When my wife and I were in Kauai for our Honeymoon last year, we hiked Waimea Canyon and commented on how it compared in size to the Grand Canyon.[Not a valid template]
Becky had never seen the Grand Canyon while I had been to the South Rim when once when I was much younger. So when my brother was married in Las Vegas recently, my wife and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to go to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
One thing about Las Vegas is that it annoys me. By the time Monday had arrived, Becky and I were ready to leave ‘Sin City’ and head for the outdoors.
The drive to the Grand Canyon was diverse, following a route through Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. It took approximately five and a half hours to get to the North Rim and along the way, the towns of Hurricane (close to Zion National Park) and Fredonia were a joy to drive through. Once inside the Kaibab National Forest, the drive becomes quite scenic with pine trees and aspen dotting the landscape. Outside the forested area, the park road goes through some wonderful rolling meadows and along the way, we made a stop to allow a herd of cattle to cross the by-way.
We finally arrived at our campsite by 5:30pm but had problems keeping our time straight as we were mixed up between daylight savings time and the states we had driven through. I had tried to reserve a back country campsite three months earlier via fax for either Phantom Creek or Bright Angel Campground but unfortunately, the request for a backcountry site had been denied so I booked two nights at the North Rim Campground, and our last night at the North Rim Lodge. The temperature in Las Vegas had reached the 90s but at the campsite, the temperature had dropped to approximately 37 degrees the first night we were in the canyon. It was great! Our hike was going to be on the North Kaibab Trail leading to the Roaring Springs. It had been recommended that we start the hike early and try not to move during the hottest part of the day. As such, we started at 7am and we packed plenty Gatorade and water (eight bottles apiece) into Becky’s backcountry pack since it was all that we had brought with us.
At 0.7 miles we encountered the Coconino Overlook early and were most impressed. However, being as we wanted to avoid the afternoon heat, we kept going as we knew we would see it again on the way back up. There was a good amount of loose rock on the trail but my Vasque Sundowner hiking boots saved me, even after having rolled my ankle. After going through the Supai Tunnel, we encountered the Redwall Bridge after approximately two hours on the trail and a warming temperature in the low 80s. We had also experienced a 2150 foot elevation drop in 2.6 miles, not too shabby. After the Redwall Bridge, the trail became more exposed especially along the left side. There were some large drops, but the path was wide and well maintained. We then saw the Eye of the Needle and kept going to Roaring Springs. We finally reached Roaring Springs in two and a half hours after descending nearly 3,050 feet. By this time it felt like July in Houston and it showed as I drank one bottle of water on the descent and Becky had already drank three! Being a nurse, Becky warned me to drink even if I did not feel like it so I heeded her advice. We marveled at the water supply for the Canyon’s ten million visitors a year and thanked the Roaring Springs in advance for the water we would use.