Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Grand Canyon NP - Grandview trail

The Grandview Trail is described on the Grand Canyon's webpage as the "unmaintained steep trail [that] requires caution". It is also described as"rocky and strenuous" and, surprisingly, these are not overstatements.

I had a pleasure of hiking on many other trails in the Grand Canyon before (the South Kaibab Trail to Bright Angel Campground at the bottom of the Grand Canyon; the Bright Angel Trail back to the rim of the canyon; parts of the Clear Creek and Tonto Trails; the Bright Angel Point Trail; and the North Kaibab Trail to Roaring Springs), but this was by far the steepest of all of them. It was also very exposed and not maintained at all, so I would definitely not take my kids on this trail, unless on a very short leash.

But there is benefit to everything. Because the trail is so steep and not maintained, there are absolutely no mules there, and also not too many other hikers. So you basically get the whole canyon to yourself!

We opted for a 6.4-mile long (roundtrip) hike to the Horseshoe Mesa that has an elevation loss (and gain) of 2'500 ft. We had to carry a daily supply of water with us as there is absolutely no water along the trail. There is also very little trail shade... Luckily it was not too hot when we were there, so it was manageable. The way down was easy and a lot of fun. The way up, not so much. At least not for my habibi who was dying (from exhaustion) all the way up (as nicely highlighted in this movie). But at least this hike made him realized that he was completely out of shape and that it was time to do something about it.

Horseshoe Mesa, destination of our hike:

The Grandview Trail is pretty steep and exposed:

But there are great views along the way:

Almost there!

We made it!

And finally we can see the Colorado River:

And now it's time to make our way back...

It's getting tougher and tougher...

And at times some of us are close to giving up... ;)

But in the end we made it back up and it was well-worth the effort. The views both in macro and micro scale were awesome: