Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
March 9 - 10, 2006  

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Grand Canyon National Park
See Trip Plan Below

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My main goal is to hike down to the river in Grand Canyon. Twelve years ago when I visited Grand Canyon, I wasn't able to hike down to the Colorado River to see the Inner Canyon. This time when I was planning this trip, my idea was to hike down, stay overnight either in Phantom Ranch or camp. However, Phantom Ranch was fully booked and all Backcountry Permits for overnight camping at Bright Angel Campground was also full.

With no luck, I had no choice but to hike rim-to-river, and back to rim in one day. The park service do not encourage anyone to attempt this in one day. There is the "Hike Smart" program to explain the dangers and troubles for hikers. Hey, ... I gotta do what I need to do.

I arrived late in the evening at Grand Canyon, and had only a little time to check out the time table of the shuttle bus connection. The next morning, I started at the South Kaibab Trailhead at 5:30am, and began my 8 mile downhill section. It was so dark that I literally just pounded down the trail with full speed without seeing a thing. Not until around 6:40am, I got some sunlight to shoot a few pictures.

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On the way to Grand Canyon with my rental car - Vibe.
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It is only 36F outside, very cold.

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Park Entrance is open for 24 hours, but no one is there to collect fees. Cool, it's free.

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Grand Canyon Post Office in the village.
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Front Gate Photo Opportunity
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These are all my stuff I carried for this hike.

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5:30am in Grand Canyon.
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South Kaibab Trailhead at 5:30am.
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Reached Cedar Ridge at 6:00am, still very dark.

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South Kaibab Trailhead Information is very detailed.

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6:30am
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Hiking down these cliffs.

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First view of the Grand Canyon is daylight. Can you see the switchbacks?
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Passing through a ridge line.

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Take a look at Grand Canyon at 6:31am.

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Ups and downs.
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Me and the Canyon.
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Sunrise and the breeze.

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Skeleton Point
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Another me and the Canyon.
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More downs than ups.

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Switchbacks forever ....
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Looking up to see what I did so far...!
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Almost half-way.

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My signature shadow in action.
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Awesome view of the Battleship.

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South Kaibab meets up with Tonto Trail.

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Canyon opens up below 4000 feet
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Colorado River.
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Still quite early in the morning.

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A glimpse of the sunshine.
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Me and Colorado River.
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Black Bridge Crossing.

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This Black Suspension bridge was originally built in 1920s.


Finally reaching the river, I was actually making very good time. I relaxed and slowed down to enjoy the view. It took me about 3 hours to the river. Half a mile more to Phantom Ranch, I took a break to have some food.

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Entering through this tunnel to the Black Brdige.
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Mule crossing the Bridge.

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Mule going up with the rim.
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Black Bridge Corssing.

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Strongest Shadowman Competition.
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They blasted through these rocks to build the trail.
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The Black Bridge Crossing.

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People did live here long time ago.
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Mule group stationed in Phantom Ranch.

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Mule deer wandering around Phantom Ranch.
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Young mule deer feeding on the branches.
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Phantom Ranch welcomes you.

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Wow.....I was that close to these mule deers.

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Look familiar, it's like my first-aid box.
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Silver Bridge Crossing onto Bright Angel Trail.
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Scary ?? Nah ....

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Crossing the Silver Bridge
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Colorado River ....
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OK. I guess a lot of people enjoyed bridge jumping before.

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Canyons and more canyons.
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Yes sir. I did hike this trail up.

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Stopping at the switchbacks.
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To realize that I did so many switchbacks already.

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Different layers of rock formation.
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Another layer of different rocks.

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There are these warning signs everywhere to discourage to hike rim-river-rim in one day.
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They collect water in the Canyon and supply it to the rim.

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Water Pump Station at Indian Garden Campground.
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It started snowing at 2pm in the Canyon.
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The mule riders up Bright Angel Trail behind me.

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Battleship in Grand Canyon.

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I started following the Mule Riders, as they have a good pace.
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Yes, I did those switchbacks already, more to come!

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Heavy snow coming in.
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More snow in higher elevation.
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Last mile up on snow covered trail.

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I decided to slow down to enjoy the view. Bye!
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Who wants to slide down ?
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The Grand Canyon view.

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The last 200 feet elevation are just cliffs.
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Snow, trees, canyons, sand, ....
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Didn't expect that much snow on the South Rim.

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The cabin on the cliff. Must have awesome views from there.

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Last 1000 feet of Bright Angel Trail.
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Ok. Almost there ...?
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Explaining the history of Mules and the Canyon.

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Grand Canyon from Yaki Point.

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Hey, I am one of these guys ...
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Hike Smart poster in the caferia.

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Who wants to slide down ?
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Backcountry Information Center. There is nobody at 4:30pm.

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Me at Yaki Point.

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Looking at South Kaibab Trail from Yaki Point ...
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Snow at Yaki Point.
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This is the snow in the next morning.




Location: South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Description: Rim to River, back to Rim in one day. Started at South Kaibab Trailhead on South Rim (7262 ft), down to the river, cross the Black Bridge to reach Phantom Ranch (2546 ft). This downhill section is about 8 mile. Then take the Bright Angel Trail up, through Indian Garden Campground (3800 ft), continue to the Bright Angel Trailhead on South Rim (6860 ft). This uphill section is about 10 mile. Total distance is 18 mile (28.8 km) with total elevation gain/loss of 9030 ft.

Map:
Grand Canyon National Park Map 1
          Grand Canyon National Park Map 2
          Grand Canyon National Park Backcountry Map

Resource(s): Grand Canyon National Park
          Grand Canyon National Park Backcountry Information
          My one day rim-to-river-to-rim route (Very detailed 11MB file)
          Grand Canyon National Park Trip Planner
          Hike Smart Program




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