We are currently hanging out in our warm and toasty hotel room in Tusayan, AZ. We arrived at the Grand Canyon 7 days ago, and had a great week here : ) The weather was not so nice most of the time (avg low was around 20 degrees on the South Rim, yikes!) and it snowed on us a few times. But, I got a walk in back country permit to hike and camp in the canyon, and the weather was near perfect those 2 days and nights : ) Patience and flexibility definitely paid off!!
This was my first overnight backpacking adventure, I did it solo. Would have loved to take the dogs, but they are not allowed below the rim. They could have handled the trail, but the mules would have been a problem. Besides, I would have had a hard time managing 2 dogs, walking poles, camera and 35lb pack!
So, they stayed at the Grand Canyon Kennel. The price was $20/night per dog plus late fee if picking up after 11am. So, I paid $95 to drop them off at 8:30 Friday morning and pick them up at 2:30pm on Sunday. Although I was thankful for the kennel, I wasn’t thrilled with the service there. When I picked them up, Daisy still had on the sweater I had asked them to only leave on at night when it was cold. As a result, she is quite chaffed. They both needed desperately to go potty and were really thirsty. In addition, they smell a bit like dog pee. At the end of the day, they both seem ok and are just sleeping their way through the day after the kennel. Moral of the story, if you have to use the kennel service there they will do…..but it is not ideal.
~watch the Ravens, they will eat any food left out and can get into a lot of containers
~$18/night for a campsite, $32/night for a hook up spot in trailer village
~$2/8 minutes of shower. you can borrow their towels. facility was clean and water was hot : )
~laundry facility on site, $1.75/wash, $1.00/30 minutes of dryer time
~free wi-fi at a cafeteria near the general store (although I couldn’t get my MAC to work on it, all the PC users seemed content)
~it gets COLD here at night in the late spring. 20 degrees with sleet/snow. pack accordingly
~it gets HOT here in summer. Plan on napping during midday and only hiking in morning or afternoon
~dogs allowed in campground and on rim trail. must be leashed at all times. plenty of room in the woods near the campground to take the pups for a couple of daily walks. Some people didn’t always keep the dogs leashed, keep an eye out depending on doggy behavior.
~backcountry permits can be obtained by applying 4 months in advance. OR, you can get a walk in permit from the backcountry office. You need a flexible schedule and patience for this option, as you may have to wait up to a week to get the permit you are looking for to camp inside the canyon. I had to wait 2 days, but then chose to wait an additional day for ideal weather. Check with backcountry office for permit procedures.
~you can ride the mules down if you like, the park service recommends making a reservation 23 months in advance.
As this was my first overnight backpacking trip, I wasn’t sure what I would need to pack and of course wanted to keep the weight as light as possible. I ended up doing pretty well, here is a list of what I packed
~toiletries; travel size sun screen, lotion, soap, body glide, toothpaste in a ziploc, toothbrush, tech towel (REI)
~handy items; flashlight, headlamp, knife, mace
~camera gear; Canon 5D, 16-35 L lens, 1 battery, (6) 2gb memory cards, cleansing cloths and wipes
~photo id, $20 cash and credit card
~gear; REI light aluminum shock hiking poles, insoles for Vasque hiking shoes, 30 degree Kelty sleeping back, inflatable sleeping pad, inflateable travel pillow, REI womens pack, 2 litre camelback, 1 liter nalgeen bottle
~food; I didn’t bring a stove, so everything was eat as you go. pack of lunchmeat, 2 bagels, 8 ounces hard cheddar cheese, 8 ounce cream cheese, (2) 6 ounce packages beef jerky, 1 cliff shots electrolyte CranRazz drink powder, 2 apples, 1 banana, 4 ounces peanut butter in lightweight tuperware, 1 cliff bar, 1 profood organic meal bar, 1lb mini carrots, 8 ounces hummus, 1/2 package of crackers (in ziploc). 8 ounces of trail mix from trader joes, 8 ounces of almonds. The only things I didn’t eat were 1 package of jerky and 1/2 of the almonds.
~clothing; Patagonia Capileene 3 long underware (super lightweight, warm and pretty expensive), Sherpa zip sweater/jacket, REI short sleeve tee, REI longsleeve shirt with zip halfway down front, Cabella’s river pants for hiking (I got these on sale, don’t love them as they chafe in the hip area) , Gordini fleece technical pants, Marmot wind/rain breaker (which I didn’t need), REI heavy weight socks for sleeping, 3 pairs REI hiking socks (these are between $15-$20/pair, and I happily spent every penny. no blisters). Chaco sandals for chilling out in (I was so happy I brought these, gave my feet a chance to breath!). Fuzzy hat and really warm gloves. I also brought 2 tank tops which I didn’t wear.
~What I didn’t bring but should have~IBUPROFEN!, bandaids or duct tape for blisters (just in case), an additional fleece for haning out at night/early morning. I had on every piece of clothing and was just barely warm enough.