Grand Canyon: (and the importance of calling a backpacking trip when your partner gets sick)
I spent two days in the grand canyon in mid September. Didn't have too much time with the long drive, but got some great hikes and pictures :] Conditions were actually perfect - not too hot on the rim, high of 75. Got pretty toasty inside with a high around 90 by the river, but not too bad. I stayed in Mather campground which is a really nice place to stay if anyone if looking for a campsite really close to the canyon. Lows at night were around 30 degrees. My friend and I were planning on backpacking down to the river and back up for a mild two day trip. We left at four am from our campsite and caught the first shuttle to the trailhead. We hiked down South Kaibob to skeleton ridge, but at that point my poor backpacking partner got really sick and we made the call to turn around. Since we started early, the hike back up was not too hot and the trail was exceptionally beautiful at sunrise the entire way. Unfortunately, my friend really looked bad so I carried both our packs back up and was totally spent by the time we made it back. She recovered fairly quickly and later that night we went down Bright Angel for a sunset hike. If you are backpacking here I highly recommend planning on spending the night at Indian Creek or Phantom Lodge - just make sure you grab a permit ahead of time. They are pretty expensive (26 a night), but essentially a donation to search and rescue. There are a million signs everywhere that say not to hike down South Kaibob and up Bright Angel in one day, but it seems totally possible (about 15-16 miles) if you time it not to hike between ten AM and four PM when the sun is harsh and temps are high. If you do the day hike you do not need a permit, but you will feel the wrath of the rangers. I highly recommend everyone who visits this beautiful place does at least one sunrise hike! They were the best parts of my trip!