That advice was so precious!
First, let’s look at the Grand Canyon. The typical visitor goes to the South Rim and ventures a little way (if at all) into the “big ditch.” That was our family eight years ago, and I was a proud Daddy when Bailey chose to hike a couple of miles down Bright Angel trail for her 11th birthday. There is much talk about “Rim to Rim,” with or without camping near the bottom, but this is very crowded, and the wildlife (squirrels, ravens) are well trained to steal your food! Camping requires permits which are extremely difficult to obtain during popular seasons.
There is a better way (thanks Steve 🙂 ). While the “corridor” is more developed and hence busier, there are remoter areas in the canyon that are viable for those with desert hiking experience. Steve had hiked the Thunder River / Deer Creek trail with his son and recommended it, assuring us we’d be fine with our experience (Big Bend Outer Mountain Loop; Colorado Collegiate Loop). We did this trip over three days from the Bill Hall Trailhead, and our story is below. Read on!
Close to the North Rim is Buckskin Gulch. An odd name, yet it should bring to mind one of the most amazing “slot canyons” in the world, running along the Utah/Arizona border. I had seen pictures many years ago, and it had been on my bucket list since. Steve confirmed its viability and awesomeness, so that was added to the plan. It did not disappoint!
Samuel’s interest in the Glen Canyon Dam made me think of visiting Hoover. It looked like they had a cool tour inside the dam, with tickets only available in-person, on the day. With a 3:48pm flight out of Vegas, which was 30 mins away from Hoover, we had time. While it meant another 5:30am start,Continue reading “Grand Canyon Day 6 – The Hoover Dam”
It is wrong to group such a standalone classic with the Grand Canyon, but that was the name of our trip, so I’ll have to live with it. Buckskin Gulch is truly the classic slot canyon. I’ve had my eye on it for over a decade. It was extremely exciting to finally do it, andContinue reading “Grand Canyon Day 5 – The Epic Buckskin Gulch”
After 3 days in the Grand Canyon, we knew a day off would be a good idea. Once we’d arrived in the area, we realized there was lots of easy stuff to do! Peek-a-boo canyon looked exciting, but one review indicated how easy it was to get stuck in the sand, even with an AWD.Continue reading “Grand Canyon Day 4 – Rest Day at Lake Powell and Horseshoe Bend”
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 aContinue reading “Grand Canyon Day 3 – From the Esplanade to the North Rim”
The night had been filled with thousands of stars. The temperature had dropped from 80 degF when we felt asleep to a refreshing 60 degF when we woke, but the ground was still warm! We had both slept well and felt surprisingly refreshed. Our plan was just a 4.5-mile hike along the Colorado to DeerContinue reading “Grand Canyon Day 2 – Deer Creek and Night Hiking”
Hiking from the North Rim to the river in a remote corner of the Grand Canyon National Park was a daunting prospect. We were packed with the lightest and least equipment that we could, and a new approach to food that I hoped would work. I found the best overview of the route at AllTrails.com,Continue reading “Grand Canyon Day 1 – Bill Hall to the Colorado”