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brendabethman
12-04-2014, 06:00 PM
My husband and I decided it was finally time to see the Grand Canyon so we are planning a short (4 days) trip in late March during our spring break. Other than bringing along my Synapse for hiking (but which size?), any tips/must sees from folks who have been there?

We are not big campers so have made reservations in one of the lodges in Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim. We will be flying to Phoenix and renting a car.

Frank II
12-04-2014, 06:18 PM
I've been to the Grand Canyon more times than I can count.....but it's been a few years.

March is off season and it will be chilly during the day and downright freezing at night.

My suggestions....plane or helicopter ride over the canyon. It's huge and seeing it from the sky at a low altitude is amazing.

Try to be at the rim at sunrise or sunset because the rising/lowering of the sun changes the colors of the rocks.

On your way to the Canyon, or on the return, get off the main highway and check out Montezuma's Castle, the Red Rocks, and Sedona.

terayon
12-04-2014, 06:22 PM
We camped there in March and it was cold at night, but during the day it was sunny and warm enough for shorts (albeit with long sleeves, and we were hiking in the canyon so working up a bit of a sweat). I don't have a lot to add, except WOW. It really is a wonder.

brendabethman
12-04-2014, 07:01 PM
Thanks @Frank II and @terayon -- I am really looking forward to this trip.

moriond
12-04-2014, 07:50 PM
My husband and I decided it was finally time to see the Grand Canyon so we are planning a short (4 days) trip in late March during our spring break. Other than bringing along my Synapse for hiking (but which size?), any tips/must sees from folks who have been there?

We are not big campers so have made reservations in one of the lodges in Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim. We will be flying to Phoenix and renting a car.

@brendabethman, Like @Frank II, it has been a while since I've been to the Grand Canyon, and I mostly hiked down (traveling with a Geologist who commented on the strata), so I've never taken helicopter rides there. (I have done taken a helicopter tour of Waimea Canyon on Kauai, which is billed as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, and that was pretty spectacular). I concur that you want to stop at some of the locations in the vicinity like Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon (geologically related and a very pretty area). I'd be inclined to carry the Synapse 19, and not burden yourself with a lot. Remember that if you walk down it will take more effort to walk up! Carry water, and remember to pack everything out of the area if you bring food.

There are some great free smart phone apps for the National Parks put out by Chimani that are available for both Android and iOS platforms. They basically have the information that's put out in the National Park brochures you get upon admission, but it's updated, and integrates with your GPS. I haven't tried this at the Grand Canyon, but here's a link to an early review (back in 2011) of the one for Yosemite:

http://www.modernhiker.com/2011/04/21/review-chimani-national-parks-apps/

The iOS app store URL for the Grand Canyon app is:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chimani-grand-canyon-national/id422907236?mt=8

HTH

moriond

Orangeboys
12-04-2014, 08:13 PM
How exciting @brandabethman! I love the Grand Canyon! Yes it will be chilly in March but all the better for hiking. I would recommend hiking into the canyon a little ways -- it does not take long to get beyond most of the people. Take plenty of water even in March.

moriond
12-04-2014, 08:23 PM
How exciting @brandabethman! I love the Grand Canyon! Yes it will be chilly in March but all the better for hiking. I would recommend hiking into the canyon a little ways -- it does not take long to get beyond most of the people. Take plenty of water even in March.

+1 on the take plenty of water. I haven't visited in March, but that has always been key advice. On the other hand, don't try to pack lots of stuff, because you'll have to walk back up with it,

TavaPeak
12-04-2014, 10:17 PM
We were at Grand Canyon for spring break a few years ago. It was fairly crowded that last week of. March, but we lucked out with mild weather. We stayed in the park also, and loved walking the rim trail in the early morning. Also enjoyed seeing Mary Colter's architecture and learning more about her.

monkeylady
12-04-2014, 11:41 PM
Such an extraordinary place...and the weather can be all over the place in a matter of hours. We visited in late April- early May just a few years ago and it snowed. I think you've probably gotten the HINTS from all of us that you need to pack for a very wide range of temps. The air is very, very dry, something we Pacific NWers are not acclimated to. I thought my lips were going to fall off from being chapped. Pack serious moisturizer. How lucky that you get to stay in one of the lodges right on the rim. Take lots of pix! Ditto on the advice to visit Sedona and the Red Rock and Oak Creek Canyon areas. This area will be much warmer and, along with the Grand Canyon, is one of the most beautiful areas on earth.

brendabethman
12-05-2014, 05:21 AM
This is such great advice, all -- thanks! @morinod I downloaded that app and it looks great! I also decided, based on all the comments about the weather, that this clearly meant I needed to order an Icebreaker top for the mornings/evenings :-)

And I'll definitely take along the S19 since it's Dyneema and thus super light. And really, how much stuff do I need? Just my hiking shoes/clothes and one nicer outfit if we go to dinner in the fancier lodge.

One tip for anyone else planning a trip -- if you want to stay in the park, book early! We booked earlier this week for the end of March and there were only two lodges that still had rooms available -- and only a couple that were still within our budget. If I'd waited any longer, we would have missed it for sure.

Orangeboys
12-05-2014, 06:27 AM
@monkeylady's comment reminds me -- we visited once near the end of October and it was cold. And other than souvenir sweatshirts we could find no warm clothes to buy anywhere nearby. We were freezing and one day fled to Sedona to warm up. So Icebreaker is a good idea.

