Grand Canyon National Park
Restoration: Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim Again
This page contains our personal notes on our second rim-to-rim-to-rim backpack along the Main Corridor within Grand Canyon National Park.
|Monday, September 18, 2000|
We had one more touristy day before we started across, to let Janine and Kathy acclimate to the higher elevation. On this morning we once again ate breakfast at the Yavapai Cafeteria, then took the shuttle from Yavapai Lodge to Yavapai Point. There we toured the small museum and checked out the views of the Bright Angel Trail far below.
From there we walked along the Rim Trail to the Visitor’s Center, where we checked out the exhibits, talked briefly with the Rangers about current conditions within The Canyon, then took the shuttle to the West Rim Transfer Point, where we caught the tourist shuttle out to Hermits Rest. The ride from the transfer point to Hermits Rest took about 45 minutes. When you get there you’ll find drinking water, restrooms, a snack bar, and, of course, a gift shop. Oh yeah, and there are the views of The Canyon and the ambiance of the old stone building to give you a legitimate purpose for taking that ride.
After absorbing what we could of the views, and becoming irritated by the noise of the vocal tourists, we climbed aboard the next shuttle and rode it back to Hopi Point, where we got off and hiked the rest of the way back to the Village. The weather along there was cool and breezy, but again, the views are so spectacular that one tends to ignore the weather. Besides, it’s an easy walk, with most of the West Rim Trail paved in asphalt.
Along that path we stopped at the various observation points and took photos of the trail far below. We saw at least eight vultures sitting on the head frame of the old mine that we passed along the way, and also spotted a hawk, several ravens, Mountain Blue Birds, more of the little gray and black birds that we’d noted in the campground, and, of course, more deer.
Once we made it back to the Lodge we walked along the patio where we noted this very American cowboy leading a group of what appeared to be Japanese tourists. This modern cowpoke wore the expected wide-brimmed hat, a black leather vest over a faded denim shirt, faded jeans, and high-heeled pointed-toed cowboy boots. But as he directed the tourists’ attention to various features of The Canyon he spoke what sounded like excellent Japanese. His appreciative audience clung to his every word. We got a chuckle out of that image, then moseyed on in to the Bright Angel Café for some grub.
After lunch we again rode the shuttle (You beginning to see a pattern here?), this time to the new Backcountry Office. We wanted to check on the expected weather over the next few days and to make sure water would be available along the trail. The weather on the Rim was warm, in the 80s. That meant it could be pretty warm down along the river. We also asked the Ranger about possible side trips from the Bright Angel Campground, just in case we had the energy and the time to wander around a bit. We had already picked up our required backcountry permit.
From there we rode back to our rooms where we showered and freshened up, then Anne and I helped Janine and Kathy prepare their packs for the next day’s hike. The Ranger at the Backcountry Office predicted nice weather for the entire week, so we decided to leave our tent fly in the Trooper to reduce our load. It wasn’t much, but every ounce helps.
That night we tried something different, and ate dinner at the Arizona Steakhouse near Bright Angel Lodge. After we had ordered, but were still awaiting our meals, one of the other guests at a nearby table had a apparent heart attack. His companions laid him on the floor and kept people away until the local paramedics arrived to help him. After some quick work they loaded him carefully on a gurney and carried him away. That unexpected floor show added a dash of bitter spice to an otherwise nondescript meal.