Open Post

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36 Responses to “Open Post”

  1. ralph cooley Says:

    two friends & i did bright angel to plateu point on dec. 11 i’m 48 had a lot of doubts as to wheter or not i’d make it.i do work out regularly,also concerned with my hiking partners who weren’t at quite my level.i trained by carrying a pack on hikes & paid attention to the tips offered on the site . also we watched the video you produced all these things contibuted to a succesful hike on a beutiful day . thank-you

  2. Rob Says:

    ralph - thanks for your kind words. good to hear you put the effort in to your preparations. i’ve seen far too many people on the trails not enjoying their hike because the either skimped on training or didn’t train at all. it is great to hear that your hike was successful!

  3. Isabelle Mims Says:

    This is a question for the hosts. What do you recommend for 4 inexperienced hikers who have reservations at the Yavapai Lodge in May? Last year we celebrated our 60th birthdays in Vegas and decided to return to celebrate our 61st birthdays at the Grand Canyon. I had a Gray Line tour in mind - but my high school classmates have this mini-hike thing in mind. I’m walking 2 miles a day to try to get in some kind of condition for this little “Walk in the Park.” Where can we reasonably hike? Do we need to buy some kind of hiking boots or are the Dept. Store athletic shoes OK? I see we need a backpack with water bottles. Since I’ve never had a backpack in my life, what features do I look for? What snacks do you recommend - somehow I think there is something better than Godiva chocolate and potato chips for hikers. Hoping you can give us some pointers. We have been friends since preschool and we continue to do some pretty zany things - but this could get dangerous unless we get a plan in place from pros like you. Thanks for any pointers.
    Isabelle Mims

  4. RobK Says:

    Hi Isabelle -

    There are a number of day hike possibilities you might consider. My first suggestion is to stroll along the rim trail. The views are fantastic, you get a good sense of the canyon, and you can hike as far as you wish, then catch a shuttle back. None of the canyon’s other trails offer such views, amenities, and flexibility. The rim trail, paved in parts, is generally flat. From what you describe, i don’t think you’d be disappointed with this.

    Yes, it is an excellent idea to carry water and a snack. Godiva and chips, isn’t bad, but the chocolte might melt. A couple possibilities: there are belt packs that have integrated water bottle holsters and a pocket large enough for some snacks. These belt packs are nice because your water is in easy reach. Alternatively, any inexpensive day pack would work fine.

    Hope this helps!

  5. Isabelle Mims Says:

    Thanks so much for your reply and time with amateurs. We will take your advice and stay on the rim trail where there is a shuttle.
    Thanks for telling us about the holster belt packs - I will go shopping at a sporting goods store and look for them.
    I have enjoyed reading the info. on the Grand Canyon hiking sites. So we need Gator Aid for the short distance we will be going?
    What is the advantage to hiking boots over the Dept. store walking shoes?
    Considering the altitude, how much do we need to be walking a day to get in shape for even our little hike? A neighbor doctor told me this week-end that 2 miles a day won’t do it.
    What snacks do real hikers use??? The regular Trail Mix or power bars from Health food stores or what?
    Thanks so much for taking the time to help my girl friends and I prepare for a safe adventure. We don’t want to trouble the Park Rangers!

  6. Isabelle Says:

    For anyone interested, neither Sports Authority nor Dick’s Sporting Goods had the holster fanny packs. The backpack I got could go on any week-long trek to a moutain top and it was the simplest one on display…
    Then went to WalMart - their camping/hiking section has the holster fanny packs and matching lightweight backpacks.

  7. RobK Says:

    Isabelle - Thanks for the shopping update! Absent specialty stores, it is hard to know where to find certain items. I’m confident the holster fanny packs and backpacks you found at Wal-Mart will be plenty adequate for your GC adventure.

    re. your earlier post (that I apologize for being so tardy in replying to):

    re. Gatoraid? I prefer plain water. Some folks like sports drinks because they have difficulty consuming the quantity of plain water needed to stay hydrated.

    If you will be sticking to the rim trail; department store walking shoes will be just fine. If you plan to venture down over the rim, somethihng more substantial on your feet would be a better solution.

    Hard for me to say about the altitude. The South Rim is at aobut 7500 feet. When I hit the rim stright from Phoenix, or places even lower, I do feel the impact of the elevation. If possible try to schedule yourself a day or so to acclimate before strenuous activity.

    Real hiker snacks? Hmm … everyone I know has a different answer to that. I’m partial to figs and peanut butter in a tortilla. Friends like GORP. Others like PowerBars. Whatever sounds good is my motto!

