Thursday, January 12, 2012
Looking Down From the North Rim
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is about 1000 feet higher than the South Rim, so when you are looking out across the Canyon from the north to south, you are in a real sense looking down on the Canyon. The cliffs are substantially higher and you can see over the Canyon onto the Plateau. This is evident by the faint outlines of the San Francisco Peaks on the horizon. If you hike from Rim to Rim (about 24 miles or so of trail) it is best to start on the North Rim and hike to the South Rim because you have 1000 feet less uphill trail. There are those who hike Rim to Rim to Rim and in that case you probably want to start at the South Rim because your last uphill climb would be lower. I can imagine hiking some 48 miles in one day, but it is not a pleasant thought. I will mention those who hike Rim to Rim to Rim to Rim but I don't understand them, they can get a similar experience by hiking into the Superstition Mountains on practically any of the back country trails if they just want punishment.
The biggest obstacle to hiking in the Grand Canyon, in my opinion, is the temperature differential between the top and the bottom of the Canyon. The main corridor trails aren't particularly hard to travel but if you leave the main trails you have just stepped off into an entirely different world. You need a permit from the National Park Service to travel outside of the main trails on day hikes or to camp in the Canyon.