I first visited the Grand Canyon when I was a senior in high school with my family back in 1991. I was blown away by the canyon, and I begged to come back and hike it. That summer, my dad planned out a trip for me and my two brothers, John and Daniel. The four of us braved the intense heat, a menu of Ramen, pancakes, and Gatorade, and a sorry set of borrowed gear and heavy equipment to slog through one of the most beautiful places on earth. Since then, I've returned over 20 times, hiked over 600 miles, and spent almost 2 months of nights in the backcountry of the Grand Canyon with my brothers, dad, friends, and now my wife and kids. For spring break this week, we decided to repeat a trip we'd taken about 4 years ago. Back then, Matt was only 2, and Brandi carried him in a baby carrier. We sent gear down via mules to Phantom Ranch near Bright Angel Campground along the Colorado River. That way, I carried most of the gear, with Annie, Emmy, and James carrying relatively light packs (about 10-15 lbs). This year, we didn't draw our permits, so we arrived at the canyon on Sunday, received a Number at the Backcountry Office, and spent two mornings in a row Monday and Tuesday moving that Number up in line for permits. I showed up at 8 am each day by myself while they slept at the hotel, waited for 5 minutes, got my number, and left. By Tuesday morning, I had moved up from #8 to #1 and got our permits! We spent the first two days on the rim swimming at the hotel, hiking footpaths along the rim, visiting "lookouts," and visiting every building, museum, or visitor's center we could find. By Wednesday morning, we were anxious to get hiking! I forgot our good camera, so all of these pictures were taken by me and Emmy with her little Kodak Playsport.
Grand Canyon guy.