In less than a week I will get in my car and head south to the Grand Canyon. It should take me no more than two days to drive the 1300 miles. Most of my month-long residency will be spent at the VerKamp's Visitor Center. It was built in 1906, and the upstairs has two bedrooms, an artist studio, a kitchen, living room and balcony looking over the canyon's rim. Bedding, towels, cookware and even a bike are supplied. Then, later in my stay, I will hike 9 miles down to the base of the canyon where I will bunk at Phantom Ranch for a few days. After that, I will hike back, stopping halfway up the Bright Angel Trail to stay at Indian Garden Camp Ground. There I will share a bunk house with some scientists working with the Condors.
Here is your opportunity to tell me what I should bring to the canyon for both the upper and lower parts of the trip. Think practical and impractical. Think about what you would want there. If I end up bringing something as a result of your suggestion - you will win something special from the Grand Canyon. I have no idea what. Some sage maybe?
So, go ahead. Tell me what to bring!!!!!
-Naseem Rakha 1/24/13
Since you'll be staying in the bunks at Phantom Ranch, you won't need camping gear. I wouldn't hike far in the canyon myself without trekking poles; it takes a lot of the strain off my knees. The upper parts of the trails are likely to be icy in February, so Yak-Tracs or some other traction devices, like instep crampons, would be very useful. I recommend taking Vitalyte or some other electrolyte replacement; I used to always get cramps after hikes, but haven't had any since adding Vitalyte to my water (last summer it was available at the rim and at the Phantom Ranch canteen).ReplyDelete
Don't take anything down that you don't want to bring out. We hiked to Phantom Ranch a few years ago, and I started reading a book at the bottom. It was a terrible book, and within a few pages I wanted like anything to get rid of it. But I packed it all the way to the first trash can at the rim.ReplyDelete
I lived at the bottom of the Grand Canyon on the Havasupai Reservation in 1973. I last went to the Grand Canyon in 2007. That time I stayed at Bright Angel lodge and rode down the canyon and back the same day on a mule. ow. I wouldn't want to be without my sunglasses, a hat, clothes in layers that I could wash by hand, a camera and pain relief. Something on which to write, something to read (Kindle has longest battery life). A musical instrument like a wooden recorder. Mitten gloves. Something you can trade with other adventurers you meet on your journey. Jewelry (so you can just wear it) or poems? Photos of other places you've visited? Something another person will love and then be able to share as a memento from their adventure.ReplyDelete
Hiked from Yaki Point to Phantom Ranch & back out to main Lodge at South Rim, temperature changes a lot from the canyon bottom to top, figure art supplies may freeze at night, take a tripod, for hiking suggest a backpacking stove for hanging out in a good spot for a while, extra sunglasses & gloves.ReplyDelete
Then for food if you eat health-food bars & the like take a bunch, they have a selection brought down by mule trains so not complete, P&J, not sure they have bread for sale, think they do serve veggie meals.
What I liked was that the wildlife doesn't run away ... from having ranger friends they made me a Jr. Ranger & got a Rattlesnake patch & badge after taking the test ...
I would make sure I had a well broken-in pair of sturdy hiking boots that I know are comfortable. The next article I would pack are several pairs of fast-- dry socks that wick moisture quickly or dry quickly in case I get my feet wet. I would make sure I know how to treat blisters (a blister can ruin your whole trip if infected) and would pack a tube of neosporin ointment and a few small band aids. I would also bring along tubes of a strong sun block and a tube of mosquito repellent. The last tube I would find room for would be cortizone. I also pack any medicines I need to take as well as some Immodium in case my digestive tract goes haywire in a strange environment.ReplyDelete
Bring ears able to hear all of the history and spirits that still live down there.ReplyDelete
For your next trip get on a raft trip.Many companies offer Artist floats.You'll see when you get to Phantom that the canyon looks better from the bottom up.Take some things to gift or barter with the rangers and staff.People love treats.ReplyDelete
Binoculars. Swiss army knife. Compass. Topo map of the area you are hiking. I never go anywhere without my swiss army knife. From the corkscrew to tweezers, I use that thing all the time. Be prepared for cold weather and rapidly changing conditions.ReplyDelete
I hiked the Havasupai trail down to the river and back up one March spring break when I was 25. A snow storm blew in as we began our ascent, cloud cover was so low we couldn't see in any direction, cairns marking the trails were snowed over, orienteering was the only way to get ourselves out of there. Our guides later admitted they were fearing for our lives. We were a week late getting back to Carbondale. I hope you don't experience such drastic wilderness conditions, but beware, conditions in the mountains can change in a moments notice, please be prepared.
Music you haven't really ever listened to, so when you come back it will help you remember being there. Same thing with tea, or perfume (ok, lotion). My hubby suggests sunlight photo paper. A book on local Native American history. Star chart. Tequila. A really good hat.ReplyDelete
A decent headlamp. I sleep with one on road trips, camping, sailing trips, and often times use one around the yard at night, keeps the hands free. I like to have the option to use a red or colored light--easier on the eyes. I would also carry a pocket sewing kit, pocketknife, steri-pen (if H20 is potential issue) and a piece of lightweight, not long, but sturdy rope. And, of course, chocolate.ReplyDelete
Thanks for asking this question Naseem! There are some great suggestions that I will also reference when I am packing for my residency in July. One thing I will add, a corkscrew!ReplyDelete
I'll be following your adventures!