First time poster and generally a newbie. I just found this site and happy it is here. I'll be spending alot of time reading here over the next few months.
I am female, 36yrs old, and my family (husband, and 14yr old son) along with another family are going to hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim in June. I'm here to learn, train and get ready for this trip
My background: I live in southern Florida (where the closest thing we have to a hill is an overpass on the interstate). We do head up to North Carolina every summer for a few weeks of hiking and mountain biking and do day hikes (usually I have a 20 to 30lb day pack). I've never done an overnight hike. Those day hikes are generally 7 to 10 mile hikes on the AT or similar trails after we've spent the morning mountain biking several miles.
Besides that, last fall I participated in the3day, a 60 mile walk for breast cancer, where I walked over 60 miles in three days in the heat and humidity of Tampa Florida. (again, I wimped out on the tent camping and opted for a hotel. )
My biggest concern over this upcoming trip is not the distance or the climb or the gear. I've been to the GC 2 other times and done day hikes down and back of 10 miles (5 down, 5out) for a few days in a row. But those were always with just day packs. So I can do distance and the climb - but doing it with a 40 or 50lb pack has me nervous.
My current training routine is: 3 days a week - 1hr treadmill at 20% incline (no pack yet) at 2.5 mph. 3 days a week - full body weight workout 2 nights a week - 4 mile walk at a rate of 4+ mph Weekends usually I'll do 30 to 40 miles biking along with 10 - 15 miles of kayaking, weather permitting.
by the by - my 14yr old son - is 6 ft tall, 150lbs and has gotten Presidential Fitness award every year for the past 8 yrs in school. He is also a lacrosse player, for both his middle school team - and is also playing at the highschool level for the school he will be attending next year. Bottom line - he's fit - but he will be joining me on some of the training to prepare for carrying his pack.
My husband is also quite fit, but I will be the first to admit - none of us are ready for that pack.
I'm also worried about making sure our friends are also prepared and trained for this. They are also pretty active and fit, but being in FL, we all don't have mountain experience.
We have 4 months to train and to get all our gear and get ready for this trip. This has gotten long winded so I'll cut it short. I'm sure someone will reply with a concern about the June trip and heat of GC - we have plans for that I can explain in another post.
Loc: East Texas Piney Woods
Cruzenbye, Sounds like your'e on the right track with the training. I'd take a serious look at your pack weight of "40-50" pounds. I'm hoping that a lot of that weight is water and not gear. Spend a lot of time reading through the gear lists on the left hand side of this website and scrutinizing every single piece of your gear. Since there will be three of you going, you can share a lot of the gear (e.g. cooking gear, stove, etc.). You might be able to get by with a large tarp for the three of you. I've never done the GC, but it is on my bucket list. Use the search feature on forum at the top of this page and set the time frame to 1 year. You should get lots of hits.
Enjoy and be sure and come back with pic's and give us a good trip report. Reports from newbies are always welcome. That's how we all learn(ed).
Are you going N-S or S-N? Are you using the main corridor trails i.e. Bright Angel/North Kaibab? How many miles/day do you plan to do? Just curious.
The difference between hiking with a day pack or no pack and a 40-50 pound pack is huge.
I have done this trip twice but not in June. My biggest problem was postholing in the snow below the North Rim. It was a tough trip with a much lighter (24 pounds) pack in cool (March) weather. A 50 pound pack in June will be much harder. I hope you realize what you're attempting. This is quite an undertaking for someone who has never been out backpacking overnight before. A long walk after a night spent in a hotel is different than a long walk after spending the night sleeping on the ground, which will most likely be fitful if you have no experience in overnight backpacking.
You didn't ask any specific questions but I'll assume you posted because you're looking for advice. So here goes, in no particular order:
1)Try, try, try to get that pack weight down. You won't need a heavy sleeping bag. You can share many items like a stove, pots, tent, etc. Honestly, there is little reason for 3 people sharing equipment in warm weather to carry 50 pound packs, even with lots of water. You seem to have an open mind. I'll bet you're taking lots of stuff you really don't need. Learn to let go.
