Our blogger Kendra is on a road trip across the United States. Check back here for weekly updates on her trip. Today she writes about hiking and camping in the Grand Canyon.
I’m not unfamiliar with hiking. I lace up the boots occasionally and go for a two or three hour hike, so I thought hiking and camping in the Grand Canyon would be a bearable challenge. Here is what it ended up being:
We arrived at the Grand Canyon later in the day and went to the Backcountry Information Center, to get a camping permit. We came unprepared and luckily there were two spots left at the campsite Indian Garden. We started down at 4pm. This bad planning came in handy as the sun barely hit us on the way down.
The walk down had plenty of liquid with water stops every mile and a half. It was hot. I have never sweat as much and was soaking my shirt in the water wells the whole way down. It was breezy near the top, but the lower we went the hotter it got.
We kept passing people on their way up who looked like zombies. They were completely drained and as I happily galloped downward I had a feeling I would be looking a lot like them when I was on my way up.
We were welcomed into the campsite by a deer. The Indian Garden campsite was gorgeous, but by the time I got there I could barely enjoy the surroundings. I was wayyy to tired. The ranger at the Backcountry Information Center had recommended going the extra mile and a half from the campsite to Plateau Point to watch the sunset. When we got to the campsite the only thing I wanted was sleep. After putting down all the gear and drinking plenty of water the walk, seemed worth it and it sure was. From the plateau you can see the setting sun, the Colorado River, and jaw-dropping rock structures.
That night I had bad dreams galore, imagining I’d be stuck in the Grand Canyon forever. I woke up in a sweat at 4am. My nightmare mind decided we had to leave as quickly as possible before the Grand Canyon consumed us. It may have been a little overdramatic, but getting out so early meant we were out of the sun on some of the way up. The hike up was rough and I can guarantee that I looked worse than all those people I took pity on the day before.
After getting out, I could barely take off my shoes and socks and change into some not sweaty clothes… it was that bad. My recommendation for people who want to see the Grand Canyon. Drive to the best view points and if you want to hike go to the mile and a half water point and call it a day. You’ll be exhausted enough by that. That way you can sleep, relax, and eat in a Northern Arizona rental, not on the canyon floor.