Hiking Grand Canyon

Old Jun 11th, 2004, 11:31 PM
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Hiking Grand Canyon

I am thinking about hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and staying all night at the Phanton Ranch. I have never been hiking before but my son has. We are wanting to go the middle of October. How bad is the heat and what kind of shape do I need to be in? Thought about the mule trip but some of the responses here weren't very positive.
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Old Jun 11th, 2004, 11:38 PM
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There are many posters over on this chat board that have done the hike.

http://www.grand.canyon.national-par...d/gracchat.htm

Utahtea
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Old Jun 12th, 2004, 08:30 AM
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If you have never been hiking before the Grand Canyon is NOT the place to start. Do you realize it is about 8 miles steep downhill to Phantom Ranch? Then coming up, if you go up the steep S. Kaibab, that is about 6.5 miles.

I consider myself in good shape and I can handle 10 mile hikes. I've hiked down to Supai in the western end of the Grand Canyon, and that trail is not nearly as challenging as what you are proposing. I would find what you want to do extremely challenging and I really think you need to put a lot more thought into what you would be getting yourself into.

I've done the mule trip and thought it was one of the most amazing travel experiences ever.
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Old Jun 12th, 2004, 09:32 AM
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Thanks for your input. I think I will take a better look at the mules - LOL. I'm middle aged so it would take ALOT to get me in shape for hiking since I have never done this type of thing before and I live in the Midwest where there isn't a hill for miles. I don't want to get there and be in over my head. My sons, 27 and 16, hiked Mt. Whitney last year. My 16 y/o, who had never been hiking, almost made it to the top when altitude sickness got to him, but my older son who is an experienced hiker made it to the top. I was thinking I could take the mule and the kids could hike to the bottom and we could meet at the Phantom Ranch.Would that work out? I have wanted to go to the bottom of the Grand Canyon since I was 9 years old and I think because of age, I'd better do it in the near future.
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Old Jun 12th, 2004, 12:06 PM
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Yes, I think the mule ride would work great for you! It's a long time on a mule, but it's a LOT easier than hiking!

When we did the mule ride, one dad hiked down and his family took the mules. They met each other at the bottom.

Being at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is an experience not to be forgotten. We rode the mules down with 60-something retirees who said they always dreamed of riding mules in the Grand Canyon and they finally did it. Go for it!
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Old Jun 12th, 2004, 12:28 PM
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No matter which way you get there you have to make reservations for Phantom Ranch ASAP. In March (2004), the first opening for Phantom Ranch was December 2005! I understand the mules book up just as far out.

I think October will be a fabulous time but it probably won't be this October.

You'll want to rent rooms for the rim for before and after as well as make reservations for meals while you are at Phantom Ranch.

You can make all those reservations at the same time.

Since it will probably be awhile before you do this, you would have time to get in shape so you could experience the whole experience with your sons.
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Old Jun 12th, 2004, 02:05 PM
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I didn't realize they were so booked up - I called them today and the first mule trip spot is 10/26/04 and I can't go then. I guess I need to get make reservations over a year ahead of time and hope I can be able to go when the time comes. I could get a room at the rim for the time in October I could go but probably not the Phantom Ranch either. She said to call back July 1st because I guess then they take the next 23 months so I'll try and reserve something in 2005. Even if there would be a cancellation in 2004, I'd have to coordinate the plane trip, the Phantom Ranch and mule trip together and that would be hard. I looked into a Dude Ranch in Wyoming in October but they are $$$$$.
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Old Jun 13th, 2004, 05:41 AM
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The Grand Canyon is in the high desert. When we went down the Hermit Trail and up the Boucher in late October the temperatures were still in the 80's. Distances can be deceiving with all the convoluted rock but the three of us including one 60 yr old with a bad leg made it without major problems. Just take your time and start out early in the morning. I actually found it easier going up rather than down since you can pace yourself better and walking down with weight on back you can sometimes slip on the small rocks on the trail more easily. I assume you will be going down either the Bright Angel or South Kaibab which are better maintained than the trails we were on.
If you don't mind camping out, there is a barebones campground near Phantom Ranch. Reservations are required here as well. Meals I believe can still be bought at the ranch but are pricey.
One of the biggest problems people bring on themselves is not drinking enough water. The Park Service recommends at least a gallon a day.
I don't think they offer the service but you might want to contact the mule company to see if they would carry your pack up.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 05:50 PM
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I've heard the mules WILL carry your packs down and back up but, once again, you better make your reservations with them far in advance.
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