Author: Bill Morse, Solar Outdoor Historian
Vol 29 Mid-April 2020
‘Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.’
- Theodore Roosevelt (about the Grand Canyon)
This time we’re in northern Arizona, at one of the world’s great natural wonders, the Grand Canyon.
Many Solar Outdoor members have been to the canyon. We’ll read about two trips from the club’s newsletter. The first account is from Karen Bates in 1997:
HIKIN’ THE BIG HOLE
As I stood looking into the ‘Big Hole’, one mile deep, I thought, “What have I gotten myself in to?” It was a beautiful sight from the top of the Grand Canyon. The rock was a brilliant red as the sun rose. At 8:00 AM the temperatures were already passing the eighty-degree mark on the thermometer. My hiking partners and I stood at the trailhead, gave each other a high five, and said “Let’s do it!”
And now we’ll fast forward to 2008, and go ‘Rim to Rim to Rim’ with Sara Cockrell. I think you’ll know why she is called “Energizer” after you read this.
GRAND CANYON – S. RIM TO N. RIM & BACK (continued)
had paid for my bus shuttle back to South Rim, but since I had day hiked from the South Rim down South Kaibab to Phantom Ranch and back up Bright Angel 2 years ago, I knew I could make it in less than 12 hours, if I could recover from the next day’s strenuous trek. So, I began planning snacks and a daypack from the store at the North Rim.
Friday, May 16: This would be our most difficult hike so far, only 6.8 miles but 4161’ ascent through the Redwall Limestone on switchbacks cut into the rock, up to the North Rim Campground, passing the Pumphouse Residence, Roaring Springs and Supai Tunnel. When we arrived at the top of the Coconino Sandstone, we began seeing evidence of the snow from Monday night. After checking into the campground, restocking snacks, making a few cell phone calls, taking a hot shower, and washing our clothes, we went to Bright Angel Lodge (8241’) for dinner and photos from the Point, but with the opening, came the crowds. We ended up settling for deli food, and hitching a ride back to the campground.
Saturday, May 17: We had arranged for Susan to take our backpacks on the shuttle back to South Rim, where Michele would meet her to take them to Mather Campground, while we hiked Rim-to-Rim, 23.6 miles, 5761’ descent, then 4380’ ascent. It was a long, hot 90-degree day, but I did it solo, and enjoyed visiting with many others along the trail and at Phantom Ranch, soaking my shirt, cap and gloves every hour along Pipe Creek. Since I had been carrying Motorola radio phones all week, I had given the other to Susan, and she called me from the top, when I was only 3 switchbacks below. It was one of the most exciting moments, like finishing a race and having everyone cheering you over the line. I was sweaty, tired but no strained knee. We stopped for a Coke and bananas, shopped for dinner, took a hot shower, then packed for our noon flight home from Phoenix on Sunday. It was over much too soon, our passing of time, like a grain of sand in the Grand Canyon. Wow-eee!
Scenes Along the Hermit Trail
The color photos are from when I visited the canyon in May 2009.
If you’re not familiar with Solar Outdoors, the club has been around since the 1970s, and consists of those who are drawn together by a common love of pristine lakes, breathtaking vistas, tranquil forests, scenic shorelines, and the experiences to be found there. Members organize trips to places like the Grand Canyon, as well as setting up events close to home. We’re staying inside for now, due to Covid-19, but at some time will be getting outside again.
Now it’s your turn. Have you been to the Grand Canyon? Or want to go there? Tell us about it!