That’s been my week of sore muscles because I hiked the Grand Canyon this past Saturday!
Well, technically, we only hiked a little, itty bit of it. Still, we logged 10.5 miles and over 3,000 feet of elevation gain (that’s like 2.5 Piestewa Peaks stacked on top of each other!). Though the hike kicked my booty, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. It’s so important for my mind, body, and spirit to push myself out of my comfort zone. Plus, this time of year, if you get lucky and avoid the Spring showers, the weather is absolutely stunning.
Oh, and the canyon is stunning, too. But I don’t think I have to mention that, right? (See above.)
Here’s how we did it with some tips if you’re interested in planning a day-hike trip.
- Stay near Williams, AZ. We rented a VRBO for two nights on the northern outskirts of Williams, AZ and the price was more than reasonable. The canyon was only a 45 minute drive away so we woke up at 6am, made ourselves breakfast, packed some food and water, and were on our way. It was so nice to return to a house and crash out after the hike was done! Plus, our location choice avoided all the reservation nightmares I’ve heard so much about when staying AT the South Rim. And downtown Williams is super cute, btw!
- Choose your hike wisely. There are a number of trails available around the South Rim. We chose the Bright Angel Trail because it’s the easiest in terms of parking and access. If you go into the canyon, you’ll see signs posted that say, “Down is optional. Up is mandatory!” So true. It is too easy to fool yourself into believing this is an easy hike (I made this grave mistake several years ago in AUGUST like a MORON). 90% of the effort is on the second half of the hike after you’ve already been on your feet for a few hours so keep that in mind.
- Be aware of water supply. There are water stations along the Bright Angel Trail but they are only seasonally active. I hiked with 3L of water and refilled at Indian Garden (about 4 miles down) but, with the weather being so mild, I carried way more than I needed. That’s the best mistake to make when it comes to desert hiking.
- Listen to your body. I’m a hiking book author and, let me tell you, I’ve been on TONS of hikes. This time around, I happened to be with a group of humans stronger/fitter/faster/badasser than me so I was the slowest hiker by far! But once I finally settled into myself and stopped trying to match their pace, I fell into a lovely rhythm of my own and genuinely found myself in a euphoric, inspired mindset as I crawled like a tortoise up the canyon wall. It was awesome!
- Do it! How lucky are we to live in the same state as the Grand Canyon? People literally travel across the globe for a mere glimpse. So go do it!
Blog by Lilia[ssboost]