Our hike into the canyon was brilliant. Nowhere near as hard as it was hyped up to be.
7.6 miles and just under 5000 feet downhill the first day on the South Kaibab Trail, which was really tough later that day once our muscles and joints had ceased up. We started about 9am which was way later than we'd been reccommeneded (beacuse of the heat - we just weren't very organised that morning) but even that was OK - nothing compared to Palm Springs and SoCal only days before!! Got to the bottom - Bright Angel Campground and Phantom Ranch about 1pm and chilled out, had a nap. There were a couple of ranger programmes that afternoon and evening so we went to both (brilliant ranger - Soooooo enthusiastic and interesting!). Cheated a bit on the first day - we'd booked evening meal and breakfast next morning at Phantom Ranch (for the grand total of $90 for both of us for both meals - expensive but we didn't have to carry the food!). Temps at the bottom of the canyon are about 20-30 degrees hotter than the south rim - so about 90 degrees for us and a low of 65 at night so nice. 2 funny old residents at the campground - 2 wild turkeys called Bill and Mark. They wandered away from their 'flock/gaggle/gang' that normally reside on the north rim last thanksgiving and wandered all 14 miles to the bottom where they obviously rather enjoyed - they've been there ever since! Apparently though they're getting a free ride out soon as they have become a bit agressive and nipping at people - plans are in action to helicoptor them out! (Chris was wondering whether if he hung out at the Bright Angel campground being agressive towards fellow campers and generally being a pain whether he could've got a heli out instead of walking!!!!)
2nd day was just a 5 mile hike up to Indian Gardens along the Bright Angel trail. The first 2 miles of which were along the river and the trail was really easy going - we had our new camp set up by 10.30am!! Rest of the day to do not very much - lots of lounging around, chatting to some of the other campers. Around 4pm we walked out to Plateau Point where we had a great sunset view up/down the canyon and the river below.
Our final day was another 5 miles uphill back to the rim. Started fairly early, although the majority of the hike was in the shade. A bit steeper gradient than yesterday, and we walked a little slower (those achey joints!) Got to the top around 9.45am. Much cooler temperatures which we really noticed as we ascended and up on top quite breezy too! Had a much needed shower and left the grand canyon by noon in search of the nearest Cheesecake Factory!! (I was in need of a big lardy meal). So we're back in Las Vegas!!!