Grand Canyon here we come!
It's no secret that one of the biggest holes in the ground is one of the most popular spots to backpack in the world. That became all the more apparent to Meg and I as we submitted an application for a chance to spend a few nights below the rim of the Grand Canyon later this year. Like clock work, from the recommendation of the GCNP website as well as several experieced hikers on Backpacker's message boards, we faxed in our application on January 1, 2012 for a trip in May. After our submission we waited... and waited... and waited - Meg patiently, myself not so much. I never thought it'd be so difficult to get permission to hike and camp. Most of the time you don't have to ask anyone's permission to walk in the middle of no where and then, when you get tired, pitch a tent and go to sleep. If permission is required, the conversation usually goes something like this:
Hiker: "Hello, I'd like to hike this route and stay here, here and over here."
Park Service employee: "That's a tough section of trail, are you sure you're up to hike that?"
Hiker: "Yes sir/mam, I've done several hikes, similar to this one, before."
Park Service employee: "Ok, have a good time and be safe."
Hiker: "Thank you, I will."
In GCNP you not only have to ask permission, but you might (and during peak seasons probably will) get denied the right to spend the night below the, tourist covered, rim.
Alas the very last day of January the news arrived and the official planning began. We're doing a five day, four night hike below the rim from the South Kaibab Trail Head to the Hermit Trail Head via the Tonto Trail with stops at the Bright Angel Campground, Horn Creek, Granite Rapids and Hermit Creek. In all about 26 spectacular miles of backpacking.
I'll keep everyone posted on the trip and if you have any advice or recommendations please share!