A few years ago, my Peace Corps friends and I tried to hike the Grand Canyon. We applied for back country permits numerous times using different dates, various trails and changing the number of nights at different campgrounds. We were denied each and every time.
Instead we went to Zion National Park, which proved to have equally amazing hikes. We had an epic trip and were glad how things turned out. We opted to do day hikes and got a cabin at Zion Lodge in the park.
We were so glad to have a bed (or floor space) to crash in each night and the comforts of air conditioning and showers in the middle of summer. In the end, we decided hiking (and camping) in the Grand Canyon in August wouldn’t have been the best idea anyways!
People always say that you should travel and live up life before you have kids. After many years traveling and living life to the fullest, I feel blessed to have passports full of stamps, memories of far away lands, and journals oozing with rich experiences. After seeing much of this world, I decided that I wanted to see more of the States and experience the diversity that is here. The one thing that I wanted to do was hike the Grand Canyon. Luckily, Dave (reluctantly) obliged.
After some research and talking to others who have made the hike, I learned about Phantom Ranch which offers cabins and dorms at the bottom of the canyon. It is situated 1/2 mile north of Bright Angel Campgrounds accessible by the South Kaibab Trail and Bright Angel Trail from the South Rim or North Kaibab Trail from the North Rim.
In order to score a reservation, you must call Xanterra Parks 13 months is advance. So on April 1, 2010 I called for 2 solid hours getting busy signal after busy signal until I reached a person. I wanted to book a cabin on any night in April 2011. SOLD OUT! I was baffled. How was is possible to get a cabin? Dead set on hiking the Grand Canyon, I decided a dorm room would do for one night. Dave wasn’t thrilled with the thought of sleeping with 9 strangers, but I somehow convinced him of this plan.
So that is the story of how this trip came to be. Here I am, over a year later, having experienced one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world! I documented our trip using the old pen and paper method and will share it with the world over the next few weeks on my blog! I hope it helps anyone interested in planning a trip to the Grand Canyon. I definitely learned some things that, if I can ever convince Dave to do the hike again, I would do differently!
Our itinerary looked like this:
Saturday, April 2 – Mid-morning flight to Phoenix; Drive to Sedona; Booked night at Rose Tree Inn
Sunday, April 3 – Sedona; Booked night at Rose Tree Inn
Monday, April 4 – Sedona: Drive to Grand Canyon; Booked night at Bright Angel Lodge (cabin on the rim)
Tuesday, April 5 – Hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon via South Kaibab Trail; Booked night at Phantom Ranch
Wednesday, April 6 – Hike up the Grand Canyon via Bright Angel Trail; Booked night at Bright Angel Lodge (Basic Room w/ Bath); Dinner reservations at El Tovar Restaurant
Thursday, April 7 – Drive to Phoenix; Booked night at Hampton Inn
Friday, April 8 – Early morning flight to Tampa; Give Lucky Girl lots of belly rubs and take her on a long walk!
I hope you enjoy the adventures to come!