Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim...We made it!

Trip Start Mar 10, 2012
Trip End Aug 11, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Saturday, June 9, 2012

It was a challenging hike, but the girls are now proud members of the 'Rim-to-Rim' club. They all did a fantastic job, and there was never any doubt that their goal would not be achieved. This blog is a little different than others - below are the pictures which can be followed to tell the story, and then each girls journal follows below the pictures.  The girls learned so much about themselves and their environment on this trip!  Enjoy the story...

Katelyn: June 9

Today I woke up a 3:00 in the morning to start our hike (Rim-to-Rim)

Today I woke up at 3:00 AM.  When I first woke up I was really tired, but after a little bit I was not tired anymore.  While we were eating breakfast I was nervous and excited at the same time.  I was nervous because 20 people need to be rescued each day.  I was excited because only 1 percent of all the visitors each year go down to the bottom of the canyon!  I wore my GRA shirt in honor of Coach Dan. When we started the hike it was dark out so we had to use flashlights.  When I was on the trail one of my great concerns was stepping into mule poop!  When we started the hike we were going downhill.  Today we went downhill for 7 miles and it was flat for the other seven.  We hiked 14 miles today.  The way down the mountain was really nice because it was shaded by the trees and it was still early in the morning so the hot sun was not out.  When we were walking down I saw part of the canyon and it looked like a painting because it was so hazy and colorful.  When I first saw it I said look, and I pointed over to the canyon that looks so fake but it is so real!  Once we got to the bottom of the mountain we were 7 miles into the hike and my toes were already hurting because we were walking downhill and my toes were pushed up right against my shoes.  I was also relieved because I luckily, I did not step in any mule poop.  So far the hike was great.  Pretty soon after we got to the bottom of the canyon it flattened out and the sun came out.  The bottom of the canyon is really different from the top because the top has more trees and the bottom has cactuses, sand tiny shrubs and lots of rocks.  When we were at the bottom of the canyon it was flatter and easier but there was little shade.  When I was at the bottom I was constantly drinking and looking for the shade on the trail.  Pretty soon we were walking by a little river feeding into the Colorado River.  When we were walking along the river I was already tired and my legs were burning.  I was sweating like crazy and I just wanted to fall asleep in the shade and never leave.  It was getting hotter and hotter in the day so we were trying to get to the campsite as quick as possible.  When we were approaching the campsite different people would tell us that it is 1 mile away, 2 miles away, 13 minutes away, and half a mile away.  This was really annoying to me because I did not know how far the campsite really was.  Once we finally got to the campsite I found out that my energy gummies were missing so I cried because I was tired, annoyed, and I lost my energy gummies.  When we got to the campsite it was still 11:00 in the morning so I went swimming in a little river while Dad pitched the tent.  Swimming in the river felt really good because it was really cold.  Next, we went to an air conditioned place like a cafeteria where you can get food and rest.  When I was there I had some lemon-aid and a bagel.  I also played some board games.  Once we got cooled of we hung out at the campsite and did our Phantom Ranch JR Ranger books.  Phantom ranch is our campsite.  As it got a little bit darker a nice Ranger named Betsy made us mac + Cheese because we brought a lot of snacks, but they weren't really dinner.  Then we went to a ranger program and learned about the Kolb Brothers.  I learned that they came here and explored places that people never went to, to take pictures.  After they took the pictures they left!  After the Ranger program we went on a scorpion walk.  We saw 4 scorpions!  We saw so many because the ranger had a black light and the scorpions glow green under it.  It was really cool seeing the scorpions because I never saw one before.  The scorpions look like little cockroaches with tails!  After we went on the scorpion walk we went back to the cafeteria and got a bagel for the morning.  Then we went back to our tent and went to bed.  It was so windy outside that the tent had caved in sides and I looked like it was about to blow over.  Today I had a tiring and fun day.

