Today marks one year I have to train for the rim-to-rim hike at the Grand Canyon. I’ll be doing the hike with my dad on Friday, September 14, 2017. We’ll spend Thursday night at the North Rim, and then very early Friday morning we will start down the North Kaibab Trail, 14.3 miles. We’ll spend Friday night at Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. It gives me goosebumps just to type that. We’ll get up the next morning and climb up the Bright Angel Trail, a total of 9.6 miles, every single one of them up. All total, we will hike 23.9 miles.
The first step to planning this trip (aside from my dad convincing me to do this) was reserving a room at the Phantom Ranch. I’m a natural-born planner, and my dad is a planner times 10. There will be no stone unturned when it comes to research for this trip. In order to reserve a cabin to spend the night at Phantom Ranch, we knew that we had to be prepared with a script for if/when we talked to someone at the reservations office (“any day after Labor Day, and we’d like a stew dinner please”). On Friday, September 1st, we manned our stations; Dad in the Houston area, me in the Dallas area. At 9:00 am sharp, we began dialing into the reservation center and emailing each other with our status (mostly “still on hold”). It took about 10-15 minutes to actually make the connection with the reservation center and hold for a ranger. We were both on hold for approximately 30 minutes. Then Dad got through to Ranger John. Hallelujah! I received an email from him saying, “Speaking to Ranger John.” The next email I received said we had a cabin reservation, stew dinner for two, breakfast the next morning, and a sack lunch for our ascent up Bright Angel Trail. My dad said he was just saying yes to whatever Ranger John suggested. I must say that every time I spoke to a ranger at Xanterra Resorts, she or he was extremely helpful and so patient, answering every one of my questions, no matter how inane. (Next year, reservations for Phantom Ranch will use a new lottery system. It will be interesting to see how that changes the way reservations are made.)
My hope is to chronicle the upcoming year of training, preparation, researching and planning. Maybe it will be helpful to others. Most of all, I think it will be fascinating to come back and read this after we’ve completed The Big Hike.
Here’s a partial list of what I hope to write about as the year progresses:
- Food/snack choices
- Training (this will be a major and ongoing topic!)