The First Grand Canyon Hike, down to the river and back

May 2, 2015

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If you hike, and you live in Arizona, it’s inevitable that you will get to the Grand Canyon, and most likely return on several occasions. This was my first hike there. It was quite physically taxing, but the constant breath-taking views made it all worth it.

A person I work with Charles, aka Mad Hiker, has lead a trip there for nearly 20 years. Since they changed the rules in 2015, he didn’t “lead” the hike this time. We just all met at the trailhead, and hung out at the camp ground afterwards. This is a type of hike the park warns you not to do. We would hike down South Kaibab, go along the river a while to Phantom Ranch, then go back up South Angel Bright, all in the same day. It was about 17 miles and 4300 feet elevation change, down and up.

I had actually heard about the 2014 edition, a few months after I started hiking regularly. It was only a few weeks later, and I didn’t think I had time to get ready, a good assumption as it turned out. Basically, I had a year to get ready. Charles has a web site with good practical advice about avoiding blisters, cramps, and in general, what to expect. I slowly got all that done, and just kept hiking, increasing distance and difficulty as it got closer.

From the top of the Kaibab trail, Ooh Aah point is a relatively short .9 miles down the trail. If you ever wanted to try a Grand Canyon trail, without doing the “death-defying” to the river and back, I would recommend going to Ooh Aah point and back.