Katelyn: June 10

Today we hiked from Phantom Ranch to the South Rim

Today I got up a 3:00am once again, and I ate my bagel.  We started the hike at 4:00.  When I started the hike I was so tired, but I quickly woke-up.  When we first started I went across a really long bridge and it looked really cool.  I liked going across this bridge because I was going over the actual Colorado River!  After we crossed the bridge we walked along the mountain next to the Colorado River for about 1.5 miles, and then we started going uphill.   Going uphill was a lot more tiring than walking on a flat surface, but it was not climbing as fast as I imagined, so that was good.  At one point I was a little bit disappointed when we started walking on the sand because walking on sand is always harder than on solid surfaces.  When we took our first break, I put my feet up on the wall so that all of the tired cells would wash away.  I learned to do this at the ranger program last night, and it seemed to help.  After this, we went up a little more and we had to walk in several little streams to move south!  I was really excited because our next stop would be at Indian Gardens and after that we would only have 4.5 miles to go!!  Indian Gardens is really cool because there are really tall trees that keep you in the shade.  When we got to Indian Gardens it was really interesting because just before we arrived there was only sand, and then when we got to Indian Gardens there were lots of trees!  When we were at Indian Gardens Emma ate a power bar, and when she finished it there were still some crumbs left in the wrapper, so a squirrel snatched it and started eating it!  After that happened, we stared walking again.  As soon as we started up again I was super tired, but we only had 4.5 miles to go!  After about 1.5 miles we got to our next rest stop and ate another snack.  When I was at the rest stop I noticed that I like the south Rim better than the North Rim because in the South Rim I saw a lot more of the canyon.  While I was daydreaming a squirrel came up and he stole our whole bag of dried apricots!!  It was so funny seeing this because the bag was so big and the squirrel had to struggle to get it away from us!!  Dad chased him up the mountain, but the squirrel won the race.  After that we only had 3 miles to go and I was really excited.  While we were walking I saw some mules taking people down into the canyon, and I saw some other mules carrying dirt.  The mules were hilarious because if one mule went off the trail all of the other mules would also go off the trail.  Before I knew it I was at the next rest stop.  This was really exciting because now all we had left to hike was 1.5 miles.  On our last stretch I walked slower in the shade and I walked quicker in the sun.  Even though I was tired, I tried to keep going as quick as possible.  Once I saw the top I ran to the finish line!  This was so exciting because we finished.  We were all so happy, and Dad treated us to a double scoop ice cream.  After this we went on a five hour van ride to get back to the North Rim.  On the van ride I slept and ate.  Once we got back to the RV we ate dinner and went to bed.  I did not wake up for another 15 hours after I fell asleep!!  I had a proud day!

Katelyn: June 11

Today we recovered from yesterday

Today I got up really late.  After I got up we went to the Visitors Center and went shopping.  I was looking around for a really long time but I did not get anything except for a rock that is polished.  I got the rock because you could fill a bag of rocks, but I just wanted one, I went up to the clerk and said can I just buy one rock and he said that I could have it for free.  I think that this was the nicest clerk in the world.  After we went shopping I dropped off 11 postcards.  Next, we went on a little train that took us to dinner.  While I was on the train I was really cold because there were no windows to block the wind, so there was a bunch of wind hitting me.  Once we got to the dinner/buffet I filled my plate and sat down to eat.  Once everyone was seated two singers named Woody and Cleda Jane went up on the stage and sang hilarious songs.  After the dinner Madison got their CD.  I thought that this was so funny because their music was hilarious and she wanted their CD.  After the dinner we went to a ranger program about rafting down the Colorado River.  At the program I learned that it is more dangerous hiking then white water rafting down the river.  Another fact that I learned is that the longest white water period, on the Colorado River is 13 seconds!  One last interesting fact that I learned is that in the early days, a lot of people would die going white water rafting.  After we went to the Ranger program we went back to the RV and went to bed.

