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This is as close to the bottom of the Grand Canyon as Im ever going to get my friend. I can only guess how many times hikers have crashed and had to be helped out of there. I had no idea how many different pastels of color there is there.

 

This was a tremendous effort on your part Fat Guy along with this post. Great pictures good explanation and a lot of effort posting them. Thank you.  :arigato:

Swede - It was definitely something that took a lot of work to achieve and I am glad to be able to share it with you and everyone else here.  I knew that we were going into a dangerous area, but I felt very well prepared, having learned so many different survival skills since I started hanging out around here.  Thanks for all you do around here and the information you are able to share.

 

And you are absolutely right about the colors too.  I was amazed at what I saw and the pictures and even seeing it from the rim does not come close.

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Beautiful and magnificent pics OFG. I was a puffing reading it as you probably were walking it.

 

Thanks, Sharen.  It was quite a workout, that's for sure.

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Here are a few pictures of the drive to the south rim from Phoenix.  The last 30 miles or so before the canyon is a high flat plain.

The smoke off in the distance of the second picture if from a controlled burn.

SouthRim10.thumb.jpg.312bd754bd3735cc97249f24739bf106.jpg

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Here are some standard "tourist shots" from the south rim of the Grand Canyon. An average of 5,000,000 people visit the south rim each year. What is sad is that the average visit consists of 13 minutes looking into the canyon from here.

 

This is not a safe place to visit if you are stupid.  19 people have died so far this year (2011) at the Grand Canyon. 12 of those were people that fell off the rim, either by getting too close, taking one more step back to get a better picture or who had climbed over or around a guard rail to get a better view or to have someone take their picture.

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This is Bright Angel Trail and Indian Gardens Campground from the south rim.  This is very deceptive, as the campground (in the trees below) is only 4.6 miles down the trail from the rim, but it is over 3,000 feet down from the rim.  If you go down, you are responsible to haul your ass back up. 

 

The temperature is normally 20-30 degrees warmer at Indian Gardens than on the rim.  If it is 75 on the rim...you do the math.

 

Many people get in trouble each year as they try to do this hike with no preparation, taking nothing with them (no water, food or anything else) while wearing flip flops.  They think going down "This ain't so bad." ...until they have to come back up. You can't catch a mule train (these are booked 12-18 months in advance) and there are very few elevators. 

 

An emergency medical airlift out will cost you between $3,000 and $4,000.

 

This trail is usually used to come back up out of the canyon and is 9.3 miles to the Colorado River, 9.6 miles to Phantom Ranch. There are 3-4 places where water is available on this trail.

 

It is 6.1 miles to Plataeu Point -where the trail disappears over the edge in the third picture.  If you could fly, it is only 2 miles to the river from here.

 

We went down the South Kaibab Trail - the trailhead is about 3 miles north of here. The South Kaibab Trail is only 6.2 miles to the Colorado River and 6.9 miles to Phantom Ranch (obviously much steeper). There is no water available on the South Kaibab Trail.

SouthRim4.thumb.jpg.1c40003d0b95efac004d4addc6e3b057.jpg

SouthRim2.thumb.jpg.600a384a8e4d2ff8bc33e16cbf247804.jpg

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~ WOW....  I Must have missed this yesterday! That's an impressive hike OFG!  :thumbsup:  I was getting cramps in my legs just reading about it!  :P 

 

I really want to do one of those hike down.... camp out, and then hike out deals one day! I have no desire to "gitter done" in a day like you folks did.  :unsure:

(Nor do I wanna hop on a Mule! My luck, I'd get a grudgy old mule who decides to commit suicide that day!)  :rofl:

Your pictures are great! Thank you so much for sharing them with us. What a breath taking view! :thumbup:

 

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~ WOW....  I Must have missed this yesterday! That's an impressive hike OFG!  :thumbsup:  I was getting cramps in my legs just reading about it!  :P 

 

I really want to do one of those hike down.... camp out, and then hike out deals one day! I have no desire to "gitter done" in a day like you folks did.  :unsure:

(Nor do I wanna hop on a Mule! My luck, I'd get a grudgy old mule who decides to commit suicide that day!)  :rofl:

Your pictures are great! Thank you so much for sharing them with us. What a breath taking view! :thumbup:

 

I had asked about doing this in a couple of days (as recommended -  taunt12.gif), but a couple of things come into play.

First of all, you then need to carry considerably more stuff - tent, sleeping bag, more food, changes of clothes, etc - and carry it both in and out.  Remember, that you have to pack out all of your trash (including toilet paper) as well.

 

Second, if you spend a night below the rim, you have to have a backcountry permit.  These are not all that expensive, however, if you want to do this, plan on applying at least a year in advance.

 

By doing this in one day, you cut down on what you have to carry (my pack was under 20 pounds - including 3 liters of water which is about 6.6 pounds. I will add a piece on the gear I used a bit later,) and have a comfortable bed and hot shower waiting when you get done.  Those last two alone provide considerable motivation.

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I had asked about doing this in a couple of days (as recommended -  taunt12.gif), but a couple of things come into play.

First of all, you then need to carry considerably more stuff - tent, sleeping bad, more food, changes of clothes, etc - and carry it both in and out.  Remember, that you have to pack out all of your trash (including toilet paper) as well.

 

Second, if you spend a night below the rim, you have to have a backcountry permit.  These are not all that expensive, however, if you want to do this, plan on applying at least a year in advance.

 

By doing this in one day, you cut down on what you have to carry (my pack was under 20 pounds - including 3 liters of water which is a little over 6 pounds. I will add a piece on the gear I used a bit later,) and have a comfortable bed and hot shower waiting when you get done.  Those last two alone provide considerable motivation.