2) Soon, start training with a pack on. All 3 of you. On hills. Try to simulate the real McCoy. See my second paragraph again. A heavy pack on a long descent on a rocky trail is going to place tremendous stress on your feet. That stress cannot be simulated on a treadmill or in the gym.
3) If you don't use them already, look into hiking poles. Every pound of weight you put on them is one less pound on your feet. They really do make a difference.
4) Your treadmill training is on an incline. Good. Now try to train on a decline as well. Studies have shown that more muscle damage occurs going downhill than uphill and you're facing a long, long descent with a pack on.
5) If at all possible, I strongly suggest a full "dress rehearsal" trip before you go. Use the same clothing, pack, shoes, everything you'll use in the GC. Even socks. All 3 of you. Try to simulate the distance and terrain although the latter will be tough in Florida. Go out for at least one night, two is better. Better to discover problems then than at the bottom of the Grand canyon in 100 degree heat. At least sleep out in your yard for a few nights.
6) How well do you know the other family? Are their capabilities similar to your party? They could become a liability to you.
7) I'll assume you have applied for the permits? The first day to apply for June was Feb. 1. Campground quotas fill up fast.
8) Read this. You can learn lots from other people's mistakes.
9) You said you're prepared for the heat but I hope you know that inner canyon average high temps for June are about 100 degrees. And that's just average. It could be hotter.
IMO the combination of distance, terrain, heat, pack weight and your experience level (let alone the other party's) could be a real recipe for trouble. I would take a hard look at what you're attempting.
Good luck and have fun. It's an incredible experience and I'll be there for another dose in April!!!
Thanks for the reply trailrunner. I didn't really ask any specific questions because I'm sure most my questions will be answered as I read thru these forums. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
You asked which way - Trip details: S-N Day one Down brightAngel to Bright Angel campground. (I've been down as far as Indian Gardens on a day hike a few years ago). That was on September 11, 2001 - yes, it was *that* day.... Day two - Up North Kiabob to Cottonwood Day three - Up North Kiabob to North Rim
To combat heat, we will take advantage of our internal body clocks being programed to the 3 hr time difference and start our days at 4am so we can do the bulk of our hiking with packs before the heat of the day. Also, being from southern Florida we are no strangers to heat (with humidity, and I realize how dry GC is, so that will make a difference but by May we will be training in 90+ temps with high humidity and "feels like" temp over 100). If we can be to camp by noon-ish we can pitch some shade and relax in the heat. I am not trying to dismiss the heat, but high temps are something I deal with for upwards of 6 months a year and trained in for the 60 mile walk last fall. I am well aware of the dangers of the heat and sun in GC and we are taking precautions to make sure none of us are victoms of heat stroke.
We just received our backcountry permit. I was hoping for the first week of June, but they gave us the 3 week of June... I wasn't real happy about that - but given we got permits on our first try, it will have to do. Taking two teen boys we had to work around school schedules, so we were limited to doing this during school breaks.
Pack Weight - I'm going to do my damdest to get the weight as low as possible. I'm going to train for 40lbs so I'm ready for anything. But I'm going to try for less. If we can get into the lodge for our final night then sleeping bags won't even be necessary, as the night temps in the canyon are going to be warm so fleece might be the only thing necessary. Although if we do end up camping at the north rim before catching the bus back to the south rim, then we would need something heavier.
We are contemplating just a Bivy and not tents - but that will depend on the weather. And as long as we can find water on the North Kiabob at regular intervals, that will save having to carry alot at one time. We are also on the list to get dinner at Phantom Ranch on Day one as well as Day two lunch from them. That is less food to carry for each of us.
Hiking poles are a definate MUST for all of us.
I'd love to find a way to train for the decline. The closest thing we might be able to do is find a public parking garage to practice hike in. Within the next month I plan to get all 6 of us doing some back to back training hikes on Sat and Sun, working around the boy's lacrosse games.