Emma: June 9

Today I woke up at 3am because we had to hike rim-to-rim in the Grand Canyon.  I was tired and cold. We ate breakfast, and then started hiking on the trail. On the trail it was still dark when we started, and when we were walking Madison slipped and fell in mule poop!!!!!  When it started getting lighter I saw what looked like a waterfall, but it really wasn't a waterfall at all.  Also I saw a mountain that was so pretty that it looked like a picture, but it real. On the way to the bottom it was pretty cold and we had to where jackets.  When we got to the bottom it was about 7:30.  When we looked up from where we were standing I could see that we hiked a lot! When we finally got to Cottonwood Campground, we were pretty tired because we had already hiked 7 miles. At Cottonwood we had a nice snack, and had lots of water. Between Cottonwood and Phantom Ranch there are no water breaks, so we filled all of our empty water bottles. When we were walking, the first couple miles were pretty open. There was only a little bit of shade, and the sun was now up, so when we got to spots where there was shade it felt pretty nice.  Slowly, the canyon started to close in on us, and it got hotter and hotter.  We just wanted to get there because our legs were so tired and we were getting very hot.  I wish there were trees here so we could have some shade!  When someone said we were one mile away we were all excited because our feet were really sore, and we wanted to get there and swim. Later it felt like we already hiked a mile, so we realized that the lady gave us false information.  I was really mad because she got me all exited.  A little later, a man said that we were 2 miles away from Phantom Ranch. He was almost accurate. We had to pass a few bridges before we got there. When we got to our campsite my Dad put up the tent while we swam. The water felt really nice because when we got down to Phantom Ranch it was already over 100 degrees, and went up to 120 degrees by the afternoon.  Then we rested a bit in the tent before we went to the canteen because it was so hot.  There we got some lemonade and a bagel with cream cheese which was really refreshing.  In the evening we went to a ranger program. The program was on the Kolb brothers.  I learned that they came here to take pictures and explore the Grand Canyon. Then we went on a scorpion hunt and we found four.  They looked really cool, and the black light turned them green.  Finally, we went in the tent, and went to bed. When we looked up in the tent you could see more stars than I have ever seen in the sky.  The stars really good, and I fell asleep.  I had an adventurous day.        

Emma: June 10

Today we woke up at 3am again to finish our hike up to the South Rim. When I woke up Madison and Katelyn were snuggling to keep warm, and they looked real cute.  We got dressed, and then ate breakfast, which was a bagel with cream cheese.  We had to get the tent packed up so we started hiking at 4am. Today we hiked 10 miles, and yesterday we hiked 15. We were a bit slower today because our legs were sore from yesterday. Slowly it started getting hotter, and hotter. When we passed the first creek we dipped our cooling caps in, and that kept us cool. On the way up the canyon I thought about things other than hiking which made it easier and made the time pass faster.  I felt pretty happy because we were going to be at Indian Garden soon, and we would get rest there.  I also felt proud of myself because when we passed people everybody said "good job, keep it up". When we finally got to Indian garden we sat in the shade, and I ate an energy bar.  I left my wrapper, and a bit of the bar fell on the bench. When I came back from the bathroom a squirrel got the wrapper and bar!  What was really funny was that the squirrel was the same size as the wrapper!  Next, we started hiking again we were all excited because we only had 4.5 miles left. After we hiked for 1.5 miles I could see the top of the South Rim, and it looked really pretty because there were so many trees. When we got to the first rest stop on the South Rim, we only had 3 miles left.  We were familiar with the area because 10 days ago we were here, and we hike down this far.  On the way up I saw a deer that was eating grass in the shade.  When we got to the last rest stop we only had 1.5 miles to go.  We had a little snack there, and when we were done we forgot to put it away, and a squirrel got all the apricots that we had!  He will probably have lots of gas after he eats them, and be sitting by the bathroom for the next 2 days! When we got close to the top we ran up with every last bit of energy that we had. When we were done my Dad got us 2 scoops ice cream, and it was really good.  We then had to take a van back to the North Rim, and the drive was 5 hours long.  During the drive I mostly slept, and talked a little.  On the drive I saw a wild turkey with about 18 babies. When we got back to the RV, we went to bed, and didn’t wake up until 14 hours later.   I had a memorable day!

