The Tonto Trail east of Garnet Canyon.
Getting ready to go
- Permits and Planning:Get caught camping in the canyon without a permit, and youll be kicked out and fined. So start out several months beforehand by visiting the parks backcountry pages and getting a permit application.
- Hitting the Books:Youll want to read one or two trail guides in planning your itinerary. Also listed are a few pieces of purely inspirational reading and one very sobering work. Some of these books can be ordered online at Five Quail Books - West and Puma Press.
A Naturalists Guide to Hiking the Grand Canyon, by Stewart Aitchison. A guide to more than two dozen trails. There also are sections on the geology, ecology and recent history of the canyon.
Grand Canyon Treks: 12,000 Miles Through the Grand Canyon by Harvey Butchart. Butchart ventured into practically every cranny of the canyon, and this book combines the series of guidebooks he wrote over the years.
Grand Obsession: Harvey Butchart and the Exploration of Grand Canyon by Elias Butler and Tom Myers. This biography/adventure tale tells the story of Harvey Butchart, as well as the history of foot exploration in the canyon. (Hear the authors discuss the book; read a Denver Post review.)
Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon, by Michael P. Ghiglieri and Thomas M. Myers. This book chronicles every known death in the canyon and on its rims. Macabre? Maybe. But the authors goal is to keep you from repeating the mistakes that have cost some canyon visitors their lives.
A Field Guide to the Grand Canyon, by Stephen Whitney. Take this along if youd like help identifying the critters, tracks, plants and fossils you come across.
The Man Who Walked Through Time, by Colin Fletcher. The story of Fletchers two-month below-the-rim walk from one end of the national park to the other.
The River That Flows Uphill: A Journey from the Big Bang to the Big Brain, by William H. Calvin. A theoretical neurophysiologists rafting trip through the canyon is the framework for a crash course on evolution. Check out the online version.
Encounters With the Archdruid, by John McPhee. In one of the books three main sections, conservationist David Brower and dam-builder Floyd Dominy hash things out during a Colorado River rafting trip.
- No. 1 Conditioning Tip:Climb some stairs. (Real stairs, not a machine.) Now heres the important part: Walk back down the stairs; do not take the elevator. Then turn around and do it again. Over a span of several days, work your way up to 15 or 20 flights at a time. The upstairs work has its obvious benefits, but the downstairs part is what will spare you all kinds of misery during your trip. Like any athletic activity, that first days hike into the canyon with 50 pounds on your back affects a unique set of muscles. So even if your legs are already toughened from running or biking, that downhill hike can make your quadriceps so stiff and sore the next morning that you can barely walk at all. (In 1991, one member of our group was in so much pain he had to hike the downhill portions backwards after that first day.) The downstairs conditioning prepares your quads for the shock. Do it with extra weight on your back if possible.
A toenail on the mend,
eight months after a canyon trip.
The first days descent sometimes causes a toenail or two to turn black and blue and eventually fall off. Loretta lost all of her toenails one year. If anyone knows how to prevent this, please clue us in.
- Organized Trips: Among the businesses, organizations and individuals that offer them are the Grand Canyon Field Institute, Canyon Calling Adventure Tours for Women, G.K. Sprinkle and High Sonoran Adventures. Also, check out the park services lists of possibilities.
- Lodging: If youd like a room before and/or after your hike, get in touch with Xanterra, the parks lodging concessionaire. Also, there is lodging just outside the park.
- The Weather: You can check the latest forecast here. When planning and packing, take into consideration the following list of monthly temperature and precipitation averages (in Fahrenheit and inches). Graphical version here.
__________________________________________________________ SOUTH RIM NORTH RIM INNER GORGE Temp. Pre- Temp. Pre- Temp. Pre- max/min cip. max/min cip. max/min cip. ---------------------------------------------------------- JAN 41° 18° 1.32 37° 16° 3.17 56° 36° 0.68 FEB 45° 21° 1.55 39° 18° 3.22 62° 42° 0.75 MAR 51° 25° 1.38 44° 21° 2.63 71° 48° 0.79 APR 60° 32° 0.93 53° 29° 1.73 82° 56° 0.47 MAY 70° 39° 0.66 62° 34° 1.17 92° 63° 0.36 JUN 81° 47° 0.42 73° 40° 0.86 101° 72° 0.30 JUL 84° 54° 1.81 77° 46° 1.93 106° 78° 0.84 AUG 82° 53° 2.25 75° 45° 2.85 103° 75° 1.40 SEP 76° 47° 1.56 69° 39° 1.99 97° 69° 0.97 OCT 65° 36° 1.10 59° 31° 1.38 84° 58° 0.65 NOV 52° 27° 0.94 46° 24° 1.48 68° 46° 0.43 DEC 43° 20° 1.62 40° 20° 2.83 57° 37° 0.87 __________________________________________________________
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