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Scored a Cabin at Grand Canyon's Phantom Ranch....

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Jul 2nd, 2013, 06:03 AM
  #1
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Scored a Cabin at Grand Canyon's Phantom Ranch....

Hi all!

After trying on the 1st of every month for over a year, I finally managed to get a reservation at Phantom Ranch (bottom of the Grand Canyon). The cherry on top? It is for 2 nights in a cabin. The caveat? July 4th and 5th, 2014. Looking at the current heat warnings, I'm beginning to second guess myself here. The physical challenge of going down and back up is enough, having to hike in 110ºF might be more than what I bargained for. Any thoughts?
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Jul 2nd, 2013, 08:24 AM
  #2
 
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You have a year to get ready so that helps. I wouldn't do it in summer unless I was in great shape. The good part is you won't have to carry a tent/sleeping bag and all the backpacking gear since you have a cabin. Go light, hike really early and it is doable. You shouldn't have to hike in 110F temps if you're up early.

This is the excessive heat warning on the NPS page:
THIS WARNING IS RESERVED FOR ONLY THE HOTTEST DAYS OF THE YEAR AND IS ISSUED WHEN TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED TO RISE TO DANGEROUS LEVELS. DAY HIKERS ON BRIGHT ANGEL TRAIL SHOULD DESCEND NO FURTHER THAN 1 1/2 MILES. BETWEEN 10 AM AND 4 PM...PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IS DISCOURAGED. HIKERS SHOULD ATTEMPT TO BE OUT OF THE CANYON...AT INDIAN GARDEN OR BRIGHT ANGEL CAMPGROUND BETWEEN THESE HOURS. ALL HIKERS SHOULD HAVE ADEQUATE GEAR...INCLUDING A WIDE-BRIMMED HAT...SUNSCREEN...SALTY SNACKS...SUFFICIENT WATER AND ELECTROLYTE MIX. DOUBLING YOUR CALORIE INTAKE HELPS MAINTAIN YOUR ENERGY. HIKE SMART.

Like I said, if you start really early you should be ok as long as you prepare for it. You'd need to get going and be at Indian Gardens pretty early. Same for hiking down, North Kaibab has better views but no water and little shade, but it is a bit shorter. If you take that trail down, for sure you'd want to start at least an hour before sunrise.

I think along with the issue of hiking in/out, you have to ask yourself what you would do during the day. There's little point in hiking all the way to Phantom Ranch and then sitting in the cabin where it's tolerably cool all day. You probably wouldn't go hiking to Ribbon Falls as that is excruciatingly hot during the day. And you can only sit in Bright Angel Creek for so long....so think long and hard about what you would do if it's so hot that you can't be active down there.

Oh, and when it's really hot snakes tend to be more active at night because it's simply too hot during daylight hours. So you would need to watch for that as you're hiking in/out while it's dark...a headlamp is essential (obviously).

Personally, I wouldn't do it for the last 2 reasons. I could prepare well enough to get there and back, but I hate watching for snakes all the time and I wouldn't want to be restricted from exploring the bottom because it's too hot to move.
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Jul 2nd, 2013, 09:15 AM
  #3
J62
 
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Personally I wouldn't do it, for the reasons stated above. You could manage the hike in/out but there's not enough to do at phantom to pass 2 days without being able to enjoy the various side hikes.
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Jul 2nd, 2013, 09:37 AM
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Unless you come from somewhere that is about that hot and you are conditioned to it, then I wouldn't do it. I am in Oklahoma, where it is very humid and I work outside every day. I wouldn't do it. I like to enjoy hiking and look forward to it-not in fear and/or dread.
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Jul 2nd, 2013, 10:08 AM
  #5
 
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Can you keep trying for another date? And cancel if you get a more seasonable time of year?

In a matter of a few years I have been acclimated by having central air and would melt. How quickly the human race has changed in the past 150 years from no heat and ac to needing it.
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Jul 2nd, 2013, 04:09 PM
  #6
 
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I was at Phantom Ranch on Wednesday, 6 days ago.

I was on a training run with 2 other athletes, and we were prepared for the ordeal but if I were going for a vacation I would never, ever do it in July.

We left the South Rim at 3 am and got to Phantom around 6:00am when it was probably in the mid 80's. By noon it was near 110, and all you could do was sit in the creek. At 7pm we hiked back up to the South Rim, and it was 98 degrees.

When the sun went down it was still blistering hot. The rocks bake all say and radiate the heat at night. There was no relief.

Also, the water system had broken (apparently this is common) so they had brought bottled water that was about 85 degrees. Ugh. Luckily we brought a filter so we took cool water directly out of the creek.

