backcountry travel learn from other trailblazers

Grand Canyon

By: Chris Halter
Trip Date: October 1999

Dear Mary Jane,

My first backpacking trip (the Grand Canyon) was fantastic! I encountered none of the problems people had warned me about, such as scorpions, exhaustion, or the inability to get back out once I reached the bottom. My boyfriend and I hiked down the Kaibab trail and camped at large the first night on the tonto. There was room for us at the popular Phantom Ranch campground on the second night. Since we didn't hike very far either day, we had time for exploration and relaxation. From the rim, the Grand Canyon didn't look real. It looked like a two dimensional photo. Once we began our descent, the entire place came alive. There was so much spectacular scenery that I can't begin to describe it! One has to experience it.

My brother, Brad, had taught me how to pack lightly on camping trips with day hikes. I carried only one choice of clothing for each layer. Some people were so loaded down that they could hardly move! One man actually had a cot strapped to his pack! Thanks to your delicious Backcountry food, we never felt hungry and had plenty of energy for the entire trip. Mealtime was exciting because we chose from a big variety of gourmet foods that we had never tried before. On the way out, I noticed many hikers carrying so much trash that they had to strap it on their packs in large plastic bags. All of ours fit neatly into one used meal package that was tucked away inside a small pan in a backpack.

I must admit that the last few miles were really tough and I fought the temptation to sit down and rest. When I reached civilization again, tourists stared. Did I really look that bad? I felt great! Could they tell that I hadn't had a bath in three days with the exception of a half-second swim in the super freezing Colorado? A few people stopped to ask us about our adventure and I told them I couldn't wait to go back!

Thanks for helping to make our trip terrific,

Chris Halter