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.