|The Grand Canyon From Near The Visitor's Center|
Stretching some 277 miles long, over 18 miles across at its widest, and over 1 mile deep, the Grand Canyon is often the embodiment of natural beauty in the American West. It is one of the most recognizable wonders of the natural world and to many, it is one of the crown jewels of the National Parks system.
Taking a trip to visit the Grand Canyon serves as a pilgrimage to lovers of natural grandeur and beauty worldwide. Each year, nearly 5,000,000 people make the journey to come bear witness to the grand display, many of whom look to engage the canyon at a closer level by mule trains, rafting the mighty Colorado River, or hiking beside/down into/or across it.
For those who feel that these mild hikes fail to meet the mark of a worthy objective, those people often times find themselves looking to the distant North Rim and wondering if crossing the Grand Canyon on foot is a viable option.
For those people who delve a little deeper, they find the Rim to Rim hike.
Coming in at 21 miles in length and including over 10,000 vertical feet of elevation gain/loss, the Rim to Rim hike presents a challenging and breathtaking trip across our country's most notable landmark.
Ever since I first visited the Grand Canyon at the sober age of 7, I looked down to see the Colorado weaving by the ant-like glades of Phantom Ranch and wondered what it would be like to stand there.
Later on, I was finally able to hike the canyon as a teenager with my local Boy Scout Troop. Although that nearly ended in disaster (a story for another day), after beholding the amazing sights, I HAD to hike the Grand Canyon again.
In the last six years I've been building a hefty portfolio of long day hikes and backpacking trips. Upon learning of it, the Rim to Rim (or R2R) stood out to me as a "must-do" amongst all of the other objectives on my list.
In addition to the difficulties of desert travel and canyon travel; one must deal with the logistical realities of the R2R. The chiefest difficulty involves the remoteness of the North Rim.The North Rim is some four hours by car from the South Rim (due to the big hole in the ground blocking direct passage). Some people deal with this difficulty by breaking the R2R up into multiple days (spending the first night at Phantom Ranch, the second night at the North Rim Lodge, and hiking back across by spending another night at Phantom), others run the R2R2R (running from the south, to the north, and back to the south in one day), many people simply reserve a shuttle van to ferry them back to the South Rim the following day.
As much as I want to cross the Canyon, I couldn't run there and back again, I can't carve out the time to do more than a three-day trip (including drive time). That only left day hiking as an option, but if I was to day hike it I'd need to snag a highly sought-out (and pricey) reservation at the North Rim Lodge (carrying overnight equipment across the canyon was just too unappealing).
Yet, a small miracle occurred, and in a moment foresight I checked the website for the Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge and I managed to snag a reservation that had just opened up for a room.