South Kaibab Trail to Phantom Ranch

Last April Tod and I visited the Grand Canyon. We were 50+ years old and out of shape. It never occurred to us that it would be possible to hike to the bottom. All that changed as we began hiking in summer 2014. Maybe we could make it? Maybe?

The test finally came in January. By a stroke of luck, we were able to get reservations to Phantom Ranch for January 7. That morning, as we waited for the hiker bus to the South Kaibab trailhead, we met a father/son who were also doing the hike. We were surprised by how few people were making the journey with us.

Tod at start of our descent on South Kaibab

Tod at start of our descent on South Kaibab

The beginning of the trail was icy and packed with snow. We were prepared, wearing mirco spikes, but we didn’t need them for long. I loved the feeling of being IN the canyon! As we continued down, we enjoyed the view at Ooh Aw Point and stopped briefly at Skeleton Point. Boy, was it windy! Along some of the ridges, I was sure that I would be blown off the trail. It was amazing, at times, to look down and see beyond us the switchbacks of the trail, realizing that we were destined to take the same course.

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We had a quick lunch at the “Tipoff”. Here, we saw a few other hikers who were also taking a break.  Overall, we saw very few people on the trail. While January may be a bit cool, it was perfect weather for hiking.

IMG_3319The remainder of the trail was steep. We had the big incentive of seeing the Colorado River. I couldn’t wait to get to the bridge! By now, my legs felt a bit like spaghetti. I was ready for Phantom Ranch. Going over the bridge, we had an incredible view of the river.

Finally! The Colorado!

Finally! The Colorado!

Phantom Ranch seemed like heaven. A little oasis. It was relatively warm and there were beautiful trees and vegetation. As you might imagine, the sight of the canteen was pretty sweet too. We enjoyed a big glass of lemonade and relaxed with other hikers. The steak dinner was delicious and our cabin was amazing.

Steak dinner, family style.

Steak dinner, family style.

Was it worth it? Totally!

Our cabin.

Our cabin.

Phantom Ranch. Beautiful!

Phantom Ranch. Beautiful!