We landed in The Grand Canyon on Saturday evening with fingers crossed that we could get a backcountry permit to hike from the North Rim to the South Rim the next day (prime time weekend with Monday being Memorial Day). It was our lucky day again, since a group just cancelled – so we were in.
We woke up early to start our hike – in a freezing 24 degrees, with frost. Lots and lots of frost. Our fingers were so numb we were trying to remember the last time we felt that way – oh yes, Christmas time in Upstate New York. We blasted the heat, defrosted the windshield and drove to the trailhead. As the sun rose and we hiked down further into the canyon the temperature went up (to an eventual and sweltering 95 degrees). We took it slow, really soaking in all the views along the way.
See that far side wayyyy over there? That’s where we’re heading…
We made it to the bottom later in the afternoon, and stumbled upon Phantom Ranch. We really hadn’t done a ton of research, so we were truly shocked, I mean, blown away at this quaint little hidden village at the floor of the great big canyon. We stopped into the Canteen, which reminded us both of a mess hall from summer camp – only this one served beer. We explored the area more after setting up camp- and visited the ancient pueblo ruins, stuck our feet in the Colorado River and gazed at the darkest night’s sky in one of the darkest places in the world.
The hike out the next day was much more challenging – the ALL uphill leg. But the views made it beyond worth it- and when we stepped foot to the top of the South Rim, looking back across it all seemed so, so far away.
We took a shuttle back 5 hours to our truck on the North Rim early the next morning – but first we relished in our accomplishment, ate a nice big dinner with ice cream and went to bed early at Mather Campground- which is where we spotted this huge Elk. What a cool guy.
Before I knew it, we were on the road again heading to Monument Valley and the Navajo Nation.