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The Grand Canyon

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I feel like a slow day after the Zion Narrows hike and so dawdle around town, re-supplying at a few different places as I go. I drive to within 60 miles of The Grand Canyon and cut into the national forest where I find a beautiful high bluff that looks out over a monster valley, with just enough room for a jeep, small tent & camping chair.
During the sunny afternoon I…

  • Dry out all my wet stuff, including my boots.
  • Repair a broken tent pole with my last spare piece.
  • Work on my tan.
  • Read huge amounts of “Travels with Charley” by John Steinbeck, a book I can’t put down.
  • Finally work on my dreadlocks – they’ve been pretty ratty lately.

In the morning I am up early, in anticipation of the mighty Canyon that lies ahead. A stop at the visitors center is disappointing when I find it nothing more than a glorified book store – all of my questions are answered with suggestions of books I should buy; “But it’s only $49.95″ I am told eagerly.
Thanks, but no thanks.

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Fall colors in force

Friends said the North Kaibab Trail is the way to go on the North Rim, so I set out down the trail, only really knowing that it’s steep and drops some serious elevation. I think I’ve overdone the rock and canyon formations this week and so am not particularly impressed with the view from the North Rim. When I was about 16 I visited the South Rim and my memories of that are a lot more spectacular than the view I have now. I think it’s because I am a long way from the Colorado River here and ‘the canyon proper’, so it’s not as immense as it can be in other places.

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More pretty rock formations

I power downhill as fast as I possibly can, knowing it’s going to be much harder and hotter on the way back up. Every step I take down I can feel the air temperature going up, as it reaches a solid 87 ˚F. Almost everyone that I pass has a huge pack and are planning on spending at least a couple of nights at the canyon floor before hiking up to the South Rim. The trail is wide and dusty, and drops elevation in a serious fashion.

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The canyon wall

I drop 3215 ft (1000 meters) to Roaring Springs, a quiet shady spot perfect for lunch. I feel like I’ve seen enough and so begin the long walk back to the top. It’s not impossibly hard, but it’s not easy either, and a steady rhythm helps me through the time.

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The Grand part is out there in the distance

The campground shower is only $1.50, a bargain after another big day of hiking. Before long I find myself back on my little bluff eating huge smokies with ketchup/mustard/relish, my favorite meal on the road. 😀

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The trail drops steeply to the canyon floor

-Dan

6 Responses

  1. DUKAROO! says:

    Brozef– you gotta give me a buzz man— headed out into the desert later today so I’m not gonna be around a comp unitl like mon- tues– Wanna hoook up and head cross da border— getting my passport on the third and I’ll be ready to roll! want to jam with the dan man– Love DUKAROO!

  2. HSG says:

    Ahh the Grand Canyon. Have only been once, a couple years ago packed down to the bottom for a few days. There was a freakish heatwave and going back up with a 65lb pack on was brutal! I earned my dinner that night fo sho!

  3. Eliza says:

    Hey Dan,
    Been reading your blog for a few days now and it’s been inspiring me to start taking some more day hikes around my town and up to the arctic circle and that. Anyway, my old boots are pretty shot and was wondering if you had any thoughts on boots? Certain styles or brands you find better or worse, etc?

    • Dan says:

      Hey Eliza,
      I personally prefer heavy leather boots for the durability and foot protection they provide. I love being able to walk on sharp rocks, or stub my toe when carrying a heavy pack without noticing at all. Gore-tex boots are popular now, but I am skeptical they will last as long (I don’t really know)
      During my trip I had a pair of Raichle leather boots and they were amazing. Raichle has been bought out by Mammut, and I’ve heard great things about them too.
      I recently bought a pair of Scarpa leather hiking boots and I am extremely impressed with them. I’ve worn them almost every single day for 9 months, including every day in winter when it was between -20 and -40C, and they still look absolutely brand new. My friend has a pair from 6ish years ago, and they are still excellent boots.
      I highly recommend them.

      All the best for your upcoming adventures!
      -Dan

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