Friday, April 4, 2014

Phantom Ranch

Over five million people visit the South Rim of the Grand Canyon each year, but only one percent make it down to the bottom of the canyon.

That's where I'm taking you.

It's not the hike that takes your breath away.

Don't forget to yield to the donkeys.

 Then watch your step once they have passed.

Time for a quick selfie along the trail.

There's the Colorado River below and you can almost make out Phantom Ranch on the other side of the water now. 

We're almost there.

Over the river and through the woods... 
to Phantom Ranch we go.

The evening meals are served 'family style' where you pass the beef stew around the table and get to meet the other hikers at your table. 

After you exit the dining hall, everyone hobbles down the steps and laughs at how tight their muscles are after sitting. 

Where else in the world can you purchase a head lamp with your morning coffee? 

The only way to access this canyon is by helicopter, boat, mule or foot. You could send your things to stay overnight down on a donkey if you prefer not to pack them in. 

The host informed us that we were in the same cabin where Danny Glover once stayed. He also retold an amusing story of how Oprah tried to recruit him on one of her visits, but he declined the job offer saying he preferred his canyon view over any that Chicago had to offer.

We hiked down 4,600 feet on the South Kaibab trail. After we rest up for a couple of nights, we'll climb back out of the canyon on the Bright Angel trail. They say it typically takes 8-10 hours to hike back out. Our group took five hours to hike down, and seven hours to get back up, but we heard a few people at the bottom say they had made it back out in just over three before. 

It's hard to leave the beautiful Grand Canyon after our time at Phantom Ranch. We feel connected to the canyon now. (That happens when there's no wi-fi.)

I've been to a lot of great places, but this is by far the best. 

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