  8. Bridget Says:

    This is a question about packs. I took a Kelty Coyote down the Bright Angel Trail to Indian ranch, and it felt like a bit much for a day trip. This year I am going to be doing my first rim-to-rim (Kaibab), and since we’re doing it all in one day, I’m thinking I might want to get a day pack. I am having trouble weighing the values of having more space for a longer hike vs. less weight for a more challenging hike — that is a big deal because I am very petite (5′2″ 110lbs) and I will be, by far, the smallest and weakest in the group, and I worry about holding the group back. Also the weather will be much hotter than it was when I did the Bright Angel. Any suggestions? I am really very happy with Kelty, and have been looking at their women-design daypacks. Anyone know the deal with the female day packs? Do they really make much of a difference?


  9. Isabelle Says:

    Thanks again for all the info. We are walking more each day to prepare for our little stroll on the rim trail. We eagerly await getting up early there to see the sunrise and all the colors in the Grand Canyon.
    PS to Bridget - More power to you on your rim-to-rim hike!

  10. RobK Says:

    Isabelle - Grand Canyon sunrises and Sun Sets are spectacular! You’ll forget how early it is.

  11. RobK Says:

    Bridget - For day hikes in the canyon, I recommend the smallest and lightest pack you can manage that will accomodate water, food, snacks, and emergency gear. The Kelty Cayote is, to my eye, overkill for a day hike.

    To be clear: We do not advocate single-day R2R hikes; we’d rather take it slow and enjoy the scenary.

    re. the benefits of women’s packs. As you are so petite, you may find a woman’s pack mor comfortable than a men’s or unisex pack. Depending on where you are, REI and MEC offer a good selection of day packs.

  12. Mary Says:

    I am hiking Yosemite and the Grand Canyon this summer with fifteen other people. For training purposes, I am doing the elipitcal trainer five times a week for 45 minutes a session. On Saturdays, a group of us run a trail with hills (about a 4 mile process). I have done hiking in the past but nothing like the continuous strain of hiking Yosemite and hiking the Canyon. What else can I do to physically prepare for this adventure?

  13. RobK Says:

    Hi Mary - Your training regimine sounds right-on. One thing I’d suggest is doing as much downhill as you can. Lacking hills, stairs in a multi-story building or a foodball stadium work well.

    - rk

  14. Isabelle Says:

    Just an update: We had a ball…no problems at all for the 61-year-old set. Yavapei Lodge was fine - even had a little refrigerator in each room. Got up at 4:30 to be among the first at Mather Point to wait for the spectacular sunrise. Made a day of it - having coffee at El Tovar, going to the gift shops, walking the rim trail, going to gift shops again, even walking a little on the easiest trail - the Bright Angel Trail, and then more gift shops and finally settling in to see the sunset and waiting for the moon to rise. The four of us each took about 200 pictures - so gorgeous. One of the best things was talking to people from all over the world who had come to share the Grand Canyon experience.
    Thanks again for all the advice and encouragement.

  15. RobK Says:

    Isabelle - Thanks for the update! Great to hear that your trip went well. Isn’t it amazing what an international attraction the Grand Canyon is? rk

  16. Amy Says:

    Myself and 4 friends are planning on doing our first 3day 2 night hiking trip into the canyon in October. We all do triathlons for fun, so we feel that we are in fair shape for the hiking part but we are not as experienced in the back country camping aspect of the trip. We are getting ready to apply for our backcountry permits but do you have any suggestions on good trails for first timers and maybe some suggestions on type of food/supplies to bring with us? Thanks!

  17. Caroline Says:

    I am taking my 7 year old to the North Rim with a group of friends - is it even plausible to attempt any of the hiking trails?

  18. RobK Says:

    Caroline - The North Rim offers several options appropriate for a 7 yr old. There is a trail near the lodge that follows the rim for a bit that would be appropriate. You could also hike a short distance down the North Kaibab trail.

  19. RobK Says:

    Amy - Given your fitness level, a 3 day, 2-night trip you might consider would be to start at the North Rim, hike down the North Kaibab trail, exit via the Bright Angel trail. More details about this route are available here:

  20. Connie Says:

    We are planning a 5-day backpack trip in the Grand Canyon the end of September. (If we can get our permits.) I am 58, workout regularly on the elliptical treadmill, run once a week, and have stated a low impact weight training regimen. However, I’m still rather intimidated by the rigors of the trail. What fitness level do you recommend to be able to carry a pack down and back up without being a “drag out!”