Emma: June 11

Today we woke up later than usual because we did rim-to-rim yesterday and we were sore and recovering. We hiked to the lodge after lunch. The hike was really short, but Madison was still going really slow because her legs were sore. When we got to the lodge we hiked a bit more to two viewpoints. I liked the second one better because you got to see more things.  Then we took a train to a dinner show.  When we got there we went in the buffet, and got our food.  My favorite was the chili and chips. There was also a  show during dinner. I really liked this dinner and show. Then we went to the lodge again, and went to a ranger program. Before the program I saw a man that was sick, and he had to go in the ambulance.  The program was on white water rafting.  In the Colorado River there is some of the hardest rafting in the world.  When we come back here when I am older I want to raft down the Colorado.  John Wesley Powell was the first to go down the Colorado, and that didn’t go very well because he didn’t have the right boats.  Then we hiked back to the RV, and when we got there we went to bed.

Madison: June 9

Today we woke up at 3am so that we could get an early start on the rim-to-rim hike.  When I got out of bed I was really cold, tired, excited, and scared at the same time.  I was excited because we were going to be one of the 1% of people that hike down to Phantom Ranch, and I was scared because over 20 people get rescued every day because of dehydration and heat exhaustion.  Once we started the  hike I was feeling really good because it we were in the shade which made it cooler than I was expecting.    I noticed that this part of the canyon was full of green trees and full of things you would find in a forest.  While we were hiking down I noticed a lot of mule poop on the ground, which I was trying to avoid stepping in.  Unfortunately I slipped on a rock and my butt landed in some!  I was lucky because it was not fresh and you could barely tell that it was mule poop, because it looked like dirt.  After hiking for about 30 more minutes we saw a really pretty part of the canyon.  I thought that it was pretty because the canyon walls were red and there were green trees below it, and this reminded me of Christmas because the colors are red and green.  Katelyn said that it looked like a painting and it was so pretty.  When we got down to Cottonwood Campground, the first campground that we would pass, my Dad said that we were making really good time because we were at the halfway point (7 miles) and the sun hasn’t even hit us yet.  This was good because that means that we would only have to hike in the sun for half the hike, and this was bad because everybody that we talk to says that this part of the hike is called 'the furnace’ because it gets so hot and you bake in it.  Before we got to the furnace I felt like we were hiking through Death Valley because it was hot and we were hiking in a field of cactus.  I thought that this was interesting because the canyon immediately changed from a forest to a desert.  When we got to ‘the box’ it was 8 in the morning so it was not a furnace yet, and this was really good because my feet were getting sore and the last thing I needed was the sun beating down on me.  After hiking a little bit more we saw people who were saying "Phantom Ranch is 1 mile away", “it is 2 miles away” and “you are so close it is only 13 minutes away”.  Because I was so focused to get there, we started hiking really fast, and when we didn’t get to the Ranch when the people said, I was so disappointed that I wanted to cry.  The good thing was my Dad said that we would be there in about 15 minutes, and I trusted my Dad because he had a goal time to get there and he was timing us the whole way so he knew how fast we were going.  Once I saw Phantom Ranch I was so excited because we got there before the sun got to its hottest.  By mid-day the thermometer by our tent got to 120 degrees!  When we got to the campsite my Dad setup the tent and the rest of us played in the creek to cool us off.  After we did this we went to a canteen and drank some lemonade and ate a bagel.  For dinner a nice ranger named Betsy made us some mac and cheese since we didn’t bring any dinner food because we thought we could get something at the canteen.  After dinner we went on a ranger walk to look for scorpions.   I was hoping that we would see some because this would be the first time that we would see them.  We were lucky because we did see 4, and I think that it is a good amount.   When we got back to the tent we went to bed.  I had an exhausting day. 

