I figured it was time to bring Mountainbeering back to the US for a while. Patrick’s been hogging the spotlight over in South Korea for long enough.
If I only have one day to spend in a place, I want to do it right – with a beer in hand. That’s exactly how I decided to tackle the Grand Canyon National Park. And thanks to the delightful Grand Canyon Brewing Company found in the little town of Williams, AZ, choosing the beer to take with me wasn’t too tough: Horseshoe Bend Pale Ale. Choosing the best day hike, on the other hand, was a bit more of a challenge, simply because there are so many great hiking options. In the end, I decided to be macho and choose a hike that ranked in the double digit-mile range, which helped me narrow my choice down to Plateau Point off of the Bright Angel Trail.
As it turns out, the Bright Angel Trail is one of the more accessible and popular routes into the canyon. Even though it was a chilly, midweek day in March, there were still quite a few people who had decided to use this trailhead as their starting point for their day’s activities. Luckily for me, it was cold enough that the trail was completely iced over, which helped to weed out a few more of the less passionate hikers. Unluckily for me, since it was cold enough that the trail was iced over, I fell down… a lot. To be honest, this was one of the scarier hikes I’ve ever been on, simply because the trail was super steep and complete ice. I made a mistake by ignoring the Park’s suggestions to wear some form of traction control for the hike. I should know my lesson by this point of my life: always wear protection.
The hike itself was incredible! After the first mile or two, the ice gave way to mud, so no more slippery slopes. The views were amazing, and the other hikers were generally friendly. This was my first big canyon adventure, and let me tell you, starting your hike with a 3,000 ft decent is a strange experience. The first six miles were done in no time, then I realized that I had to turn around and go six miles back uphill. The views were spectacular!
At this point, I was torn. I was used to enjoying my beer after the toughest part of a hike – when you reach the top. But this was the exact opposite! Even though I was at my destination, it was the bottom of the hike. Luckily, cogitating on this conundrum confused me, and I decided that I needed to chill out and have a beer. Problem solved.
Plus, I had the rest of the six pack waiting for me in my truck. Good thing too, because Horseshoe Bend Pale Ale is delicious! It’s crisp with nice hops aroma, but not too bitter. I’m glad that i went t with a pale ale because even though I love a strong IPA, I’ve come to the conclusion that most IPAs tend to be too bitter for seriously strenuous Mountainbeering adventures. I couldn’t wait to hike my butt back up to the rim to enjoy another beer or two before continuing my adventures!