2008 Grand Canyon
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For the fifth time in the last six years (we did not make the trip to New Mexico and Arizona in 2007), we made a visit to the Grand Canyon our primary extracurricular activity.  This year, because of the scheduling of the FE exam and our need to return home right after the contest ended, we went to the Grand Canyon at the beginning of the trip, rather than at the end. 

As in past years, different groups of us took different hikes.  Most took what has become the standard hike for first-time hikers with a reasonable level of bravery and stamina, the South Kaibab/Tonto/Bright Angel trails into and out of the canyon.  All together, this is about a 13 mile hike that sees about a 3,000 foot drop in elevation.

Another group took a new hike for us on the Grandview Trail to Horseshoe Mesa to see the old mines and mining equipment.  This is about a six-mile round-trip hike with among the steepest trails we've hiked on.  Total elevation change is about 2600 feet.

A third group stayed on the rim and walked about six miles in total along the Rim Trail.

 

As has been the case each year we have visited, we had excellent hiking weather, with temperatures at the rim starting out in the upper 30s when we arrived about 8 a.m. and reaching about 65 by the middle of the day.  April is one of the best times of the year to hike in the Canyon.  We did see some snow on the Grandview Trail near the top, but nothing we couldn't navigate around.

 

 

The brochure and park newspaper are handed to you as you enter.
     
Front and back of a 1960s vintage postcard of the Bright Angel Lodge dining room.  We ate in this dining room in 2008, and while it certainly looks nice, it doesn't look like this any more.  By the way, "table d'hote" means a single meal of several courses served to all guests.  We didn't see anything like this on the menu.