Flashback to the Kaibab (Part 1)

1 October 2011 in Trails/Hiking

A View from the MiddleAs I stated in an earlier post our intention was and hike down into the canyon around my birthday. And our original plan, as recommended, was to pack light and stay in the bunkhouses provided to employees down in the canyon. This plan fell through at the last minute. Well I shouldn’t say it “fell through”. We were under the impression that we merely needed to ask the clerk at the backcountry office for the keys to the bunkhouses, but it turned out we needed to contact a man at the South Rim and find out if there was space for us. After talking it over we decided to change plans and camp down in the canyon. This had been our original idea before the bunkhouse option was brought up, but we were a little intimidated after our last partial hike in

What eventually swayed our opinion was two-fold. One, we wanted to get the full experience of backcountry hiking. Our plan, if we enjoyed it, was to continue to do this sort of hiking in the future so what better place to break ourselves in? And two, over our first month in we had seen people of all ages hiking down into the canyon and, more importantly hiking out of the canyon. We had talked to people who seemed so overweight I wouldn’t be surprised to see them pushing the 2 button on the elevator when the door closed on floor 1. We also saw and talked to people who were probably old enough to be my grandma, who were walking towards the trail head with 40 pound packs on their backs. And with all this there had been no fatalities, that we were aware of.

So we went back to the office and talked to the ranger there about getting camping permits and within a few days we had our route and stops picked out. We would hike 7 miles in to Cottonwood, spend the day and night there. Then we’d hike another 7 miles down to Phantom Ranch, spend the day and night there. And then hike back up to Cottonwood for one last night and finally hike out.

Now came the hard part, fitting everything we needed, food, water and shelter into two backpacks that would spend the better portion of the next four days on our backs. The trouble wasn’t fitting everything, these packs are pretty big. And we have no trouble packing light for camping, last year we packed two weeks worth of clothes, our pads, and our tent into our two bags for a long road trip in a van rental. The problem we had, was food. The only place to get food on the way down is at the end, two days and 14 miles in, and that’s at an overpriced (or perhaps reasonably priced, considering the trouble it takes to get anything down there) canteena. We also needed to pack something to cook the food with. So we purchased a small, one burner camp stove and a tank of propane.


We eventually ended up packing the following:

– 6 granola bars

– 1/2 pound of pretzels sticks

– 1 small ziplock bag of peanuts (maybe about 2 cups)

– 1 jar of crunchy peanut butter

– 3 seitan and mustard sandwiches

– 4 pieces of bread

– 4 ramen noodles (of which we ate 2)

– 1 bag of banana chips

– 1 small container of animal cracks

– 2 cups of rice (we only used 1)

– 1 quart jar of pre-cooked beans

– 7 tortillas

– 1 cup of veggie soup mix

– 2 cups of dehydrated soy chucks

– 1 small packet of Jamaican porridge

– 2 tablespoons of a seasoning mix

– 1 jar of Gatorade powder

– 1 six ounce bottle of scotch (we brought this to celebrate my birthday, but we never drank it)


We also each took:

– 1 pair of shorts

– 1 pair of pants

– 2-3 t-shirts

– 4 pairs of socks

– 4 pairs of underwear

– 1 sweat shirt or flannel

– 1 poncho

– 1 flashlight

– 1 sleep pad

– 1 flannel sheet

– The camp stove and a set of silverware

– And our tent

– Oh, and of course Lindsay’s camera gear


I think overall we packed pretty well. I could probably had traveled with less clothes and we could have probably cut out a little of the food, at least the items that went unused. Of course we could also have went with a lot of overpriced, dehydrated camp food, but we made due with what we had.

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1 October 2011 Trails/Hiking

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