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  • Writer's pictureBlaine Hoppenrath

The Trail Provides: To Phantom and Beyond

It started just like any other Rim2Rim. Waiting for the Orange Hiker Express Shuttle to take me from Bright Angel Lodge to the South Kaibab Trailhead. Then hopping on the shuttle, half awake, trying to close my eyes for the final moments before the grueling trail before me. It was just like any other day in the canyon. Well, except one thing.

You see, on this day, I had someone to share it with.

Bo was ready to go. I am pretty sure that he knew he was getting himself into 17 miles of adventure and at the same time not exactly sure what to expect.

We started that day, just like any other trip below the rim. The sun was starting to rise. And we started walking down into the abyss. But our adventure got off to an exciting start after the first set of switchbacks when we saw big horn sheep. They were flanking the trail, and had absolutely zero care about the people on the trail. It was so cool to see them. I think I was more impressed with the sheep than Bo was but to each their own.

We kept going down, enjoying the views and stopping for pictures along the way. Just like the times before I felt like I was gliding down to the river. Once we finally made it, I may or may not have made Bo go to the canteen at Phantom Ranch so I could get a lemonade and send some postcards to my Grandparents.

After the break I then insisted we were actually going to take a better break at Pipe Creek Beach, which we did. And it was fantastic. Bo dipped his feet in the river (which I should have done but its just so gosh darn cold) which I hopped around on the rocks.

We then made the climb out, and I was one a one track mind to get the climb over with. We made really great progress to Indian Garden where we took out last major break. From there we kept a 20min/mile pace for the duration of the climb out. We took a few minutes at the 3mi rest house and then blazed past the 1.5mi rest house. And I was feeling great. I set the pace (I was definitely trying to impress Bo) and was crushing it. It was one of the better climbs that I have had in the Canyon. We made it to the trailhead and celebrated with some high fives before heading back to Phoenix.

The Canyon is aways there, the river is always flowing, both are always changing. Every time I am there I feel a sense of peace that I have yet to find anywhere else. But this time I am glad that I got to share a place that means so much to me with someone who means so much to me. We will be back soon for a hiker and hopefully, at some point, to float the river so he can see the Canyon the best way to see the Canyon.

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