(Apes) Camping the Grand Canyon
Much like a lot of you (well, we’re assuming), us Apes have a list of places we want to visit. Some for leisure, some outdoor adventures, and some for both (looking at you, Oregon!). This list isn’t long. We keep it short and attainable, and update as we cross things off. A couple of months ago, we decided it was time to cross another place off the list, the Grand Canyon. If you’re interested, read on to experience and learn about this beautiful place through the eyes of the Apes.
Camping the Grand Canyon…
(You still reading? Good.) So, our first mistake was deciding only a month ahead that we wanted to make the trek. We initially wanted to hike rim to rim, but got shot the fuck down with a 6-month lead time. If you’re thinking of hiking rim to rim, plan at least that far ahead because you will need a wilderness permit. Not that we don’t like car camping (AKA glamping), but we were really looking forward to backpacking. Lucky for us, there were 45 spots open at the time. Our dumbasses decided to wait another 2 weeks…they all filled up. Don’t worry, though. Clearly, we got a spot. We got crazy lucky and one spot opened up. Shout out to the person that cancelled their reservation!
We took off on a Thursday night. Ten hours, 3 stops, and 1 shitty McDonald’s Ice coffee later…
HOLD ON. How the hell does McDonalds get to call that beige probably-from-an-abused-cow coffee-flavored-70-percent-of-your daily-sugar-content milk “coffee”? That is not coffee. How are you going to default an “iced coffee” order to something the color of the pages of my leather-bound notebook. Screw you, McDs. I’ll stick to Starbucks as a last resort…bastards. (And now back to your regularly scheduled content…)
…so we got to camp Mather 10 hours later.
Camp Mather is one of the main camps on the canyon’s South Rim. It’s literally half a mile from the rim with a hundred million years worth of ridiculous views. Bears aren’t a thing in the canyon, so there are no food canisters. Keep that in mind ’cause you’ll have to keep all of your food in the car and make food runs when you’re hungry. Each camp is allotted six people (including Apes), and two tents. The spaces are very spacious–each comes with a bench and fire pit. Check out is at 11, so you might have to wait to claim your spot if you arrive early.
There are two main trails at the South Rim (at least that we noticed): Kaibab and Bright Angel. We hiked Kaibab on our first day. If you’re looking for a relatively easy hike (6 miles tops) and amazing views, this is the hike for you. Also, know that it’ll be crazy busy, but at least it makes for a very safe trek.
Something to keep in mind about hiking the Grand Canyon — the most strenuous part of any hike is the return trip. You drop about 1,000ft every mile and a half. We only went 1.5 miles into Kaibab, for 3 miles total, but the views and photo session were very much worth it. We ended the day with a shower and a trip to the village store.
Let’s talk about the village for a minute. There’s $2 showers (in quarters only) and a shop with anything you might need. If you’re not backpacking rim to rim, the Grand Canyon is definitely a very convenient place to glamp. We sure didn’t rough it, but not gonna lie, the showers felt amazing…followed by booze and food at camp.
The second day, we hiked Bright Angel trail. Mostly because I (Baker) forgot the camera batteries, we didn’t suit-up to shoot. Bright Angel is the trail you take to do a rim to rim hike. After going about 6 miles in, we learned that, if you start really early, rim to rim in one day is completely doable. Actually, there’s 3 (probably more…but this is our 3) ways to hike rim to rim:
- Start early, go across in one day, stay at hotel on the other end, and come back the next day.
- Apply for a wilderness pass at least 6 months ahead of time and backpack through the canyon (we want this!!).
- Reserve a spot A YEAR AHEAD at the Indian Garden campground…then decide how long you want to take to reach the other rim.
We didn’t get to do it this time, but we’re damn well going to next time around.
We took off early the next day and stopped by Williams, a small town just outside the Grand Canyon. It’s on route 66, so there’s a few things to check out and a few photo ops. We don’t recommend making a day of it, but it’s not a bad place to stop for brunch!
All in all, Grand Canyon is definitely worth the trip. Though the scenery does get repetitive, it doesn’t make it any less beautiful. I’m sure we had more to say initially after the trip, but we took too damn long to actually write this because of other responsibilities (yeah, Ape is responsible), and not gonna lie–if you’re following on IG and SnapChat–our activities are endless.
That’s all for now! Thank you for reading…if you made it down here.
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