While at the Miswak lodge the director of sustainability mentioned that the average visitor spends something like 17 minutes at the Grand Canyon which represents a longer period than the time Clark Griswold spends looking at the Canyon in the film “Vacation” but still a somewhat ridiculous amount of time.
Smart groups head down the less traveled Kaibab Trail without much traffic. On this trail, hikers headed to the Phantom will typically run into hikers who only planned on heading down a mile or so. Que lastima for those who spot at the one mile mark. They would miss the wildlife that we spotted (deer, ring-tailed cats, bats), as well a magnificent Canyon highlights. A fast 5-6 hours later, a typical group can saunter their way into one of the limited (reserve far in advance) 10-person cabins at the Phantom Ranch.
Although it may be difficult to get a straight explanation of the origin of the name, most can appreciate the various elements that the ranch did to make things more environmentally friendly. Not just the recycling and energy waste prevention but the educational evening discussions including one about the bats and their delicate balance with the environment and their misunderstanding with most of the human world.
Although striving to create a more sustainable environment, the fact that Phantom Ranch bathrooms contained these Rain Flurries caused some consternation. One of hikers – a green thinking attorney (yes, they do exist) mentioned looked that these showerheads looked like giant sunflowers. Although some hikers enjoyed free flowing warm water after a pair of lengthy day hikes (get to that soon) these showerheads certainly don’t tow the party line as far as water conservation. It’s hard to imagine how much water they use or why they even exist in the shower rooms where the ranch continues to make green strides.
Speaking of strides, some of the better hikes to consider include the Clear Creek Trail, which for a 3/4 mile hike from the junction offers killer views directly down onto Phantom Ranch and the Bright Angel Creek drainage. However, keep the momentum going a few miles further to another overlook, which offers views of both the Black Bridge of the South Kaibab Trail and the Silver Bridge of the Bright Angel Trail along with a long stretch of the Colorado River and the Inner Gorge. Some of the rock formations (especially around sunrise or sunset) not only make for super photos but offer near moments of Zen, something that everyone seeks for all eco-trips.