On August 1st of last year (2018), I descended the South Kaibab Trail, camped at the Colorado River, and climbed back up the Bright Angel Trail for a total of about 16 miles and 5,000 feet. And as I returned this time to watch the sunrise and walk the Rim Trail, I realize just how insane that original idea was for me at the time.
I climbed that damn trail on nothing but spite, and stubborn determination, out of a wish to prove something to myself: that I simply could. And I did. Present day, I looked down at those deathly zigzags of the Bright Angel Trail, and at the steep and sheer descent of the South Kaibab, and I laughed.
Coming to the Grand Canyon this time for me was sort of a victory lap, a chance to look down from the rim and see how far I’ve come and what I can do, to hear these ladies passing by say that the switchbacks look torturous and that they would never make it. This day, I stood out at the rim and smiled. It’s funny to hear tourists looking down at the specks of the river from the rim and ask, “Is that the South Kaibab bridge?” Yes it is.
All the same, it was a sort of comfort to see the other hikers on the 6:30am shuttle, gear on their backs and hiking poles in hand, ready to hike down to the river. I even saw another lone young lady, smiling to herself on the bus, and I hope she had a really great time on the trail.
In other words, the Rim Trail was a nice and easy was to see the extent of the canyon, shuttle buses with air conditioning and restrooms on site. Little incline, but sunscreen still needed. Ouch. I’m glad I got turned around on my way out of the park, because I came across the Desert Watchtower. Bursting with tourists, but worth the fight. Go see for yourself!