One of the craziest things about living in Arizona is the fact that you can drive the Grand Canyon, hike in and out and be back in the same day. My friend Katie decided that her Birthday Bullshit trip this year would be a Rim-Rim-Rim traverse of the canyon in October. A fair portion of this event will be taking place at night when the temps are more tolerable. In order to prepare for this she decided that a training hike was in store. So with little planning and a sense of adventure we loaded up and headed to the Grand Canyon to hike. Starting Saturday evening we planned to hike down South Kaibab Trail to the river and then back up Bright Angel Trail to catch the sunrise. Pulling an all nighter was nothing new to me, but the rest of the crew was in for some Type Two Fun for sure.
I feel a little uneasy sharing this with you. The trips location is no secret, but the place definitely ranks high on the stoke factor. World class views, no crowds, and excellent singletrack combine to form the Rainbow Rim Trail. Riding is prohibited in the Grand Canyon National Park trails (below the rim), but just a few miles North of the Northern Rim lies the Rainbow Rim Trail system. The route winds along the 7,600ft elevation terrain, dipping into old growth forest and then diving back out to the rim for expansive views of the canyon. The singletrack is fast and well groomed (most sections) and provides the rider some difficult climbs, mixed with bomber downhill.
A friend of ours (@cribboutdoors on Insta) organized a car camping and mountain biking trip to the trail last week. I don't want to give away our camping location, but I will say to think outside the box when choosing the best place to set up a basecamp. The spot he chose looked out over the canyon and was a few minutes away from one the best sunset views the canyon can offer. We hung out for the weekend riding (AKA:sucking air for us Phoenix residents) and relaxing in the high elevation temps.
Memorial Day means three days of fun in the outdoors, but the holiday also means sharing the places we love with some different recreation users. ATVs, side-by-sides, other mountain bikers, and a shit load of car campers created bumper to bumper traffic as we headed into Payson, AZ. We were uneasy as we rolled on down the highway, hoping that the trail of cars would thin, but it neglected to meet our expectations. Luckily we planned accordingly and headed farther East to a little community called Mcnary. We turned onto the dirt rolled and bumped our way into the Los Burros Campground (free) to meet our friends, who had snagged a spot. The campground was 3/4 of the way full. Oddly as the weekend went on the campground thinned out. It was a pleasant surprise, as we were expecting much worse! We spend the weekend enjoying the White Mountain Trail system on bike and on foot, and rolled as happy campers Monday Morning.