I don't really know what to say about this. I am at a loss for words and last night was at a loss of breath by the time I finished.
I had planned on Hiking Bright Angel and set a departure time of 4am due to the Heat down below. I also had been reading up and thought if I made good time maybe just maybe I would go to Ribbon Falls and then head back. I started out at 4am sharp. Parking was easy as there wasn't much movement around the park just yet.
Headlamp on, hat on, Camelbak on, green apple consumed, it's time to head out. For the first 45 minutes I needed the headlamp and then it wasn't necessary. I had no idea what I was about to encounter, I had no idea what I was about to accomplish but I was looking forward to a great adventure down to the Colorado River and back up. I chose Bright Angel Trail over South Kaibab for two reasons: 1-It's the first hike in the book (100 classic hikes in Arizona) and 2-It has water available. My Camelbak only holds 70 ounces which turned out to be perfect.
Anyway it was a steep but easy enough descent down. When I hit Indian Gardens I was amazed by the plants and how green everything was. A deer drinking out of the creek didn't seem to be bothered by me. The sun was working its way up and for the first time I truly got to see the Grand Canyon from inside. How cool this is I thought to myself. Soon enough I was at the Colorado River and saw its raw power and force as I crossed the Silver Bridge. Phantom Ranch was the end of the hike as planned but shoot it was only 7am. Are you kidding me I normally am just now waking up. Time to head on up to Ribbon Falls which according to the sign was 5.7 miles away. Upon arrival I cross the bridge and hike back to the Falls. Oh My Gosh this is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. I am just in awe and want to spend the day here. I had no idea the Grand Canyon had anything like this and I have lived in Arizona 23 years! What else is up the trail I ask myself? Hmmm, Cottonwood is only .7 miles away. Might as well check it out as long as I am here. Cottonwood is a nice little camp spot but nothing like Ribbon Falls. I am refilling my water and I think why not go on up the way and see what this Roaring Springs is all about. I make my way on up the trail and am just so completely consumed by all that the Grand Canyon is. I wish I could describe my profound appreciation for it (minus the Disneyland like attraction).
Next thing you know I am at Roaring Springs and sure enough it is incredible as well! Wow! Who knew? Okay so here is the HUGE dilemma! I am 4.8 miles from the North Rim. For quite some time now I have wanted to do a R2R2R but it's June and I am not ready for something like this. If I go forward and can't get back then what? The safe out is to turn back now and be thrilled with an amazing day! But it's not even 5 miles more. Okay I think I can do this. Coconino Overlook, and soon enough the North Rim. Okay I am here, I see a parking lot, some mules in a corral and a sign for the Arizona Trail. I fill my water up with some of that amazing spring water and start heading on back.
When I get back to Phantom Ranch the thermometer read 109 degrees and it feels like it. Fortunately there was water in many spots so no issues there. I was feeling good and all was well except my feet were starting to hurt a little. Over the bridge and up I went. The last three miles up Bright Angel my pace started to slow. I stopped a few times to give my feet a quick break. The right foot was bleeding from the previous days blister. Outside that I felt fine and was just thrilled about what I had just seen and done. The day started at 4am. It ended at 8:48pm. I didn't eat a thing all day besides the apple prior to leaving (not advisable). I had plenty of water and wouldn't carry a larger pack on this particular route. I spent about 30 minutes at Ribbon Falls over and back and could have easily spent the whole day there.
I'm not going to lie this kicked my butt! I took a ton of pictures because I was just in awe. I hope you don't mind if I share some of them? I now understand why my Father loved it so much!
I would like to do this one again in the Fall. Johnlp says he would like to go. Anyone else interested?