Monday, April 20, 2009

Grand Canyon Hike -- We Made It!

I am back from the Grand Canyon -- got home about 12:30 this morning. The trip was everything I had hoped it would be -- a wonderful experience with my brother and our dad. I'm taking my first look through the pictures, and I wanted to post a few just to offer a glimpse of the adventure. I may add a few after I spend some time with them later.

We flew to Tucson on Thursday and then drove to the Grand Canyon (my description to my wife -- imagine flying to Dayton and then driving to St. Louis). We went to the South Rim overlooks on Thursday evening and it was pouring snow . . .

This picture is not out of focus -- it was snowing THAT hard. We looked down into the canyon and Dad pointed out some of the places it would be going. Our reaction wasn't Chevy Chase from "Vacation," but we thought about it!

It was 18 degrees (!) when we started out on the South Kaibab Trail at 5:50 a.m. on Friday (that's my brother Blake on the left, and my dad Joe on the right). The snow had stopped but was still on the ground.

Soon the sun was up and the temperature started rising -- Blake had already started shedding layers.

Pictures do not do the Grand Canyon justice -- and neither does the view from the overlooks. Every turn of the trail brought a different view.

By the time we got to Phantom Ranch on the floor of the canyon at 10:30, it was about 70 degrees. I had shed my jacket, two sweatshirts, a hoodie, a long-sleeved t-shirt, a pair of windpants, a pair of jeans, two pairs of gloves, and my earmuffs.

Two views of a bridge (there are two of them) that crosses the Colorado River near Phantom Ranch.

Rock-hopping a creek is fun -- but once you start, you can't stop . . .

On the way back on the Bright Angel Trail, the view changes -- now we're looking UP.

Lots of switchbacks on the trail when you're going up or down -- this was on the South Kaibab Trail just after we started (hence the snow) . . .

and this was farther down on the same trail.

We made it to the top at 5;48 p.m. -- two minutes short of twelve hours. It was 52 degrees on the rim. Blake and I said the last three miles or so were "one foot in front of the other" and "just get me to the top". Still gorgeous scenery, but were we ever tired!

Blake took these pictures of the top of the Bright Angel Trail on Saturday morning when we came back to the overlooks again. If you follow the trail up from the lower left of the bottom picture, you can see how it continues into the other picture and winds upward to the end of the trail at Grand Canyon Village. The overlooks meant so much more when we could identify places we had been.

One last picture -- Blake and I couldn't resist. The sign says "WARNING -- DO NOT attempt to hike from the canyon rim to the river and back in one day." We made it, but I wouldn't even try if the weather was warm. It's now three days later and my calves are still screaming -- same with Blake. By contrast, our dad hikes all the time and he was just fine.

OK, vacation's over -- off to the store to shoot pictures of this week's Spring Spectacular in our store and then off to Akron for Adventures in Stamping this weekend!


  1. These pictures are absolutely beautiful. What a journey you 3 took. I would much prefer the view from the pictures than in real life.

    Glad you had special time with your family.

    Thanks for sharing your pictures.

    Marcy ~ MI

  2. Absolutely gorgeous pictures. I am sure you had a trip of a lifetime. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.


  3. OMWord...great pics Greg! what a trip...I'm exhausted just reading!! Awesome memories for sure

  4. Wonderful pictures. What a great trip. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Great pics, but you just proved two things....
    #1 - Men don't read directions
    #2 - Men don't follow directions

    The sign says "WARNING -- DO NOT attempt to hike from the canyon rim to the river and back in one day.

    ha----I couldn't resist. Looks like you boys had fun! What great memories you three will have!

  6. Dang-you guys look like ultramarathoners. And dad is one hunka man. Wish my sofa slug would get off his retired butt and go running with me.