I fully admit to being a novice taking on a big challenge, but being up to the challenge. I'll be around here for a while, researching, learning and asking questions as they come up.
In my preliminary research on hiking I read most packs range 40 to 50lbs. That was where my starting point was for training. I am going to do my darnest to get that down closer to 30. The last two times I've been to GC for day hikes (in 2001 I spent 4 days there, going down about 5 miles and back up from different points and again in 2005 I spent 2 days there on smaller day hikes). Both those times I brought my 1 gallon camel pack day pack and had it full, so minimally I had 10lbs plus food, and supplies for the day.
As long as we can readily find water on the north trail, we'll be ok. I know where water sources are on the south trail and know that we can easily get by with carrying 1.5liter each and that should be plenty to get from water source to water source. Its the uphill climb that would worry me if we can't find water, we'll need to prepare to hike with more on our backs.
The one thing I won't do without is my camera gear. The '01 trip my DH talked me out of bringing the 35mm and I only brought the digital that at the time was less than 1mp. This time the digital SLR is coming with me with lenses. I'm not giving up that gear. That is kept in a belly pack.
You can always climb stairs in a tall building. 100 stories up and down with the pack would be a real help, at least it would tell you whether the trip is ridiculous or doable for you. Do it about 5 times to simulate the canyon. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" /> Oh and you can break in boots that way too. I used to soak em in water over night, put em on really tight, and climb the stairs in my apartment building till they stretched.
Tarps. I know you're going in June, but it can snow any day of the year up on the rim. While it was Easter, I have camped in a blizzard at the rim after a nice hike up. You should be prepared to pitch that tarp in a howling storm if you are gonna depend on it for shelter. Tents are heavy but offer more protection - which may not be required. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
Why in the world would your pack weigh that much without an 8 man tent? Maybe you shold post a gear list - we are really good at dissecting them. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.
100 stories.. LOL... we have a city ordinance that limits bldgs to 4 in town. I can go next town up where they do have one 10 story courthouse (that is locked nights and weekends). Closest we've got for public access is 4 story parking garage and we have had friends who used that for their training to do the same trek.
Our gear list is not finalized yet. I'm still pulling that together, but I'll list out what I think we need.
pack change of clothes (underwear, undersock, hiking sock, zip off pant, wicking shirt, sports bra) sandles fleece (doubles w/ clothes as a pillow) rain gear (el-cheapo garbage bag poncho) travel size toothbrush, paste and deoderant bed roll sleeping bag (or sleepsak if the temps are warm enough and we can get a room at the lodge at the rim) tent/bivy/tarp food (figure on 3000 cals per day for me, 4000 for the boys). dried foods, etc - TBD. we are going to try to get dinner at Phantom Ranch on day one, and lunch on day two. first aid (ace, moleskin, bandaids, ibuprofen, etc - something small and can be split amongst all of us). Electrolite tabs, filter tabs, etc cooking supplies (at minimum - water heating system) toilet paper 2 gallon plastic bag for garbage
Sat phone - maybe? Would be nice for emergencies but heavy.
And of course water - if we can find sources on the North trail - then I'm guessing 2 liter storage is about all we'll need that we can keep filling.
I'm sure I'm missing something. We have just started compiling a list of necessary gear.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I strongly recommend that you read the articles on the home page of this website. The articles are all listed in the left column of the home page. Pay particular attention to the gear lists. By making myself an Excel spreadsheet and comparing it to the "27 lb., 7-day gear list," I was able to cut my pack weight in half with no sacrifice in comfort or safety. I still use my spreadsheet a lot. In addition to consulting it when I contemplate a new gear purchase (if it isn't lighter than what I have, I won't get it), it is my checklist every time I take a trip.