The folks at Cottonwood Camp and Phantom did not seem to be having fun; they were enduring. Understand that it never cools down; I don't know what those folks did all day. Not my idea of spending a vacation.
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Jul 2nd, 2013, 04:13 PM
  #7
 
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OMG...my friend is doing this next week. I Just sent her the link, hope it doesn't ruin her holiday but I don't want her roasting to death at the GC.

I can't stand it when it's above 70F - I would never survive even thinking about doing this, let alone actually being there.
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Jul 2nd, 2013, 06:12 PM
  #8
 
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mari - I know you are used to heat, but the hot and humid you know is not comparison to the scorching dry heat here in the SW. Seriously reconsider this. There is a reason you got that cancellation - someone else wised up.
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Jul 2nd, 2013, 06:39 PM
  #9
 
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Debit,
I imagine they got it on the first of the month yesterday.

It would be hard to predict what the weather is going to do a year from now. May not be as hot, but would be plenty warm I would imagine.
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Jul 2nd, 2013, 07:40 PM
  #10
 
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Think this over carefully. I read that there was a death on Sunday. http://www.azcentral.com/news/arizon...nd-canyon.html

I tried to get a March reservation without luck. Now I'm thinking that may be too late after talking with a father & son who thought the heat was bad last year. I like hiking but I know I wouldn't do well in that kind of heat.
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Jul 2nd, 2013, 07:51 PM
  #11
 
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My bad, I see now the way the reservations work. No one knows what weather will be like next year, but I don't think it much matters, July in the bottom of the Grand Canyon is never going to be "not hot".
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Jul 2nd, 2013, 07:56 PM
  #12
 
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There may not be a record-breaking heat wave this time next year. Everyone thinks, heck, it's always like an oven there, but really, this year is unusually bad.

However--
When we lived in Arizona, i knew loads of people who hiked to Phantom Ranch regularly, with and without guests, and they were leery of taking people in the summer who were not in top shape or not acclimated to dry heat or not used to the elevation. I would tell anyone who falls into even one of those categories to realize that summer makes it all tougher.
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Jul 2nd, 2013, 09:31 PM
  #13
 
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The NPS website shows the average high in July is 106, average low is 78.
http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisi...-condition.htm

The woman that died recently was out hiking in the hottest part of the day on the South Kaibab trail, which has virtually no shade and absolutely no water. It doesn't matter if there's record heat, that's just never a good idea. That's why every recommendation for summer is to start very early and absolutely avoid mid-day.

The hike down is doable if you start really early - an average low of 54 at the rim means you'd actually be fairly comfortable for most of the hike if you start really early, like 2 or 3 am. You should hit the bottom well before it gets really hot.

With an average low of 78 at the bottom and an average high of 84 at the top, it's realistic to plan your hike out so you don't experience anything hotter than lower 80s. That's doable.

Just ask yourself though - what are you trying to get out of this experience? You'd have to start hiking in the dark and would miss alot of the views along the way. You'd be restricted in what you could do at the bottom due to the heat. To me, that just doesn't sound like what you're hoping to get out of this trip. I hiked down in early November and loved all of it (the hike down/up, Phantom Ranch, the side hikes I did down there) - I guess if you've never done the hike before you won't know what you're missing by hiking in the dark and just sitting around Phantom trying to stay cool. But I would recommend you pick a cooler month just so you can have the full experience and not have to hold back due to the heat - obviously you aren't expecting to make it back on a regular basis so make your first trip as enjoyable as possible.
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Jul 3rd, 2013, 11:16 AM
  #14
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Thanks for all the replies!

Lots of food for thought.

Like Deb said, I do fine in over 90ºF temps but with very high humidity.

For now I will keep the rez and start trying again in October/November to see if I manage to get something for better dates.
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Jul 6th, 2013, 12:40 AM
  #15
 
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I'll come back and let you know if my friend comes home alive. I think she left today or tomorrow. I sent her this thread and begged her not to go. Her wish list, in order was:
NO death
No injury
No run-ins with creatures with more than four legs
No run-ins with creatures with fewer than four legs

I wished her the best of luck and told her to hike in the middle of the night with a flashlight.
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Jul 21st, 2013, 08:20 AM
  #16
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Hi Skiergirl! Do you know how it went?
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Jul 21st, 2013, 10:41 AM
  #17
 
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I am also interested in how your friend did.

After hiking in the GC, my husband bought me a book called " Death in the Grand Canyon.". Lots of preventable deaths like people literally falling off the edge taking photos, but the dehydration and heat stroke deaths are the most excruciating to read. Sometimes people had as much water as they could carry, but it still wasn't enough to keep them from heat stroke.
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