  21. RobK Says:

    Hi Connie - Your training program sounds good to me. That said, you didn’t mention what trails you intend to hike. If you stick to the corridor trails, pack light, and keep your daily milage moderate, you should have a very enjoyable trip. rk

  22. Connie Says:

    Hi Rob,
    Thanks for the tip. Re: our route. We have yet to receive our permits. We got closed out of our first application, which had for the first choice the corridor trail and the second choice another version that included Hermit’s Rest trail. We got that notice about ten days after I faxed our first application. For our second request, we submitted several trail itineraries, which of course are less popular because they are more difficult and less maintained, which is what has me a little concerned. But we thought we’d have a better chance to get the permit. Also, we submittted that second application almost three weeks ago and have not received anything yet. I was thinking that at the end of September we would have no trouble getting a permit. Have you done any backpacking in GC, and if so, did it take several tries to get a permit? Thanks.

  23. Jackie T. Says:

    Hi, question on N.Kaibab trail. If you compared the Hermit Trail to the N.Rim to Cottonwood section of the Kaibab trail - is the Kaibab steeper or less so? What is the footing on the N.Kaibab like - similar to Bright Angel or more like Hermit ie rocky? I’m asking these questions on behalf of my knees ;-) )

    Your help is greatly appreciated as we’re doing the N to S Rims in Sept. We’ve done Grandview to Kaibab, Bright Angel etc. and Hermit 3 times but the N. Kaibab will be a first.


  24. RobK Says:

    Connie - Late September is still busy season at the GC. Although I always hike the canyon in October/November when crowds are lower, I’ve frequently received my second or third choice itinerary. rk

  25. RobK Says:

    Jackie T: Hmm … I’m assuming you experienced a slip of the keyboard and treally mean the Hermit trail to the South Rim … the Hermit and N. Kaibab trails are different. I found the Hermit to be steeper in places than the N. Kaibab trail ever approximates. Footing on the N. Kaibab trail is rather solid throughout. The N. Kaibab doesn’t have any rocky sections like you find on the Hermit. Its switchbacks on the NK can mess with your mind, though. ;-)

  26. Jackie T. Says:

    Thanks Rob, I think I missed a comma in my query but you’ve answered what I need to know.
    Glad to know it’ll be be a little easier underfoot as those small loose rocks on the downhills of Hermit were hard as you’re always braking yourself.

    And thanks for the tip about the switchbacks. Can’t wait to get back to the Canyon, its a magical place and am in active training yet again.


  27. Jackie T. Says:

    Hi Rob, another 2 North Rim questions for you. Do you have an idea of how far it is to walk from the N.Rim campground to the Lodge? We’re taking the shuttle over from the S.Rim so won’t have a car and are wondering what to do about dinner on the night before we hike down, bring stuff or grab a bite at the Lodge.

    Also is there available water between the rim and Cottonwood? I probably have this answer but its at home and I’m curious here at work.

    24 days to go but who’s counting!!

    Thanks for your help,

    Jackie T.

  28. RobK Says:

    Jackie - My recollection is that the entrance to the N. Rim campground is no more than a quarter mile from the lodge. The Lodge is a fun place to get dinner. It’s deck affords a fantastic view of the canyon, too!

    re. water. Yes, water is available at Roaring Springs.

    A mere 24 days!


  29. Jackie T. Says:

    Thanks Rob, much appreciated and will probably now do the lodge dinner.

    Take care and thanks for having this extremely useful blog!!!!

    Jackie T.

  30. Jackie T. Says:

    Hi Rob, we completed the Rim To Rim hike last week and just loved it. The hike from the N.Rim to Cottonwood was hard on my toes and one knee due to the constant downhill pounding but was so much more beautiful than the South Rim. We were fortunate that it was cloudy and cooler much of the time due to intermittant rain because if it was hot like normal it would have been a brutal first day.
    Did have dinner at the N.Rim lodge and it was excellent and as you said the view from the terrace was terrific.
    Managed to change permits to allow a stopover at Indian Gardens rather than 2 nights at Bright Angel and that helped the last day’s hike out. It was cool to see the lights of both lodges at night too.
    Managed to leave my wallet at Phantom Ranch but Ranger Greg Moore hiked it out the next day and delivered it to our site at Mather’s C.G. The NPS is great. Frank the pump Maintenance main at Indian Gdns had called back to B.A. and they were right on it. Saved my holiday as all my ID was in the wallet plus cash and and I got it ALL back. Thanks to all honest people! (I was sober at the time too!)
    Thanks for your info it is most appreciated and good luck with your next hike.
    Jackie T.
    Toronto, Ont. Canada

  31. greg Says:

    I am doing a rim to rim on the 21ts of Oct. Leaving the car at the south rim and taking a van to the north. Right now have 3 hikers total for the ride to the north rim…have room for several moe! 3 more would bring the cost to $70 (US) per person. Leaving very early on the 21st from the Thunderbird Lodge at the south rim. Leave a message

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