Another series of articles, by Mark Verber, can be found here.. What's good about these articles is that he gives low budget options for almost everything. He also tries to keep up-to-date with the constant changes in gear models. Some of his links require a paid subscription to Backpacking Light, but I just ignored those. Avoid the extreme ultralight stuff (you don't have the experience to go there), but try to aim for the middle ground, such as what you'll find on the home page of this site. You will need a pack that will let you carry 30-35 lbs., because of your need to carry lots of extra water.
The main difference between heat in the Arizona desert and heat in Florida is the humidity. The low humidity and heat of the desert will suck the moisture out of you--you need lots more water than you think you will! Compared to anywhere in the East, you'll think you're not sweating much, when actually you're sweating far more but it evaporates immediately. The dry air also parches your mucous membranes. In fact, you'll feel as though every part of you is being dehydrated. You thus need to get your base pack weight (everything except food, water and fuel) way down so you have room for a lot of extra water--a gallon per person. At least that's what I'd plan if I were going to do this trip. I wouldn't venture off the rim in mid-winter, much less at the hottest time of the year, with only 1.5 liters! That's what I carry here in the Pacific Northwest where temps are generally mild and there is water all over the place. Please read and heed all the numerous warnings on the Grand Canyon National Park web site. We want to see you back here with a great trip report, not read about you in the newspaper!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
I have read all of your posts to date. I think you are seriously underestimating how much water you should carry.
June is the hottest, driest month in Arizona. I am planning a trip in the Canyon in early May, which is a lot cooler than June, and I will never start the day with less than 3 liters in my pack. I probably won't need all of it but it is there if I do. I would carry at least a gallon if I were going in June. Temperatures in the canyon in June can easily top 100 degrees and the relative humidity can be as low as 5%; this combined with strenuous hiking can be a deadly combination.
Yes, there are water sources along the Bright Angel trail and at the river and at Cottonwood. But, especially going uphill with a pack, you can easily sweat away a couple of liters per hour and you won't really be aware of it; the sweat evaporates as it is produced. What can happen, and does frequently happen, is a progressive dehydration leading to unusual fatigue and that can also affect ones judgment; a hiker should stop and rest in the shade but keeps on plugging instead. The best outcome under these circumstances is to finish a trip with a splitting headache and super sore muscles; the worst thing that can happen is that you can die. It happens to canyon hikers every summer! And, most of the rescues, and fatalities, are along the corridor trails you are proposing to hike and mostly involve fit, young people.
Carrying six to eight pounds of water to start the day is a small price to pay for a safe and enjoyable trip. I urge you to rethink your water needs.
You say you've read my posts - so you've read that the last two times I've done day hikes at GC was with a 1 gallon hydration pack. You also read that I am by no means dismissing the heat and dryness of GC and I know there is a big difference in climate between the humidity of south Florida and the dryness of Arizona deserts. If you like I can go into chapter and verse with full details on what I know and what to worry about with regards to that - but that would make the post extremely long.
I also mentioned in my OP that I WAS and AM concerned about how much water to worry about carrying. I'm planning on 1 gallon (9lbs) depending on the availability of water. I have spent alot of time researching and find those posting about their trips, on average, carry 1.5 to 2 liters and that is enough to get them from one water source to the next in an effort to keep their weight down in the packs. Some say there is plenty of water on North Kiabob while the Nat Parks say no. I know there is water at cottonwood and at Supia tunnel, and presumably at Rainbow falls (bringing filter to filter it there if necessary).
Likewise - considering Bright Angel - mostly shaded. Starting at 4 or 5am we should be to BA Camp well before noon where we can shed the pack and relax by the river and enjoy dinner (and quite possibly lunch) at PR. Thus before the heat of the day. And same with going from BAC to COT will be done before noon, getting us out of the depths of the canyon before the heat of the day sets in. Cot to North Rim is at high enough altitiudes that you really start getting the cooler weather from the north rim.
