Saturday, April 5, 2008

Arizona Day 3: Grand Canyon

South Kaibab Trail
Approx. 7 miles in 3.5hrs hiking time, 2050ft vert
Sunny, 46-60's (15F overnight low at South Rim)

Yet another day perfectly matched for the planned activity. Mom, Cathy and I headed north 2hrs by car from Sedona to the Grand Canyon, south rim. We planned to hike a portion of the South Kaibab trail that juts out on a finger ridge into the canyon.

I can't imagine that another hike I'll do will match this in awe-factor. You really have to visit the canyon to appreciate the magnitude of it. It truly is one of the wonders of the world. From your first step over the rim all the way out to Skeleton Point, you are immersed in majestic views. The switchbacks starting out set the tone for the rest of the hike. I wondered what it would be like to ride down into the canyon but soon realized it would be a suicide ride.

Mom has been having some knee issues, so she was content on playing it safe and stopping at Cedar Ridge. This was half way to Skeleton Point, and Skeleton Point is only half way to the river. The canyon is about 4600ft deep here, and Cathy and I hiked nearly half of that down. Going down nearly destroyed my knees. The hiking is non-stop big steps which is high impact. I found hiking back up much easier, although aerobically challenging due to the 7000ft altitude. Cathy did good too on the hike up, as we climbed back to rim from Skeleton Point in 1.5hrs with stops. The guide says round trip takes 4-6hrs, and most people take twice as long climbing out as going in. Not for the aerobically fit however. We found hiking up to be faster with less issues of slipping or rolling ankles.

Mom made it back to the market place well before we did using the park shuttle bus service (you can't park at most trail heads). This was first time for any of us to visit the Grand Canyon, and we were thoroughly satisfied with our visit.

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