The killer combination of dry heat, relentless sun, infrequent water sources, and steep terrain makes dehydration and heat-related illness all too common in the Grand. Here’s how to stay safe:
Water You’ll need to carry a gallon of water per person per day. MSR Dromedary bags come in four sizes, the nylon outer resists punctures, and the cap screws on tight to prevent accidental leakage—even under pressure. A hard rubber collar around the opening makes it easy to hold while filling. Attach the Hydration Kit ($20) hose to the reservoir to keep water at hand and encourage constant sipping. $35; 6.9 oz. (for the four-liter); msrcorp.com
Back up Pack two hard-sided one-liter bottles and store them inside your pack to keep water cooler.
Timing Start early (6 a.m.) and rest frequently. Avoid hiking between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., the hottest part of the day.
Danger Feeling flushed? The early stages of heat-related illness include cramps, fatigue, and muscle pain. Apply cool water to the neck, armpits, and inner thighs (where the carotid, brachial, and femoral arteries approach the skin’s surface), and fan to facilitate evaporative cooling.
Cave of the Domes
An estimated 1,000 caves pock the Grand Canyon’s Redwall, but only one is open to recreational use. Spend a cool afternoon in Cave of the Domes, accessed via the precipitous Trail-of-the-Caves Trail, near the ruined cookhouse at mile 2.8. Crawl inside, and explore the cave’s many rooms, rough walls, stone pillars, and 10-plus-foot-high, domed ceilings with inscriptions dating back more than 100 years. If you plan to explore the cave, carry a headlamp, backup flashlight, and extra batteries. Some spelunkers unspool rope to avoid becoming lost. inside.
Pete Berry’s Last Chance copper mine thrived at the turn of the 20th century. In 1893, Berry constructed the Grandview Trail—loosely following an old Native American route—to get supplies in and ore out, with heavily laden mules traveling the steep path daily. Hikers still use the cobblestone paths and original log “cribs” that support the steep cliffside switchbacks, all of which Berry and his workers built by hand. When mining became unprofitable, Berry built the two-story Grandview Hotel, and mules carried visitors instead of ore. Around the mine ruins, find chips of blue ore that Native Americans used to make dye.