As I said originally - I am NOT trying to dismiss the heat and conditions of GC. I am well aware of them and we are planning for them. You all say that planning on a 40 to 50 lb pack is possibly too heavy for this trip. Considering 10lbs of it is going towards hydration, thats bring the pack down to 30lbs or so for food, gear and supplies.
IF - and only IF there is guarenteed ample water supplies (equal or greater than that on Bright Angel) then I might consider cutting back to 1.5 to 2 liters. But at that, I'd only do it if we are guarenteed water at least every 2 miles.
I certainly would plan to err on the side of caution with this trip and in regards to hydration. That is my BIGGEST health concern of this while trip. Hence my reasoning for wanting to train the entire party to carry heavy packs over long distances.
By the by - based on historic records - June is not the hottest month in Arizona, or under the rim. July/Aug are. Just to clarify. But I certainly know that a heat wave can hit ANY TIME causing temps to soar beyond 110.
Be sure and go to both Ranger programs at Phantom Ranch.
Treking poles are a good idea.
Make sure the water is on, but you should have water at the 1.5 mile and 3 mile rest houses, Indian Garden, the River House and where the trail from the black bridge and silver bridge meet. I feel comfortable hiking the BA with only a quart of water.
Did I mention treking poles?
Cotton kills on Rainier, but not the Grand Canyon. Soak your clothes at every opportunity. Long sleeve shirts and wide brimmed hats are best. I don't have a clue how you can convince your kids.
Did I mention treking poles?
It is possible to keep your pack weights below 25 pounds the entire trip. You may have to go through the kids packs to eliminate stuff.
I feel comfortable hiking the BA with only a quart of water.
Surely not from the river or Cottonwood to the North Rim in June; that's a long haul. Coming down the BA from Grand Canyon Village is well watered but there are a few long dry spells on the trail to the NR and you are in the sun a lot more.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Cruzenbye, I hope you won't take the following comments offensively. They are meant solely for the safety and welfare of you and your family! You admit that you are a newbie, yet you believe that you know more about Grand Canyon conditions, on the basis of a few dayhikes, than a highly experienced desert hiker who lives in Arizona and is far more familiar with the Grand Canyon than you are. If I were going to hike the Grand Canyon, Pika is the first person on this board whom I would contact for advice and information. I strongly recommend that you heed his advice. In my opinion (for what it's worth), you owe him an apology.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Yeah, I figured as much; you are too much of an old desert rat to head out w/o enough water. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> I usually do the stretch from the rim to Indian Gardens with a liter or less (to save the knees), tank up at the top and at the Resthouse and then load up my jugs at Indian Gardens for any trip on the Tonto. The same on the Hermit Trail; I drink up at Hermits Rest then again at Santa Maria Springs and then load up at Hermit Camp.
I'm glad to see that you're planning on 3 days and not 2, and that you're planning a very early start. That should make your trip safer and easier. Just remember that preparing breakfast and breaking camp, in the dark, may take longer than you think if you have not done it before. And with that many inexperienced folks in your party someone may take a very long time. Or someone may want to sleep in. You can't hit the trail until everyone is ready. Your planned 4 AM start could easily turn into a 5 AM start. The best laid plans on paper sometimes don't translate into reality. Believe me I've been there.
One more factor not mentioned yet is the elevation. The South Rim is about 6600' and the North Rim is about 1000' higher. This is not terribly high but it is much higher than Florida. Thinner air affects everyone differently. You said you don't all have mountain experience. The altitude may affect you very little or it may have a profound effect on you or someone in your party. Be prepared for that.
_________________________ If you only travel on sunny days you will never reach your destination.*
* May not apply at certain latitudes in Canada and elsewhere.
I do think you are missunderstanding and misquoting me.
I do not dismiss or belittle the heat and dangers of hiking the GC! I am planning for that. But I do believe you are either not reading my posts in entirety or you are misinterpreting what I have said.
I said that I planned to carry 1 gallon hydration packs - which is one of the reasons why I want to train and be ready to carry 40 to 50lbs pack for the trip. 1 gallon is approx 10lbs... People ask me why I'm planning for so heavy - that's a big reason why. The day trips I've done in the past were with 1 gallon hydration packs.