Madison: June 10

Today I woke up with a sore butt because we hiked 14 miles yesterday and we were sleeping in a crammed tent.  I was hoping that this pain would go away because it hurt whenever I took a step.  Once we began the hike it started to feel better, but after we rested and started hiking again it would hurt.  When we got to Indian Gardens, the halfway point, we were all feeling really good because we had been going for only 2.5 hours!  Even though that was the easiest part of the hike, Dad said that we were making really good time.  I wasn’t looking forward to the next part of the hike because it was just going to get harder and hotter.  On the hike we saw all sorts of people that were saying how impressed they were, and this made me feel really good.  Once we got to the 3 mile point we all got a snack, and Emma put the snacks back in her bag without zipping up the bag.  Then ‘super squirrel’ stole the whole bag of dried apricots!  He was dragging it up the rocks with my Dad chasing him and yelling while he waved his hiking poles.  We were disappointed, but we brought more than enough food.  We were talking to some people that were on a 2 day trip, about 1 year ago, and they left their bags unattended and a squirrel ate through the bags and stole all of their food!  I am so glad that didn’t happen!  Once we got to the 1.5 mile point we had all of the adrenalin rushing through us and we practically ran up the mountain.  My Dad made us go behind Katelyn because she was having the most trouble and said that we all needed to work as a team and finish together.  I didn’t like this because we were going slow.   When we saw the house that sits at the top of the mountain we were walking so fast that I was almost jogging.  When we saw the beginning of the trailhead, we ran to the top and then took a picture together.  After this we went to get a double scoop ice cream, and we never ever get double scoop.  Dad said that we earned it!  Then we called my Mom to tell her that we survived without having a rescue helicopter come get us.  She said that she had to go because she invited a bunch of people to come paint the kitchen and she needed to help them.  After we said goodbye we went on a 5 hour, 220 mile van ride to get back to the north rim. On the drive we talked to some people who were going to hike rim-to-rim the next day.  Once we got back to our RV we went inside and I went to bed right away because I was so tired.  I slept for 15 hours!  I had a very tiring 2 days, but I was so happy, relieved, and proud that I was able to finish the hike and be part of the small group that can say they hiked the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim.

Madison: June 11

Today we recovered from our rim-to-rim hike since we were all sore and tired.  I was so tired that I slept for 15 hours and woke up at 10 o’clock!  After we ate breakfast and got changed we hiked to the visitor center.  This was not my idea of recovering or relaxing from a hike, but I guess that is my Dad’s way of relaxing or recovering.  I was wasn’t in a mood to hike because my kegs were so sore I could barely walk the length of the RV.  When we started the hike I was going so slow that my Dad said, “ Madison, when little kids pass you they are going to ask their parents, mommy (or daddy) what is wrong with that girl”.  I was annoyed that he said that so I picked up the pace even though it hurt my legs a lot more.  In total it took us 43 minutes to hike 1.2 miles, and it would usually take us 15 minutes to hike that distance!  At the visitor center we walked to a couple overlooks and then got on a train that would take us to a cookout dinner and show.  I thought that the show was so hilarious because the singers were sinning funny songs and telling funny stories.  My favorite story was this, “When I lived in South Dakota I had a neighbor that had 6 kids, all named Bubba.  I asked her why she named her kids all Bubba and she said it was easier because she could say Bubba go to bed or Bubba clean up.  So I said what if you just want to talk to 1 of the Bubba’s, and she said I call them by their last name.”  I thought that this was funny because that means that all the kids have different Dads.  After the cookout dinner we went to a ranger program on river rafting the Colorado River.  I learned that when you river raft the worst white water is 13 seconds long and the raft that you ride in is 18 ft. long.  Then we hiked back to the RV to go to bed.    On the hike I was feeling really good, so I was recovering!  I had a fun day today. 

