A Grand Canyon backpacking trip? I wasn't going to let a bout with stomach flu stop me! Feeling pretty good, I joined the rest of the Sands family in Prescott, where we left for the canyon at 5 am. After breakfast at Williams, we descended on the backcountry office, and landed a permit for 2 nights at Indian Garden. Success! Shopping at the Market Plaza completed, down the icy trail we went, past a stroller and other unprepared folks. After an easy pace and a bit of rain, we reached the campground at Indian Garden in the early afternoon. Treated water 100 feet away? Picnic tables? Why did I bring my pump and chair?
I had expected something more primitive, but this was just fine with me. Later, my dad and I set off for a quick jaunt on the Tonto Trail, where we were treated to stormy skies and a herd of deer. Leaving an NPS program that night, I checked out a book (who'd have thought!) from the ranger's library: Grand Obsession.
On day two the three of us set off for the bottom of the Canyon with day packs and lunches, under beautiful sunny skies. This would be my brother's first visit to Phantom Ranch, and my first since 1988. The Colorado was muddy upon our arrival, and the prospect of cold drinks at the restaurant spurred us on. Memmories of my very first overnight Grand Canyon hike with my dad came flooding back as the Ranch came into view. It was cool to see this place again as an adult. After lunch, we headed back at a leisurely pace. I frequently lagged behind for photo ops, before catching up again with my sasquatch stride. Ryan's impression of this hike was quite favorable, and he began plotting a return trip. After the traditional Mountain House dinner that night, the NPS ranger regaled us with tales of idiot hikers he'd encountered (one in glass heels
). While the entire rest of the campground dozed, I concluded my evening with my library selection.
The morning of day three was our time to pack up and leave this wonderful canyon, which we did, past a long string of descending hikers. Celebrity hiker sightings included Steven Spielberg, Lindsay Lohan, mule train boss Teddy Roosevelt, and some sort of ape man (not them, of course, but hey, it was entertaining). Once on top, we cleaned up a bit, and ate dunch (dinner/lunch) at Maswik, before heading back to Prescott.
This was the most enjoyable backpacking trip I have been on in a long time. Father and sons bonding. Good stuff