The Grand Canyon Descent
Prior to sharing my experiences on both rims of The Grand Canyon, I wanted to pass along some important information. Every year visitors die at The Grand Canyon. I just read in an Arizona paper that two people died this week, making 2007's total grow to eight. It is now two weeks later and two more people fell to their deaths at the North Rim. Be careful when you visit this great National Park. Nature can be as dangerous as it is beautiful!
One other thought. Please take the time to go below the rim. 90% of the people never get to experience what a difference it makes! I see old people, people with disabilities, over weight folks enjoying a great life experience "below the rim". Even if you only go down a few hundred feet, you will see what a difference it makes!
My son and I left Waterloo, Iowa and flew to Phoenix in anticipation of hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I was armed with a digital camera and a 8mm camcorder in order to capture this event the best I could.
My son was right, NOTHING can touch the Canyon!
After a late start (left at 9:45) we hopped on a shuttle to theSouth Kaibab trailhead where we were set for the descent. I took a lot of pictures and we wern't in any hurry intially. It was June of 2004 and the summer weather was getting hotter by the minute. What beauty the Grand Canyon has! We reached Cedar Ridge where people on mules were coming up from below. Boy did they look hot and uncomfortable! The scenery, mules and their riders made for a nice picture. Now we could see the great vistas of the Grand Canyon, including a Condor flying overhead. I asked a Ranger how far we were from the Phantom Ranch where we had planned to spend the night. He replied "you are only about 10 to 15% of the way down." It was supposed to be 113 degrees at the bottom that day and the Ranger was concerned we might have problems with the extreme heat. I told him we had a lot of food and Powerade to drink.
As we proceeded past Cedar Ridge it became hotter yet and the wind picked up. I might have seen 2 or 3 people during the next 6 hours at most. We stopped at Skeleton Point to get out of the sun. The only place that provided any shade was an outdoor restroom facility. It was one of the worst smells ever and the sign said not to light anything because you would blow up. Now I know where the name "Skeleton Point" came from. Not the smell but it was an area that was like a plateau - hot and windy and no signs of life.
I will continue on down into the Canyon in my next chapter.