2013 S.W. Road Trip – Day 09, 10, 11, 12 – Tucson, NM to Flagstaff, NM – Grand Canyon Backpacking

And finally the part of the trip which the rest was organized around. A trek into the grand canyon. It was an amazing trip. Life changing even.

An interesting note about rattlesnakes, from wikipedia, “Caution is advised even when snakes are believed to be dead; rattlesnake heads can see, flick the tongue, and inflict venomous bites for up to an hour after being severed from the body.” EWWWW

We spent four days and three nights in the canyon.

The first day we descended into Hermit Trail. It was probably the most difficult day of the trek. Heaviest pack, body not used to backpacking, 3,000 feet of loosing elevation and 8 miles. I think going down(descending) rocky paths is the most jarring on your joints while ascending is harder on your muscles and cardiovascular system. We jaunted along, saw a ton of cactus, and agave plants. We learned that hte most dangerous animal in the canyon is the squirrel (mice and rats too) because they carry the plague. Yes the plague. They are often seen as not dangerous and fed often so people approach them with hands outstretched and get bit. We had to put our food in chain mail bags to prevent them from getting into it.

We stopped briefly to fill up Steven’s water (the red bag photo) but kept on trucking. We also took a break about every hour or 1.5 hours and dropped the packs. We eventually got to our camp ground. It seemed like an Oasis as it actually had a nice stream running near by it and most of us got in the water to clean up. We had some kind of asian food for dinner.

Our guide, Chris Hoge, was amazing and perhaps pampered us to much! He was a great cook, nice guy, and was definitely worth the cost of the trip. Highly recommended.

Night started to creep in and we settled in for the first night. Tons of noise between critters, snoring, water, and the wind. Difficult for us lighter sleepers.

The next day was an easy one. We started by visiting an old hotel. There was an old rusted cable car which we walked around. After checking that out We only hiked about five miles then did a small trek down to the Colorado River. Watching those rapids close up was really interesting. Huge. We spent a good amount of time on the ‘beach’ down there. On the trek back we climbed up a small river path. It was a challenging climb but a lot of fun. Bouldering? At the camp site that night someone yelled they saw a rattler but in reality it was probably a bug. We didn’t see him.

The third day we had a long one, around 8 miles. But accomplished most of it before noon. We were treated to a beautiful camp site, an oasis. It had a ton of comfy (not really) rocks to sit on, a table, and some great tent spots. There was some nice shade and a tiny trickling river to boot. Beautiful. We set up camp and Alisha’s/Steven’s tent almost blew away even though it was well secured.

The final day we left early again and had 8 miles and 3K feet of elevation to climb. We pushed hard and got to the top before noon. We raced up the first segment(1.5 miles) of the incline with packs on. Steven destroyed us, he is used to marching 50+ miles with a ruck. Yikes. It was a fun challenge though. :–)

It was amazing being out and being able to use regular toilets (not pit toilets) and have a mirror. Awesome trip. I definitely would go again, maybe without a guide next time? Who knows. Chris and the crew I went with were awesome. Wow.

Author: Adam Perkins

Startup Entrepreneur from Madison Wisconsin.