OTOH, we enjoyed the stay so much that we ended up staying by the Grand Canyon an extra several days. For that part we found lodging in Cameron to the east on the Navajo reservation. Another spot worth visiting if you like desert scenery.

monkeylady
12-05-2014, 09:24 AM
This is such great advice, all -- thanks! @morinod I downloaded that app and it looks great! I also decided, based on all the comments about the weather, that this clearly meant I needed to order an Icebreaker top for the mornings/evenings :-)

And I'll definitely take along the S19 since it's Dyneema and thus super light. And really, how much stuff do I need? Just my hiking shoes/clothes and one nicer outfit if we go to dinner in the fancier lodge.

One tip for anyone else planning a trip -- if you want to stay in the park, book early! We booked earlier this week for the end of March and there were only two lodges that still had rooms available -- and only a couple that were still within our budget. If I'd waited any longer, we would have missed it for sure.

You'll need a jacket as well, something like the Puff Jacket (Marmot?) or the REI Revelry, if you don't have such. Either are packable and squish up into very small packages. The Ice Breaker would be perfect, or Smart Wool. If worn with a simple pair of pants and a scarf, you should be tastefully dressed for dinner in the lodges.

binje
12-05-2014, 10:09 AM
Ooooh, the Grand Canyon. I haven't been in almost 20 years so some things have changed, I'm sure. Before I saw it the first time, I thought I would be disappointed because it gets so much hype but having that massiveness open up before you is breathtaking. If you have an opportunity and inclination to get away from the crush on the rim, by all means, do. Bright Angel Trail gets a lot of traffic, but the crowds thin somewhat as you descend. You can also take one of the trails that parallel the rim (Tonto or Kaibab) partway down and get both an easier hike, relatively speaking, and some stellar views.

Yes on the water, of course. Platypus or Vapur bottles travel well. Don't forget good shoes and socks. And layers! If you are planning to hike or ride a mule all the way to Phantom Ranch, you'll notice the temperature changes a lot from rim to river (cool to warm, something like a 20 degree difference). You'll want to be able to shed layers as you descend. One of those layers should be windproof, just in case. On one of my March backpacking trips (yep, Spring Break), we left the rim in shorts and sweaters and hats, hiked along Tonto in shorts and t-shirts, then came back up to the rim a few days later in a snowstorm. We were prepared for cold, but not for walking uphill in the snow and wind so there were Texas college students sliding all over the place. If you're just doing day hikes, you'll have a better handle on the rim temperature, but it's definitely something to think about.

Flagstaff is a small university town - I've had some good meals there, but not recently enough that I can remember/recommend. The museum is supposed to be good, but I haven't been yet. And, as others have said, the Sedona/Red Rock area is beautiful and you'll come within striking distance on your drive from Phoenix. I've never been hiking there, because I've only been with my in-laws (they live in Phoenix in the winter) and they don't get out of the car, but I make them stop at Frank Lloyd Wright's Holy Cross chapel every time we go. If you've got time in Phoenix, Taliesin West is interesting as well.

Have a wonderful trip!

Badger
12-05-2014, 11:35 AM
I'm driving out to LA in late spring and making a stop at America's largest hole in the ground—and of course, the gentleman is coming along. Here is the one dog-friendly lodging I found, located on the south rim: http://www.redfeatherlodge.com/index.html . An additional bonus is that they have free wifi. Hope this is helpful if anyone else here is planning to travel with their dog(s).

brendabethman
12-05-2014, 12:23 PM
You'll need a jacket as well, something like the Puff Jacket (Marmot?) or the REI Revelry, if you don't have such. Either are packable and squish up into very small packages. The Ice Breaker would be perfect, or Smart Wool. If worn with a simple pair of pants and a scarf, you should be tastefully dressed for dinner in the lodges.

I'm looking at this jacket (http://www.uniqlo.com/us/product/women-ultra-light-down-compact-jacket-127499.html#09|/women/outerwear/ultra-light-down/compact-jackets-and-vests/|) from Uniqlo. Folks who are more experienced at this than I am, do you think that jacket will do?

And again, thank you all for the great tips! I love this forum!!

monkeylady
12-05-2014, 10:08 PM
This jacket looks just fine. You will need a scarf if it's cold and windy. Use the one you'll wear to dinner with your Ice Breaker top.

Dee
12-06-2014, 03:23 AM
I've literally just bought that jacket, it arrived yesterday. I wore it out yesterday, with a windproof shell on top, and it worked beautifully. We got down to 1C and my top half was nice and warm. I probably would have felt even toastier had I wrapped my bottom half up nearly as well.

brendabethman
12-06-2014, 05:40 AM
@Dee I just saw your other post, and it sounds like this jacket will be just right, so I am going to order it. Now I just need to think about bottoms, I guess.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

monkeylady
12-06-2014, 07:42 AM
Take along a pair of wool base layer bottoms from Icebreaker or some other wool place. You can sleep in these if it's cold in the lodge at night. Which Ice Breaker top will you have with you?

brendabethman
12-06-2014, 08:18 AM
Take along a pair of wool base layer bottoms from Icebreaker or some other wool place. You can sleep in these if it's cold in the lodge at night. Which Ice Breaker top will you have with you?

I will wear one of my Bliss wraps on the plane (and can then use that for dinner) and will also bring along this top (http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00AFS26N6 Sorry for the full link. Don't know how to embed from the phone app).

Wool leggings sound like a good plan. I will check them out. Thanks!

monkeylady
12-06-2014, 10:47 AM
You sound ready to roll. I envy you the trip. The area is remarkably beautiful and very spiritual.