I Cannot Believe it! I managed to have gotten through on the busiest day of each month to Central Reservations at Xanterra Resorts to get what?
To Get Accommodations At The Bottom Of The Grand Canyon!!!!! Yippeee!!!!
They sell out like concert tickets -- in 1/2 hr!
They open up a new month's worth of accommodations 13 months in advance so our reservations are for May 2010. You cannot just show up down there and those who camp have to apply for permits way in advance too.
D is super pumped as he has not hiked it before. My last hike down was 10 years ago.
This is the first of our 2010 efforts to travel more budget -- to help balance out this year's adventures.
I started re-dialing 5 minutes to and I wasn't alone as I got busy signal after busy signal. There are 30 lines that once open, pretty much wipes out the inventory.
I got through about 2 minutes after 7am mountain time and I told the agent that I feel like I've won a lottery.
Reservations have to be paid fully in advance and you also have to order all your meals at the same time as food is carried down by miles.
As the path is fairly narrow (not much more than 2 ft), without railings at about 10000 ft, with mules getting the right of way, hikers have to squash themselves against the rock wall in order to let them pass. I would not recommend this hike for children.
There are also no active rangers on the route. Hikers are advised to bring a small mirror to reflect light up to the top as there are rangers with binoculars looking down for signs of distress.
Depending on the trail you take, there may not be potable water available so you would need to carry min. 1 litre for each hour you take -- it gets heavy!
Coming up will tend to take much longer than coming down -- think double -- so an early start is a really good idea as temperature skyrocket pretty fast. You would like to make it to a certain elevation (almost 1/2 way) by 9am.
Cell phone reception is unreliable/non existent. Make sure you have adequate travel medical insurance that includes emergency helicopter transport.