We left Flagstaff at 4:30am, driving under a beautiful sunrise, headed for the south edge of the Grand Canyon! We didn't reserve permits so we showed up at the backcountry office one and a half hours before it opened and were the first people in line to snag one of the few permits they reserve to give out day-of.
For any other late planners headed to the Grand Canyon, show up to the backcountry office 1-2 hours before they open (at 8am), and it seems like you have a good chance of getting a permit, so long as it’s not a long weekend/holiday etc. Apparently if you don’t get it that day you’ll be at the top of the list for the next day.
We packed our bags in a mad rush and jumped on a shuttle to the trail head. As we approached the edge we caught glimpses of the canyon through the bus windows, but it didn’t look real! More like a billboard on the side of the road, it was too big to believe! Grand Canyon Village is surrounded by forest so we didn’t get a clear look until we were standing at the top of the South Kaibab Trail. AmAaAaZINGFIANFINGGGGGGG!
We started hiking at 10AM, precisely when the signs around the canyon warn people not to start their hikes..
The canyon just gets deeper.. every time you descend from one cliff, you end up at the top of another, looking out over a new valley full of different plants and colours!
It was hot, but not too hot, just hot enough for a little hysteria, not quite enough for heat exhaustion. At one point things became very, very bright, but for the most part we lucked out with the weather and didn't even need to drink all 9 litres of the water we packed down with us.
Bright Angel campground is located at the very bottom of the canyon, between high cliffs of rock which, unfortunately, block any cool breezes. Thankfully the campground is surrounded by cottonwood trees, which was awesome after 11.4km of almost no shade on the South Kaibab trail. Needless to say, naps were in order.
There's a store in the campground, supplied completely by mules! We were even able to mail post cards. Delivery by mule! (Doesn't seem like anybody's received any postcards yet, wonder if the mule fell off a cliff)
-Cal & Parker