Thursday 3 May 2012

Arizona Trail 2010 - Part 8, Grand Canyon Village to Grand Canyon North Rim

Your first real view of the Grand Canyon is special and cannot be put into words. It's immense in every direction and stunningly beautiful. I just sat and gazed for a long, long time. Everybody should visit the Grand Canyon at least once in their lives.

The way down is via the South Kaibab Trail which starts at a height of 2193m and drops over 1000m to its base. As you drop the forests are left behind and you find yourself back in the desert. Carry plenty of water.

The trail is popular with other forms of transport. Don't expect to have the trail to yourself, but an early start helps.

Down, down, down...

Just stunning...

At the base you cross the Colorado River, first through a tunnel, and then over its suspension bridge. Packrafting trip anyone...

We had permits to camp at Cottonwood Camp which was surprisingly quiet for a Friday night. Food storage boxes are provided and should be used. By this stage of the AZT you are probably fit enough to cross the Grand Canyon in one day, which means that no permits would be required. But if at all possible take your time on this section.

The way out the Grand Canyon is via Bright Angel Canyon which takes you towards the north rim.

The final climb is up Roaring Springs Canyon. Gradients start quite shallow and easy, but as you climb it gets steeper and steeper...

... and towards the top of the rim it's very steep with lots of switchbacks. Notice the change from desert at the canyon base to snow covered slopes on the rim. Only in the Grand Canyon!

With an altitude of 2582m expect plenty of snow on the North Rim. On the rim is the Grand Canyon Lodge which serves food, has a small store and a Post Office.

Continue to part 9