Monday, September 9, 2013

Grand Canyon Adventure Part 6: The South Rim

In case you missed it  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  Part 5

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The south rim of the Grand Canyon is the part that most people are referring to when they say they've been to the Grand Canyon.  As I mentioned before, the National Park Service has done a wonderful job of creating a little city in Grand Canyon Village, with shops, lodging, camping, etc.  When you visit here, your trip can be as easy or as hard as you'd like to make it.

We woke up excited to have our first full day.  Little Helen had planned that we would hike one of the trails so we decided to get a nice breakfast first at Bright Angel Lodge.  As we walked out of Kachina Lodge where we were staying, we got our first glimpse of this section of the canyon.  This photo shows why it's so much fun to stay in one of these lodges.  I swear you never get tired of the view!

After we ate we hopped on a shuttle bus which would take us to the drop off point to hike the South Kaibab Trail.  While the trail itself is well maintained, it is steep, with no shade and no water.  So, a hat and some water and some more trail mix to get through it.  There are 3 stopping points, Ooh Aah Point, Cedar Ridge (where there are restrooms) and Skeleton Point where there are views of the Colorado River.  If you hike to Skeleton, it's 6 miles round trip.  Most people hike to Ooh Aah Point which is 1.8 miles round trip.  Click on that link up there and you'll see a basic map and detailed explanation of this hike.  I knew none of this and was just going along... had I known, I might have stayed at the lodge LOL!  I just figured "only" 6 miles.  What I didn't know was that because of elevation, this 6 miles round trip would be very bit as hard as our 8 miles one way out of Supai.  OY.

It was beautiful though and of course in hindsight I'm so glad I did it even if I did feel completely and totally done with hiking and elevations by the end of it all!

Starting the hike and looking down into a gorge

Point nine miles to Ooh Ahh Point


Another half mile brings you to Cedar Ridge, which is where they rest the horses taking folks into and out of Phantom Ranch, the camp at the bottom of the canyon.  Little Helen wanted us to go there but even a year out, they were booked solid so that's why we did the Supai segment instead.



Guess what?  It's REAL cowboys who lead the people riding horses into and out of  Phantom Ranch.  Cute cowboys, actually!


The views were spectacular!




Another cairn


By hiking another 1 1/2 miles you reach Skeleton Point, called that because of all the mule bones that are found in the gorges.  Interesting fact:  mules go overboard all the time but NEVER when they have a person riding them.


See the river?

Here's a closeup




What goes down must go up - and go up steeply!  This time it did take us nearly one and a half times to get back up.  That's because the elevation change in that 3 miles is the same as it was for our entire 8 mile hike!


Again, I told my family to go ahead and this time they did so graciously.  Mr. Helen was waiting to get a photo though.  If you notice, I'm in long sleeves.  I started the hike that way and by the time we got to Cedar Ridge it was so warm I took that layer off.  When I left Cedar Ridge coming back up, I put the shirt back on since I knew it would be cool at the top.


Hard hike, again.  With the completion of this hike, we'd hike about 30 miles in a four day period!  Never in my life did I ever imagine I would do something like this.

Next up:  Elk and Sunsets

8 comments:

  1. ((just chiming in again how I LOVE this series and it has sparked me to play OUR TRIP now that we are so close!))

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  2. Ooh Aah Point - gotta love their humor in naming that!

    And real cowboys...you are cracking me up. Come to Texas - you see them everywhere! ;)

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  3. That's sad about the mules, poor things.

    Those views are amazing, and I know that pictures don't do them justice at all.

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  4. The South Rim is my favorite:)

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  5. Such great pics! Thanks for sharing! I hope to take it in for myself one day!!

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  6. SOOOOO loving the photos. Thank you for sharing the beauty with us!!!

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  7. Those views are absolutely amazing - I am sure I'd fall off because I'd be looking at the sky instead of the ground I am walking on!

    The trip of a lifetime indeed! :D

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  8. First I'm so proud of you of all that tough hikes you did! You never gave up.

    Second: the scenery is stunning, it made all the hiking worth while if you ask me.

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