Along the South Kaibab

We started off around 11:40 at the South Kaibab trailhead. We each had about 30lbs of camping gear, clothes, food, and 4 liters of water strapped to our backs. This was our first-ever backpacking trip. And we chose the Grand Canyon. Start big, right?

It was amazing…[ly hard]. I mean really, the Grand Canyon is stunning to the point of being overwhelming. I think we really were overwhelmed on the way down. It’s hard to truly appreciate something so big and beautiful. I think that’s one of the reasons I’m so enthusiastic about hiking into it. It’s like getting a great big hug from the canyon. Your experience of it changes with every footstep.

We took a break for lunch at Cedar Ridge and then continued on, stopping for fuel and a dedicated moment of appreciation every hour or so. The total distance from the trailhead to the Bright Angel Campground is 6.8 miles. Those last 2 were killer. By the time we got to the rim of the inner canyon, we were doing ok, but getting all the way down to the river from there was really hard. Going downhill, especially down steps, is not easy on the knees, and the afternoon was quickly turning into evening, so we felt a little rushed.

Towards the end our hiking poles became crutches, supporting us at every step, but we made it, almost seven hours later—all the way to the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon! From there we crossed the black pedestrian/mule suspension bridge and hiked along the river to the campground. We arrived just before 6:30. Our calves were so sore we could barely walk.

At the South Kaibab trailhead of the Grand Canyon, ready to go
At the South Kaibab trailhead, ready to go
Stephanie hiking along the South Kaibab trail in the Grand Canyon
Stephanie hiking
Justin enjoying a view along the South Kaibab trail in the Grand Canyon
I spent a lot of time doing just this
Dramatic clouds and their shadows seen from the South Kaibab trail in the Grand Canyon
Dramatic clouds and their shadows
Particularly cliffy part of the South Kaibab trail in the Grand Canyon
Particularly cliffy part of the trail
Reaching the inner plateau along the South Kaibab trail in the Grand Canyon
Reaching the inner plateau
View of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon
Almost down to the Colorado River


Well done you guys :) The Bright Angel is a pretty impressive start to your backpacking careers.

By the way, don’t worry about souvenirs, that red dust is going to be with you for as long as you own that gear.

I am in awe. You guys are amazing.


I want bigger pictures! Do you have your photo gallery from the trip online somewhere? BTW, My palms were getting sweaty as I looked at the pictures and remembered being there on that section of the trail. I especially didn’t like it when it went around a corner and I couldn’t see where I was going next.

Jackson and Terrie, thanks. A year ago we were buying our first tent (coincidentally, both of you left helpful comments on that post). It almost seems like we’d planned this all along, but it kind of just happened.

Dad, yes, bigger pictures. Have a photo gallery project in the background, but it’s sort of been on hold since about the time I posted that, as life got seriously hectic. Hoping to get back to it though.

Gorgeous pictures, Justin.

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