There is nothing I love more than taking each of you along with me on my journeys. It warms my heart beyond belief when I’m told someone lives vicariously through me. Really? Little ol’ me? That’s exactly why I’ve spent so much time putting this video and blog together.
For a change, I want this blog to be both entertaining AND informative (novel idea, I know). If you aren’t interested in the nitty gritty details… I suggest you watch the video NOW! And for those of you who have 1,001 questions feel free to read on below to your heart’s content! Now let’s get to it:
I see you’ve stuck around for the nitty gritty details, welcome!
One thing Kendrick and I always try to do is get away from the crowds. While only 1% of the visitor’s to the Grand Canyon actually make it to the bottom, we wanted to be the 1% of the 1% that took a different path! The two most popular trails to the bottom are the South Kaibab and the Bright Angel trails.
We, however, began our journey on the east side of the canyon. In order to hit all of the photo spots we wanted, we chose this 85 mile journey: Tanner Trail > Beamer Trail > Escalante Route > Tonto Trail > South Kaibab Trail > Bright Angel > Plateau Point > Bright Angel. For a limited time (until we need it again), you can see our exact GPS route here.
When Kendrick first asked me if I could do an 85 mile hike, I honestly didn’t know how to answer. The longest backpacking trip I’ve been on had been only 20 miles. I had never attempted anything more. But for some reason my instinct was to say (dripping with hesitation) “suuuuurrre”.
While every step of every mile was beautiful (It sounds like I’m exaggerating but I’m not!), not everyone has time for a trek of this length. My suggestion to you: start east! The Tonto and Beamer trails were by far made up of the most spectacular views for photography. No, you won’t get a restroom, running water or a cold beer… but it’s worth it. Trust me.
This is going to be the number one subject I get questions on – so now everything is in one easy place!
There are certainly more affordable ways of shopping for backpacking food than buying a bunch of freeze dried meals. While the concept is smart, they are a little on the pricey side. I also have no idea why the food is so compact, yet the packaging is so big!! However, if you are going on a short trip – or in our case, in a pinch for time – these can be a great (and pretty tasty) solution.
Kendrick and I always joke because we choose our meals differently. He looks for the highest calories per $, and I look for the tasty, lower calorie ones. But believe it or not, we actually agree on all of our favorites!!
BEST DINNER: Backpacker’s Pantry Pad Thai (most calories too!)
BEST BREAKFAST: Mountain House Biscuits and Gravy (there are simply no words)
BEST DESSERT: Backpacker’s Pantry Dark Chocolate Cheesecake (served cold, but good!)
RUNNER UP! Backpacker’s Pantry Cuban Coconut Black Beans & Rice
An important thing to consider is how much you need to eat and how long you will be gone. It isn’t necessary, or practical, to eat 3 square meals a day when you’re on the trail. A typical day for Kendrick and me was a light breakfast (instant oatmeal or granola bars… and coffee of course!), snacks throughout the day (jerky, nuts, cookies), and then a nice big hot dinner at night!
It’s helpful to move your whiskey from the glass bottle to a plastic one. Oh wait… you thought I meant water? Ya, I guess we need that too.
There are a million options when it comes to water treatment. Endless filters, straws, and pills. The important thing, is that you have at least one of those – and more importantly, a water source. Luckily, by it’s nature, the canyon is full of water! But its not always along the trail. So before we took off we talked to the park rangers to find out what the water conditions were like at each of our nightly stops. This is key!
Our water treatment solution of choice was Aquamira chlorine dioxide droplets. We chose this method as the drops are very small, effective, and easy to carry. It is two chemicals that you mix and let sit for 30 minutes in your water. Since we went in February (rather than the hot summer) we didn’t drink as much water and most of the creeks were running.
But I was serious about the whiskey.
Repackage any food or drinks you can’t live without so they are travel-friendly. Use bottles that can easily be packed out or repurposed (Kendrick repurposed his as a pee bottle in the tent… hey, whatever works!)
In this case, Kendrick and I each got to nurse 17oz of our finest Early Times whiskey (we also took along our favorite Angel’s Envy for a couple special occasions) over the course of 13 days. Spoiler alert: they only made it to day 9.
Each of the following images was featured in the video in the chronological moment they were actually taken.
Stayed tuned for Part 2 where I will tackle questions about battery power, lighting, coffee, pooping, and more!
COME ALONG WITH ME!
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