Tuesday, May 10, 2016

2014 SART Hell Ride

Bike for Bender host a 35 mile ride from South Fork down to Redlands at the end of every October. This ride covers one of southern CAs longest runs of single track, mostly all of it down hill.

I recruited a friend to make the journey with me, and split the cost of travel and lodging.

I we did not manage to secure one of the shuttle seats that guarantee a ride up the hill, so we arrived early to try and work out transportation. We managed to get a ride in one of the last trucks heading up the hill.

Grand Canyon Rim to Rim

Before leaving Arizona I made sure to check this life list hike off of my list. The rim to rim day hike. Down Kabab trail across the Colorado and up Bright Angel, 18 miles all in one day.

The plan was to camp in the park to help get an early start, unfortunately only one loop of the campground remains open (walk ins only) through the winter so by the time we arrived Saturday night it was full. Fortunately there are national forest that offer dispersed camping just outside the park. While looking in the park wasted about 2 hours, we ended up with a nice secluded camp off FR9xx.

 We got an early start at sunrise and headed to Bright Angel Lodge. As we drove into the park we pasted deer and elk grazing in the dawn sun. The park web site insist that hikers should only use the "hiker express" from Bright Angel Lodge to Kabab Trail head, this is poor advice, the park busses run as normal and while it requires a transfer at the visitor center, any of the busses will take you. 

The trailhead was empty as we made our way directly there while other hikers took the opportunity to use the bathrooms. While the rim had a good amount of snow the snow on the trail was limited to the first few hundred yards, and the crampons quickly came off. It wasn't much longer before most of the warming layers were also shed. We managed to hike in mostly solitude, passing one group of mules on their way back up.

Back up Bright Angel started much like the down, in solitude until reaching the camp. At this point we had to share the trail with many more hikers traveling in both directions. By the time we hit the two mile stop the trail was filled with both snow and hikers. Crampons were re applies and we continues up to the lodge.

Victory beers were enjoyed at the lodge.