Rim to Rim: Day 1

Read yesterday’s entry

The night before we left, we had orientation with our guide from DiscoveryTreks, and then we went to bed early because we had to be ready for pickup at 5 in the morning. In the van on the way up to the North Rim, everyone is getting to know each other. We’re talking about other hikes we’ve done or want to do, we’re laughing with our guide about some of the horrible store-bought meals we’ve eaten on the trail, and one guy who was in the service is telling us how to make trades with your MREs to cobble together the most palatable meals.

Our guide tells us not to worry about shelf-stable cheese, because tonight we’re having pad Thai. And it’s not coming out of a pouch.

We haven’t burned like a single calorie yet, but all this food talk has us hungry. We stop for breakfast and bathroom breaks and do some gorgeous sightseeing on the way up to the North Rim, and then we take one last stop to eat the best cookies in the whole state of Arizona. I’ve never been here before, but I know I’ll be coming back to the Jacob Lake Inn for their Cookie in a Cloud.

Around noon we’re ready to hike—and it seems late, but once we get on the trail we realize just how smart these guides are, because we’re hiking in shade. Not only that, but we’ve still managed to beat the companies out of Flagstaff to the trailhead. Once we start hiking, it’s 7 miles to Cottonwood campground.

Just under two miles in, we hit Supai Tunnel, then it’s on to Roaring Springs. Our guide tells us that this spring is where Grand Canyon National Park gets all its water, which is pumped through the trans-canyon pipeline. I just keep looking around amazed that I’m here. It’s surreal and breathtakingly beautiful.

Five and a half miles from the trailhead we hit Bright Angel Creek and the Manzanita rest area. It’s time to rest. We take a splash in the creek, use a real restroom with running water, and recharge before the last mile and a third along the creek to the campground. We’ve dropped around 4200 feet in elevation since noon, and the temp has risen significantly (our guide says it can be 20-30 degrees hotter at the Colorado than at the rim).

As promised, dinner is a real meal, not an MRE, and I’m definitely getting this recipe from our guide for my next trip.

Nicole and I sit up and watch the stars come out and gab about the best parts of the trip so far, but not for too long. We’ve earned our rest and there’s more hiking to do tomorrow.