Well I filled out the backcountry request to hike and camp in the Grand Canyon, and after the second try we got a date in November. Four months is a long time to prepare. I had 8 people who initially wanted to go and then a few couldn't, but we found some alternates by the time the hike came in November. I packed my bag with 26 pounds of gear, food and water, hoping to have brought the right things!
A couple friends decided they wanted to be our drivers so we could have a ride back out after we finished. They hiked a couple miles down with us and then we saw them again two days later.
For November, the weather was amazing! I didn't even use all of my warm clothes. At Phantom Ranch it reached 80 degrees! The first day we hiked 6.8 miles down to Cottonwood Campground. It was a lot of downhill. I have never been to the north rim of the Grand Canyon that I remember, and it was beautiful! We passed many trail runners that were running rim to rim to rim, 48 miles. As they passed, I was so happy we were backpacking!
We were very happy to find out that the water was open everywhere along the way. We were warned that it may be turned off because of the weather and winter approaching. That really lightened our load.
The second day we hiked 7.2 miles and added the Rainbow Falls trail (1 mile) so we could see this amazing waterfall! We totally recommend it!
We camped at Bright Angel Campground the second night, which is right next to Phantom Ranch. We ventured out and saw the bridge going up the Kaibab Trail and some historical sites before we settled for the night.
The last day was a lot of uphill. We went 9.2 miles up the Bright Angel trail and passed through Indian Gardens (which was beautiful!) and up to 3 mile, 1.5 mile and then to the top. It was a slow and steady climb for me. We weren't willing to rest long since our bodies tightened up so we would pause and keep moving! We all reached the top! We couldn't have asked for a better trip. Aside from a few blisters, we didn't have any accidents or gear problems.
Amazingly enough, I would love to do this hike again. I'd love to bring my kids, now that I've scoped it out, so they can be part of the majesty of the Grand Canyon!