In October of 2017, we, Doug and Brian, started down the North Kaibab Trail. This was our 4th trip down the North Kaibab Trail to Phantom Ranch, where we would spend 2 nights, then we would hike out to the South rim via the Bright Angel Trail. This story is told by both of us, so the narrative switches back and forth thoughout.
Brian: I moved to Boulder, Colorado in the summer of 1968 after 6 years in the United States Airforce. In July of 1970 Jack Zales and I climbed Longs Peak. Thus, began my quest to climb all the 14,000 peaks in Colorado. In July 1976, 9 of us climbed Mount of the Holy Cross. Doug was one of the 9. This was his first, having just moved to Colorado from the Chicago area in 1974. Thus, began a friendship that resulted in us climbing 28 14ers together. We never completed all the 14ers, as my acrophobia finally caught up with me. So, I concentrated on summiting 60 peaks of over 14,000 feet before my 61st birthday and Doug summited 54 peaks over 14,000 feet.
In 1994, Wes, my brother-in law, asked if I would be willing to go to the Grand Canyon and go from rim to the other. In the Spring of 1994 we completed this hike, going all the way to Phantom Ranch on day one, staying overnight and out the South Kaibab the next day. I repeated this trip with Doug in the fall and thus began a 23-year love affair with the Grand Canyon.
In the years that followed, we completed 35 trips below the rim and a bit over 1,000 miles: off the south rim, from The Little Colorado River to the east to Toltec Beach to the west and all major trails down, plus a trip to Havasu Campground on the Havasupai Reservation; off the north rim, from South Canyon to the east to Kanab Wilderness to the west, again with all major trails between.
As a bonus we hiked down the South Bass, ferried across the Colorado River and out the North Bass in 2003.
In the Fall of 2017 (our 36th trip), we decided to repeat the first trip of the North Kaibab down to Phantom Ranch, staying at Cottonwood CG on the way down, and out the Bright Angel, (not the South Kaibab, as we wanted to break up the climb out and stay at Indian Garden on the way out). To minimize our pack weight, we had sent down a duffel with extra food, gear and clothes via the mules.