 

~ You're right... I might have to start training if I wanna do that hike down camping, hiking out deal. I did think about the advantage of not having to pack and haul all that extra stuff. (Especially water... and belive me, after carrying buckets of water to and from aquariums all my life, I KNOW how heavy it is.) so... maybe the quickie is the way to go. But I KNOW me.... if I see a lizard, or a bird.... I'm going to want to look at it, and watch it... and study it... and it will take me WAY longer to go. Because I won't be focussed on the task at hand....  I'll be focussed on the environment and the creatures living there.... and how the universe goes on forever in the blackness of space...  and how absolutely tiny and insignificant I am next to it all................  I can't do that while huffing and puffing and busting my ass to get in and out. I'll carry the extra weight...  and I'll start training  for it.  :thumbup:

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I'm one of the people who spent an hour on the south rim and has never been more then 20' below that. I couldn't get all the way down and back in one day. No way.  :P

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I only had a month and a half to train for this.  You should really train for 4-6 months to prepare for this hike.  I had worked up to doing 10 miles hikes with a full pack, but there are not many significant hills here in Iowa.  In a 10 mile hike, I would have an elevation gain of only 600 feet. 

While in California, I hiked the steeper trails whenever I could.  My last hike in California, about two weeks before going to the Canyon I did 10 miles and had an elevation gain of right at 2,000 feet.

The other training factor is the elevation.  I live at about 800-900 feet above sea level.  The south rim is 7,200 feet.  The last 6-8 miles going up to the north rim, I really started to notice the difference in elevation.

 

It would be great to be able to set up camp and explore down other trails.  I spent more time that I should have looking at things, taking in as much as I could and taking pictures.  Every time I would sit down to rest, there was some little creature - gecko, spider, some unusual plant, etc, that was there to look at and study.  The inner canyon is an amazing world and gives you the chance to experience five distinctly different "life zones"

 

"The Park contains several major ecosystems. Its great biological diversity can be attributed to the presence of five of the seven life zones and three of the four desert types in North America. The five life zones represented are the Lower Sonoran, Upper Sonoran, Transition, Canadian, and Hudsonian. This is equivalent to traveling from Mexico to Canada. The Park also serves as an ecological refuge, with relatively undisturbed remnants of dwindling ecosystems (such as boreal forest and desert riparian communities). It is home to numerous rare, endemic (found only at Grand Canyon), and specially protected (threatened/endangered) plant and animal species. Over 1,500 plant, 355 bird, 89 mammalian, 47 reptile, 9 amphibian, and 17 fish species are found in the park." - http://www.nps.gov/grca/naturescience/index.htm

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It is important to remember that the inner canyon, below the rim is a very hostile environment.  I picked up the book Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon by Michael P. Ghiglieri and Thomas M. Myers after the hike and started reading it on the plane home.  At first it sounds somewhat morbid, but it is actually a very informative book on how people have died in the canyon.

 

Of the people that have died while hiking, most have made two huge mistakes that lead to their demise:

1 - hiking alone or leaving their group and going off alone

2 - leaving the trail

 

Also, anyone care to take a guess how many people have died from snake bites in the Grand Canyon?

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It is important to remember that the inner canyon, below the rim is a very hostile environment.  I picked up the book Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon by Michael P. Ghiglieri and Thomas M. Myers after the hike and started reading it on the plane home.  At first it sounds somewhat morbid, but it is actually a very informative book on how people have died in the canyon.

 

Of the people that have died while hiking, most have made two huge mistakes that lead to their demise:

1 - hiking alone or leaving their group and going off alone

2 - leaving the trail

 

Also, anyone care to take a guess how many people have died from snake bites in the Grand Canyon?

 

~ none?  (it was a gut feeling answer).

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~ none?  (it was a gut feeling answer).

 

DING  scared011.gif DING  scared011.gif DING  scared011.gif DING!!!! We have a winner!

You are correct.  There are no documented cases of anyone dieing in or around the Grand Canyon due to snake bites, or for that matter, insect stings or any other venomous creatures.  There have been many people bitten by both rattle and coral snakes, which live in the canyon, along with scorpion stings, but no one has died as a result.

 

The venom that these animals produce has evolvoed to kill rodents and other small animals.  Rattlesnakes will only strike at a human if they are cornered or surprised and ony in defense.

 

OK, next question:

What is the leading case of death for people visiting the Grand Canyon area?

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Basically Fat Guy you have demonstrated exactly the difference between staying put and waiting for a rescue or walking out on your own decision that many have faced before. When faced with the reality of admitting your hopelessly lost or you have been thrown into a situation through no fault of your own where a life or death decision has to be made you have two options. Stay and wait and do what you can to be found or try to walk out.

 

Your decision has to take into account your own physical abilities and your personal knowledge of survival techniques either way.

 

You were prepared based on prior knowledge and conditioning and still found it difficult.

 

Tell some one where you are going.

Tell them when you plan to return.

Study your travel plans and the area you plan to explore.

Tell some one where you plan to leave your car and what direction you plan to take.

Take the best gear for navigation and learn to use them are just a few things to prepare for in advance.

 

A SURVIVOR practices these things to a point every time we leave our homes.

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Nope on the auto accident.

However, after the movie "Thelma and Louise" came out in 1983, there were three "copy-cat suicides" where people drove  vehicals (strangely, all of them rental cars) over the edge to kill themselves.

 

Muddy is getting kind of close.  Could you expand on your answer a bit?

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Death by falling or death by a severe injury as a result of a high fall. When I was up on the platform I wondered if anyone had considered jumping and if they did, how long would it take to hit rock on the next level.

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