North Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon

After Bryce Canyon we went to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Since we traveled during prime season we did not expect to get a camping spot inside the National Park without reservation, so we grabbed a spot on the National Forest campground Demotte just outside the park. After picking a site we went straight into the park. Along the way we saw a herd of bison and of course stopped for some picture. On the way to the visitor center we checked at the campground to see if we could reserve a site for the next day. To our surprise we got one.

We headed over to the Lodge and Visitor Center to get our first views of the Grand Canyon. Then we spent the rest of the day driving to the various view points and taking small walks. At one of the view points we started getting our camp kitchen out to prepare lunch when the leader of a tour bus group asked us if we’d be interested in some lunch bags. It turned out that his group had plenty of lunch bags left and they donated them to us. In the late afternoon we took a little hike along Uncle Jim’s trail. In the evening we went to our camp spot, set up the tents, prepared dinner and went to bed early. We needed to get some sleep because the next day would start well before sunrise. I wanted to show our guests my favorite hike into the canyon.

In summer it takes careful planning and preparation to hike into the canyon. We wanted to hike down about 3000 ft (900 m) on the North Kaibab trail to the Roaring Springs picnic area. Going down into the canyon is usually easy, coming back up when it’s hot is when people get in trouble. Not knowing how our visitors would handle the heat and effort I took plenty of food and carried an extra 4l of water just in case. We started hiking just after sunrise and arrived at Roaring Springs around 8:30. We kept our break shorter than we would have liked, it would have been fun to cool of more in the creek, but I was concerned about the rising temperatures and our climb back up. So after dipping our hats in the creek and soaking our shirts we started the climb back up. Along the way we came to a spot where water was seeping out of the canyon wall and collecting in a little puddle. We use a cup to poor some of that water over ourselves for a nice cooling effect. Once back up at Supai tunnel we met a lot of not so well prepared hikers (people without hats, just one bottle of water). We rested at little in topped our water supplies of with the warm water from the faucet here. The final section was the hottest with the sun right above us and the sandy ground and hot side walls radiating heat on us. We came up to a middle aged couple who were clearly struggling. They said they were ok, but low on water. By this time we knew that we didn’t need the extra water I was carrying and we filled up their bottles. They also did not bring enough snacks, so we left them with some of ours.

After the hike we went to the camp ground for some lunch. We spent the afternoon doing laundry, taking showers and resting. Dinner was pizza on the patio of the Lodge and Margarita’s for those of legal age. It was a good place and time to reminisce about previous Grand Canyon hikes (R2R2R in 3 days, R2R2R in under 24h). Our camp site was close to the rim so in the morning we could watch the sun starting to move into the canyon.

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