Tuesday 1st November. By Jodie.
After months of anticipation I’m excited that we’re finally hiking into the Grand Canyon. We’ve stayed two nights at the north rim and one at the south rim, gazing across the vast canyon from various overlooks. It’s impossible to see how we could hike down, and impossible to guess what it will be like. It wasn’t easy to get permits, so we’re happy we scored a 4 night itinerary that allows us to hike down to the Colorado River and back.
We reach our first campsite at Horseshoe Mesa and have lunch nearby. Paul leaves his pack at our chosen tent site. After our brief lunch break, we return to the site to find that a raven has opened both zip pockets on Paul’s pack and remove most of the contents including the first aid kit and mobile phone. It has a bit of a challenge with his jacket, but pulls it halfway out, and it’s attempting to undo the top of the pack when we chase it off.
After raven-proofing our campsite we go to check out the nearby area. There’s apparently a cave to explore. Were surprised to discover it’s the real deal, pitch black, with crawl throughs and stalactites. Were in a cave, on a mesa, in the Grand Canyon! Unexpected but fun.
Our next night’s campsite is gorgeous. Were descending into the canyon, layer by layer, and tonight we reach the Tonto Platform, well below the rims but still high above the Colorado River. We’re camping at the edge of this platform, with our first good views of the river below. In the morning it gets even better as a surprising but brief cloud cover paints a stunning sunrise.
On our fourth day we are hiking to the river. Day hiking, so we stash our packs. The raven has another go, managing to rip several holes in my old pack cover but can’t do any real damage. It’s nice to hike without our packs, and we head down though several more rock layers, then white sand dunes, to reach Hance Rapids. We’re on a beach, at the Colorado River, in the Grand Canyon! A good place to hang out for lunch and it feels good to have hiked all the way from the rim to the river.