I also said that I had read reports from others who did the trip only bringing 1.5 to 2 liter hydration packs with them.
I said that I would consider that IF AND ONLY IF there was adequate water sources on the NK going north and out of the canyon.
That is part of my research - to find how much water I need to plan to carry. Dispite you misunderstanding me, you have gotten your point across and I will continue to train for a heavier pack of about 40+ lbs and plan to carry that gallon (plus) of water.
Pika is misquoting and misinterpreting what I have been saying. And being new to this forum - I don't know Pika from you or Adam....
I have never said I know more about GC conditions... I said I don't know what the water conditions are like on the North Kiabob going out. I have only read reports from previous hikers who have done the trip.
Most reports I have read say water sources are plentifyl on the North Kiabob, so you don't have to worry about carrying alot with you. Yet the Ranger reports and the GCNP say water is scarce.
I admit - I don't know which. I am looking into that.
People were asking why I plan and train to carry a 40lb pack. If at least 10 is reserved for water, that leaves 30lbs for everything else. If I can get that down to 20 - great, but I may not, so I'd rather train heavy.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
If you will check the references I gave you, you should be able to reduce your base weight (complete pack minus food, fuel and water) to where your total pack weight will be under 30 lbs. _with_ the gallon of water. This is especially true since you will have shared gear (instead of one shelter, one stove and one pot per person) and, if you eat at Phantom Ranch, don't need a full 3 days' food. My three-day pack (total pack weight) for backpacking in the high Cascades is 18 lbs. Of course that's with only 1 quart of water, but for the high mountains I need heavier clothing, sleeping bag and shelter than you will in the Grand Canyon.
I went through the lightening-up process two years ago. I had to give up backpacking after a knee injury (now 20 years ago) that left me no longer able carry 40+ lb. packs, but now I can once again go out in the high mountain wilderness for a week at a time, quite comfortably, with 25 lbs. Nearly all the information that enabled me to accomplish this was from this website. I didn't stumble onto Mark Verber's articles until later. He has a lot of info on how you can lighten up with not a lot of money. There is no reason, with the gear currently available, for anyone to carry a 40+ lb. pack unless they're going out unsupported for several weeks, or maybe in the middle of winter. Or my youngest son on a family trip last summer--he carried the gear for his young children (5 and 7) and his wetsuit and surfboard.
I'd pay close attention to the park rangers--they are the ones who have to go down and rescue hundreds of hikers every year, most of whom get in trouble due to carrying insufficient water. Remember also that if you have even a minor emergency, you will need water where you are, not several miles down the trail.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
I certainly will be reading the references you mentioned as well as anything else I can get my hands on. If I can shave off 10lbs then I'll be happy. I'm confident I could do this with a 20lb pack (although I'm dreaming if I think I could get away with that). I'd be happy if our packs were only 30lbs with gear and water.
This is why I'm here. And I had hoped to have time to read first before asking many questions. I'm sure the links and references found in this forum and on the left will answer most my questions.
Went North to South on the Kaibab Trails last Spring. Rode the hiker's shuttle back around.
