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"Canyon Dreams" Top 5 Page for this destination Grand Canyon by goingsolo

Grand Canyon Travel Guide: 917 reviews and 3,131 photos

"Every walk is a sort of crusade-
a westward going, a wildward going-
a journey toward self-awareness, transformation, and the future."

Henry David Thoreau

In November, 2001, I took a trip to Arizona and stopped at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, almost as an afterthought. Since I was in the area, I figured I'd stop by and see this "must see" place known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

I read somewhere that the average visitor spends 8 minutes looking at the Grand Canyon. I headed over on a day trip, thinking the couple of hours allotted for the excursion would be sufficient.

Something changed in me forever when I saw the Canyon for the first time. I don't remember those 8 minutes going by or the time that followed. I was awestruck, utterly fascinated by the sight that lay before me. By the time my now clearly too short visit was over, two things were apparent to me. I knew I had to return. I also knew that I had to hike to the bottom.

Two years later, the dream came true. In November, 2003, just days after my 30th birthday, I set out from the South Rim in the pouring near freezing rain on a long anticipated three day excursion to the bottom of the Canyon. Hiking the Grand Canyon had been my objective since that November day two years prior. It didn't quite go as I planned, but it was more than I could have imagined.

I plan to return one day to hike from the North Rim to the bottom. Since I haven't been out there yet, I don't dream of the hike with the vivid images that haunted me for 2 years before the South Rim hike. But I still dream of the Canyon and anticipate the day I can make the dream continue.

In November, 2003, I began my 3 day hike from the South Rim to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. To say that things did not go as planned would be the biggest understatement of my not exactly understated life. At 7 a.m. the first morning of the hike, Jim and Dan, my hiking guides and companions on this otherwise unexpectedly solo trip, arrived bearing not so great news. A weather system had blown over the area and was expected to last for three days. Depending on the severity of the storm, we could encounter flash floods and rockslides along the Hermit Trail, our intended route.

I'd began planning this trip a year and a half in advance. For many reasons, it was something I needed to do. So many things had stood in the way, but, in spite of them, I made it this far. I told Jim that canceling wasn't an option and that we needed to go. He smiled and said, "This is your dream. It's taken a lot for you to get out here. We'll find a way to make it happen." If he only knew the truth of what he was saying.

Jim and Dan managed to get a permit to camp at Bright Angel and Indian Gardens, which they felt was a safer route, given the weather. So we set off later that Monday morning, under gray skies which had been clear blue in my dreams, bundled up to protect against pelting rain and 30 degree temperatures. Jim promised me 2 things that morning: that we would make it safely and that it would be an incredible experience. He was right on both counts.

Oftentimes in our travels, we meet people who have an impact on us. On a very rare occasion, we meet those whose words and actions touch us so deeply that they leave an imprint on our hearts and minds. For me, those people are usually the ones who do not realize that they have done something so powerful. They are usually the humble everday sorts just going about their business, neither wanting nor seeking praise and attention, yet creating a bit of road magic for those fortunate enough to cross their paths. Jim was one of those people.

On that cold Monday morning when I contemplated quitting , Jim reminded me that this was my dream and that he was here to make it happen. It was, and, thanks to his perseverance, he did. I'll always be grateful for that, and, in some way, this page is my tribute to this very special man who inspires people far more than he realizes. Thanks, Jim.

This page will focus on hiking within the Canyon. For information about the park itself, see my Grand Canyon National Park page.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Indescribable views
  • Cons:Unpredictable weather
  • In a nutshell:A wonderous place and humbling experience
  • Last visit to Grand Canyon: Nov 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (28)

Comments (9)

  • Feb 13, 2007 at 8:11 AM

    I absolutely love the picture of the river, overlooking the bridge and Phanton Ranch area. What kind of camera did you use and what filters? I did the hike twice, last time on my 40th birthday. Hope to get back. Chris

  • VeronicaG's Profile Photo
    Jan 2, 2007 at 2:00 PM

    It sounds like this "dream hike" was the best therapy for a broken heart--it must feel wonderful to know that you were able to cut it!! Best to you in 2007...

  • tony248's Profile Photo
    May 7, 2006 at 10:15 AM

    A perfect example of the false idea that real life can be labeled, classified, and filed. Amazing how what we see and experience can change our lives. It seems yours was indeed a life changeing trip. I am happy for you.

  • Aleyd's Profile Photo
    Dec 15, 2005 at 7:16 PM

    Hi, Really beautiful Grand Canyon pages. Will definately be coming back when I have some more time. Aleyd :-)

  • Sn0wFlake's Profile Photo
    Jul 25, 2005 at 5:03 AM

    Wonderful page, thank you! My hike down (july 2005) was very hot but so wonderful. One has to experience it her/himself... some of your comments were just like I would think! Safe travels! :)

  • Mar 28, 2005 at 12:49 PM

    Great page! Your trek is impressive :) S&I

  • Waalewiener's Profile Photo
    Nov 6, 2004 at 9:47 PM

    Wowww 3 days right inside the Grand Canyon that is impressive L ,my son and I took a little hike down a trail but we just went a short distance. I did see some people hiking way down ,and boy that looked great .Your picture and your stories are great.

  • Fen's Profile Photo
    Oct 31, 2004 at 6:22 AM

    Great pictures here and YES the Grand Canyon is just amazing....!

  • freya_heaven's Profile Photo
    Oct 24, 2004 at 12:46 PM

    Such a moving and wonderful page. I am so pleased you achieved your dream, (almost shed a tear myself!) I love your style of writing. Your Colorado River photo is vertigo inducing! Happy Travels (~_~)


“"Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life."”

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