Hiking across the Grand Canyon is a demanding feat.
Doing it twice in four days: insane.
Yet, that’s exactly what my friend Andrea and I did last week. It was the second time I had completed the Rim-Rim-Rim. Check out my first trip in 2012. This one was a bit less ambitious then the first effort, but still incredibly challenging. Most nights ended with us passing out before the sun was even down.
In four days we made our way across the canyon from the South Rim, to the North Rim, and back again. Following the traditional route, we started our descent from the South Rim on the South Kaibab Trail. After crossing the Colorado River, we headed up the North Kaibab. We spent one night on the North Rim, before traveling back down the North Kaibab Trail, once again crossing the river, and finally ascending up the Bright Angel Trail. Our trek totaled 44 miles with a dramatic 20,682 feet in elevation change! It was Andrea’s first trip to the canyon and my first time back since my memorable summer there in 2012. I have to give her major props though; this was an intense hike for a first time visit!
Andrea flew in on Monday night on a short flight from Los Angeles. She had been visiting a friend there for a few extra days. The next morning we packed up the car and headed north, taking a detour through Sedona and doing a few short hikes and some cliff jumping! Up at the canyon, we headed straight to the Backcountry Office to secure a permit for our trip. With a little finagling, we secured campground spots for both nights inside the canyon. Then it was onto Mather Campground. The main campground was sold out, but they reserve several spots for hikers only. Following the ranger’s advice at the Backcountry Office, we parked the car in a nearby lot and hiked in, pretending to have just come from the North Rim. They didn’t ask questions and we got a spot for the night! The next morning we caught an early bird hiker’s shuttle to the South Kaibab trail head.
And so our journey began…
Heading Down South Kaibab
Retracing Our Steps
The Finish Line
Though it was tough like always, we had a great time together. It was the first time I had been back to the canyon since my memorable summer of 2012. The steep drop offs, expansive views, solitude, and sheer power of the river reminded me why I love this place so much. It will always be one of my favorite spots on Earth and hopefully I will have many more opportunities to appreciate its beauty and the magic within!