Get a digital kitchen scale and weigh every item. Get a pop can alcohol stove if you must have hot drinks and oatmeal (can't haul any stove fuel on any airplane). In June, you won't need a real sleeping bag, but take some clothing for warmth during the night. You will have to layer up, later in the night. Consider bringing a light base layer to wear under your daytime cotton outer layers at night with a ground cloth that you can taco in. WalMart had some microfleece and some DriMore athletic wear on sale recently for $5 to $7. Regular fleece is too bulky to pack and flunks the weight test here. Take jerky for meat. Leave the chocolate out of the trail mix. Take a lot of dried fruit for the potassium (bananas and apricots). Raisins are good for quick energy. Take some powdered Gatorade but don't overdose on it as it is much too salty when drinking a gallon a day. A liquid ounce per quart of water may be all you need for a sweaty day's electrolytes. Several small, cheap, store brand water bottles weigh much less than a few liter Nalgene bottles and the smaller ones don't slosh as loud when hiking. Take only as much soap, sunscreen, toothpaste, and bug repellant as you will use on your hike. Clean and reuse small empty containers or buy the tiny travel sizes. Bring white cotton gloves with the finger tips removed, for keeping the backs of your hands from getting so sunburned. Light cotton, loose fitting pants like hospital scrubs would be good trail wear. Choose a pattern that won't show how dirty your clothing gets from sitting on rocks for three days. The goal is to keep the sun off of your skin. From Phantom Ranch north, watch for shade in side canyons and under bridges. Wet your clothing and your bandana at every water source.
You are wise to use the time difference for starting early. At the top, a ranger praised my 8:00am exit until I mentioned my 3:00am start. Read up on condors. They perch just over the wall north of the South Rim ice cream shop behind the El Tovar Lodge. The standard joke is they are watching for ill-prepared hikers. The condors wear numbers so you can read their individual genealogy at the peregrine recovery website.
hitthetrail.com has some excellent info, stories, and Inner Canyon (Phantom Ranch) weather reports.
Thanks Joe, You've given me some great ideas. Had not thought about the gloves for sunburned hands.
As a Floridian I feel somewhat blasphomous by saying this - but gatorade is horrible.... I'm not a fan. That stuff makes me nauseous in the heat - even diluted 75% w/ water. I can never drink it straight - way too much sugar. ANd carrying the extra powder adds weight - doesn't it?
Shot Bloks work well, but at 2oz for a package of 6, I'd need to think about adding at least 1lb to my pack by carrying those. Instead we use electrolite tabs (tablets that contain potassium, magnesium and other electrolites that disolve in a water). Citrus flavored, adds a light flavor to a 16oz bottle of water.
We will be using 1 gallon hydration packs (house rule - only water goes in them, no sugary additives). And a couple water bottles as well, so that we can mix the electrolites when needed.
Another item I'll share with you is look at BullFrog sunscreen w/ bug spray. An item that comes in a small container - and serves two purposes. (its the one in the green bottle). CapriSun sport aerosol cans are my fav sun screens for the durability, long lasting, non burning, non skin clogging sunscreen.
Loc: California (southern)
I think a sat phone would be overkill. While you are in an official wilderness area, the kaibab/bright angel trail system is heavily used. For me, that is its principal disadvantage. Solitude resides elsewhere in Grand Canyon.
On the other hand, the trail is so good that you should have no trouble getting a real early start and following the trail in the dark. I have started Grand Canyon hikes as early as 2:30 AM - the desert equivalent of an early alpine start. If the moon is up, you really don't need a light. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
Having done the Rim-to rim hike - in the opposite direction you are going - I can offer a few possibly useful tidbits. The first is that if you get on the trail early, you can be in the shade instead of the sun. I was there in june also, and by starting at the north rim at 4:30 AM, I walked in the shade almost all the way to the bottom of the canyon, which made a big difference in my comfort level. You'll get your pack well under that 40-50 pound range witha little effort - I see that a lot of folks have offered help in this area, so i won't repaeat all of that. I found that going downhill was not neccesarily less tiring, but I did need a lot less water on the downhill side - like maybe one-fourth as much. Going up, I drank about 2 liters per hour or more (temp at the bottom was, I believe, at least 105 that day) I think this difference was exaggerated by the difference between morning ad afternoon (down in the morning, up in the afternoon) and sun and shade (down almost all in the shade, up mostly in the sun). But I still think I need much less water on the downhill. I did the hike in one day, and from what I recall I drank about 4 gallons of water total and was still a little dehydrated at the end. I didn't use any rehydration solutions or anything, but I did make sure all my food was salty. If I was doifn it now, i'd be making sure I got more potassium to go with the sodium.