We started hiking at about 8:30, fairly late for the Grand Canyon, we later discovered. It was freezing, cloudy and windy at the rim, but it quickly warmed up as we made our descent.
The scenery was AMAZING. We kept having to convince ourselves that we were really hiking the Grand Canyon. This has been a dream of mine for a long time. We decided that this really has got to be the pinnacle of hiking - the WORLD'S GREATEST HIKE.
We met a guy hiking behind us (and then rapidly, in front of us) who turned out to be the public health consultant for the park. He was probably only in his late 20s and said he only had a bachelor's. How cool is THAT? Probably my dream job. Other than that, and passing some people along the way, we were alone for most of the hike down (7 miles distance, covering about 1 mile vertical).
We were so excited to see the Colorado river at the bottom of the canyon, which was wider than I expected, and bright green. Crossed a sweet suspension bridge. The last hour or so of the hike just about killed us - it was so hot, and we were exhausted. Our joints were SO tired of downhill, which is hard on just about everything - shins, knees, ankles, hips, plus a backpack jolting against your body.
We arrived about 2pm, found a campsite, and I RAN for Bright Angel Creek. People have built up little pools in it, and we just soaked for a long time. The thermometers at the bottom said 120 degrees in the sun, 95 in the shade. We were so glad we weren't there in the middle of July. After a good soak (being nibbled by curious tiny fish), we explored the campground, Phantom Ranch, and went to a ranger show on the geology of the canyon.
I want a mule real bad. They are beautiful. I like them even better than horses.
By late afternoon we could barely keep our eyes open. Colby had researched and bought us a stellar teensy camp stove, which he ruggedly cooked our dinner on. We ate as much canned chili and instant potatoes as we thought we could hold, then a little bit more, then we went to bed super early.