Grand Canyon, December 2005
In December of 2000 Em and I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
and spent two cold nights shivering in our tent and crappy sleeping
bags. Then in August of 2004 Em and I rafted the Grand Canyon and
had a fine time sleeping out under the stars. We vowed to never
again visit the canyon in the winter. Only one year later I was
headed back down, without Em, but with Will/Jill and Ma/Pa. I
maintain that I'd rather go during the height of summer rather than the
winter, but since my brother was coming all the way from Florida I made
A very brief summary of this trip follows however if you would like
to read about our other Grand Canyon trips use the links below:
2000 December: Hike
2004 August: Raft
Fly to Las Vegas after work. Meet Ma/Pa and Will/Jill at the Hertz
rental office. Rent mini-van. Drive to the Luxor. Get
to bed well after midnight.
Wake up after 4 hours sleep. Drive to Grand Canyon (~ 4 hours due
to exceeding speed limit by 15 to 20 mph). Hike down and
camp. Ma/Pa take Bright Angel Trail the whole way. The rest
of us take the Bright Angel Trail to the Tonto Trail to the South Kaibab
Trail. The Tonto Trail is really neat! Boil in a zip-lock
bag dinners are a failure.
Wake up with wild turkeys and deer. Cook oatmeal by pouring
boiling water in zip-lock bags. Abandon zip-lock bags and cook/eat
oatmeal from the pot with great success. Attempt to drink Wolfgang
Puck self heating coffee. Taste is terrible and heat never exceeds
luke warm. Go for walk on River Trail then move gear to
cabin. Take hot showers. Play blackjack where the winner
does NOT have to eat a Harry Potter Bertie Bott's jelly bean. I
almost die eating a rotten egg flavor. Go for walk with Will up
North Kaibab Trail to Phantom Creek before dinner. Eat steak
dinner at Phantom Ranch. Ma/Pa have lentil loaf. Go to bed
Up early for 5:30 am breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon, canned fruit,
orange juice, and coffee at the Phantom Ranch. Start hike out on
South Kaibab Trail. Make it to top in just under 4 hours.
Catch two shuttle buses back to Bright Angel Lodge and give myself a
bath with my bandana in the restroom sink. Everyone else arrive 1
hour later. I drive to Las Vegas and on two occasions should have
gotten speeding tickets. Check in a Bellagio. Eat dinner at
Olive's. Walk around in Bellagio. Will/Ma play blackjack and
win $100. Get gelato in Bellagio. Go to bed. Wake up
due to Pa snoring. Move to bathroom and sleep on floor.
Walk around the strip. Drive to airport. Split up.
Catch flights home.
|A group shot prior to starting down the Bright Angel Trail.
|Amazingly vertical faces such as this are not uncommon.
||After going about halfway down the Bright Angel
Trail we turn onto the Tonto Trail which will take us to the
South Kaibab Trail.
||In case you couldn't tell, it was pretty cold,
which is not unexpected for the Grand Canyon in December.
|When crossing the Tonto Plateau the terrain is generally
level but you must weave in and out to go around these
drainages. In this photo we are looking back over trail we
have already covered.
|It's well known that canyon hiking leads to irrational
|One must hike for a considerable amount of time before
reaching the edge of the Tonto Plateau at which point you get
these spectacular views of the Colorado River.
||Our destination is in sight, the Bright Angel
Campgrounds which set amid the trees. We spent a cold
night and were happy knowing we would spend the following night
in a Phantom Ranch cabin.
|Willy and Casey on the South Kaibab Trail. The
portion of the Bright Angel Trail that parallels the river is
visible between us.
|A wild turkey inspects my Jacks R Better quilt / serape.
Since the weather forecast called for clear skies I didn't bring
a tent and spent the night out in the elements. The quilt
was not wide enough to cover me when sleeping on my side so it
was a cold night.
|If you see this man do not make eye contact, slowly turn
around, then run away screaming and contact the authorities as
soon as possible.
|After two nights in the canyon we went back up the South
Kaibab Trail. We are about halfway up at this point and
decided to take a break.
|This shot was taken at the same place as the previous
one. In it we see Ma waving as she heads back from the
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