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Xiu on

Girls, your blogging is giving me energy to have a productive day today. Your story of the hike is so funny. I laughed the whole time. I am so proud of you. When I spoke to dad last night, I kept saying that if I were with you guys, you would have to carry me up the last few miles. When dad told me what you guys were planning to do, I was really hoping you guys would change your mind about the hike and decide against at the end. I was actually worried that you guys would not be able to do it and then someone would get hurt or something else. I am sorry I thought you wouldn't be able to do it (maybe because I myself would not have wanted to hike 25 miles). I guess I am a hypocrite since I am the one who always tell you guys to never think you can't do something. My favorite motto to Katelyn is, I think I can, I know I can, I can! Anyway, I am so happy you did not take my advice. I am super proud you all completed your goal. The best part is that you all did it together as a team. I loved that! You guys had a goal, planned it out, and worked hard to achieve it. This is such a super accomplishment. Mom will never doubt you guys again! Love you!

Xiu on

Daddy - great job with planning and executing this hike. I guess this is one of the best father's day presents one can get-finishing something so special such as the rim to rim with 3 young girls. You did super! wo ai ni!

Hye-John Chung on

Wow, you guys are amazing! The pictures from the hike were stunning. You guys are inspiration to us all. I hope to do this 25 mile hike with Miles and Julian one day. Hope you have many happy, awe-inspiring adventures on your travels!

Hye-John, Christian, Julian and Miles

Sabine, Muriel, Armin on

Hello Super-Troopers!
That was indeed an unbelievable accomplishment.
It brought back memories when we did all these hikes in the grand canyon 7 years ago and we even stayed in the same lodge :-)
But we never did a 14.5 hours hike!!! You can be so proud of yourselves!
You girls (& daddy) rock and truly can do anything!
Very inspiring!

Will you see the Anatolope canyon in Utah? This is also a unique canyon!

Stay cool!!!

Sabine, Muriel, Armin

Mrs. Brennan on

You are all amazing and I'm enjoying learning about your adventures. You should all be REALLY proud of yourself. Your father is showing you how strong and determined you can be as women and creating memories of bonding and accomplishment wiht you. Keep up the good work, the adevntures and thank you for sharing them with us.
Cara and Gillian's mom

Nick Frazier on

Congratulations on your hike! I liked how you used pictures to tell your story. How warm or cold was the Colorado River? I'll bet it felt good after your long and hot hike!

Mrs. Markloff on

Wow girls, I could not be more impressed!!! How wonderful, I am so proud of you and I still love to read the blog! Keep it up!! Can't wait to see you all in August back at PES!

Mike Newbold on

What a wonderful experience and a beautiful way to get a LOT of exercise. Your stories and pitcures are very cool....thanks for sharing.

Gisela R. on

This must have been a great experience! And thank you so much for the pictures! Now I can imagine how the Grand Canyon must look like, a little bit at least! Enjoy your trip, you are so lucky to be able to do this with your father!

Grammy on

gppd job all---beautiful pictures. It rained the day I was there but nice the day we went white water rafting. That was exciting! Are u going to do thatt?

Gray-Iong Family on

YOU ARE ALL SIMPLY AMAZING!!! We were on a camping trip in the Redwoods at Big Basin State Park while you guys were embarking on this extraordinary adventure and are just blown away by your courage, determination and spirit! Madison, Katelyn & Emma - you are such incredible role models for Karuna & Clara and should be so proud of yourselves for accomplishing this amazing feat! Mike, you are one crazy Dad (in the best sense of the word) for helping your girls reach this incredible goal that they set for themselves! Not sure if we would have it in us to do the same with our girls - definitely something to work up to! Good luck with the rest of your adventures!

amy robinson on

impressive hike girls but what a wonderful experience. i stayed at the phantom ranch when i hiked into the canyon but never tempted rim to rim...i enjoyed your story immensely. good work

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