There are 3 popular trails that bring hikers down into the canyon – South Kaibab and Bright Angel from the South Rim, and North Kaibab from the North Rim. People will attempt rim-2-rim by hiking down North Kaibab, stay overnight within the canyon and hike up either Bright Angel or South Kaibab. For day hikers, the park advises against hiking all the way down to the river and back up in a day due to extreme heat within the canyon. The furthest they recommend going down to is Roaring Springs which is 4.7 miles from the rim (the entire North Kaibab trail is 14 miles in length). My initial plan was to hike to Roaring Springs, but because I wanted to be back at the trailhead before 10AM to avoid the heat, I ended up cutting my hike down to 3.8 miles each way.
Again, Joe went at his pace because of his injured ankle, and I took off trying to gain as much distance as I could.
Key to enjoying this day hike is to start early to take advantage of the cooler temperature and shade. Later in the day also means more mule piss and poo, making the first 2 miles smell like a petting zoo. Make sure to bring tons of water. I had 3 Liters of water with me, and was really sucking it down on my way up. Hiking poles help absorb the shock on the knees on the way down – miss those days when I could take my knees for granted.
We made it back to the lodge for a quick shower before check out, and then it was a 4 and a half hour drive to Las Vegas.