Thursday, October 27, 2011

Winter Day Hike Planning, GC

Friends, Family, and Frequent JustJoeP visitors know by now that I'm a planner - I don't like to not have a plan, or at least a contingency, brewing on the back burner of my mind for things to come.  I'm not a Russian, but I do enjoy having a plan as well as devising the plan.

In December, our son will be coming to Arizona to visit his mother, Dr Desert Flower and I.  While Nathan Jr and I have hiked from the Grand Canyon Bright Angel trail head to Plateau Point - where we looked WAY down and saw the Colorado River - and back in one day back in July of 2008, we've never hiked all the way down to the river and back.  Nor have we hiked "rim to rim". In fact, the National Park Service WARNS park visitors to not attempt it in one day, on their web site, on their shuttle bus advertising signs, in their hand-out literature at the park.  Some EXTREME hikers have done rim-to-rim-to-rim (R2R2R) hikes, in a day...  but they are generally insane, and much younger than I am.  42 miles, R2R2R and almost 2 miles elevation change, is too much for my mind to consider.

But down to the river, and back, in one day, is definitely do-able.  I consulted with my colleague Bill G who has hiked the Grand Canyon 13 times, several of those as day-hikes.  He gave me a recommendation that sounds very practical:
1) Start at South Kaibab trail, at milking hours, on a cold Winter early early morning, with no cloud cover and substantial moon light
2) Carry all the water you need to get down to the river - Kaibab has no water sources.
3) Cross the river on the Kaibab suspension bridge and Refill water containers at Phantom Ranch.
4) Begin the trek back up, along the Bright Angel Trail, crossing back over the river on the Bright Angel suspension bridge.
5) Refill water containers again at Indian Gardens, which is about 1/2 way up to the South Rim.
6) Slug up the last 1/2 of Bright Angel in the afternoon, consuming the rest of the water, and avoiding the copious piles of mule dung.  Winter temperatures will help to reduce the stench and "freshness" of the droppings. 

The Bright Angel Trail is somewhat of a carnival atmosphere, with hordes of European & Asian tourists - some prepared, some in flip flops and tank tops without sun screen.   That's not really my ideal hiking atmosphere, but Bill G assures me that the Kaibab descent will be well worth it, with multiple rim-to-rim views.  There's even a "Ooh Ahh Point" overlook, where we'll take lots of pictures.  Our early start will also assure that few other hikers will be on the Kaibab trail with us.  We might even run into a deer or elk or two, if we are lucky.

So Nathan Jr and I will do the Rim to River to Rim hike, if we're feeling well, if there's no snow forecasted, and if there's enough moonlight to hike by.  Since the New Moon will be on Christmas Eve (a Saturday night) this year, and Dr Desert Flower would much rather prefer to be home than to be driving us back to Phoenix on Christmas Eve, we'll plan on embarking on the hike sometime the week before Christmas. 

While I thought the July 2008 hike almost killed me, I was 40 pounds heavier, with a H1AC 1.5 points higher, and in much worse shape when I tried this 3 years ago.  I also stupidly took a massive B vitamin dose with a "Zipp Fiz" at the resting point at Indian Gardens, which sent my heart beating way too fast, raised my blood pressure, and made me think I was going pass out as I hiked back up.  I won't be doing THAT again, and instead, I will consume good old fashion water, as I ascend.

Stay tuned, I will be sure to post images here from "Ooh Ahh Point", and elsewhere along the trail.  Lots of yoga, Phoenix mountain hiking, and stationary bike riding between now and then.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.