What's there to say about Phantom Ranch that hasn't already been repeated a hundred times? Well, having just returned from an overnight stay as part of the mule trip, here'e a few questions I had going in...
Q: Are the cabins comfortable?
A: As a single, I was given a small cabin with a queen-sized bed, private toilet, a round table to sit at, and a table by the bed with a lamp and alarm clock. It was air-conditioned and very comfortable. Granted, I would probably slept like a baby on a rock but the bed was comfortable and the linens clean. No hot water though as I learned when I went to shave!
Q: What about cellular and WiFI?
A: Seriously, you're 5,000 feet below the rim and totally out of site from the rims so what do you think! The staff does have a phone for their use. A single pay phone (collect and calling cards only) is available for your use. My wife appreciated the call. We'll see what the bill is!
Q: Are the scorpions dangerous?
A: Technically yes. Our guide was stung on the finger opening a box and it was numb for most of the next day. I never saw any and for the average person I doubt they're a real hazard.
Q: What can I buy at the Canteen?
A: Very limited options. Long and short - sleeved t-shirts in vacuum-packed packages (great for hikes and mud rider like me with a very limited amount of room for personal gear). Ball caps - one style, patches, pins as well as post cards with stamps (75 cents for the card, 49 cents to mail). Everything was expensive as you might expect - ball caps for $19.99, t-shirts $23.99 and $28.99, bandana $7.99. I rated the food value rather high taking into account the transportation costs!
Q: I don't want to pack all my gear. Any way to get it up and down?
A: Duffels are available for $68.30 with a weight limit of 30 pounds - they DO have a scale!
Q: Can I swim in the Colorado River?
A: You are told repeatedly NOT to swim in the river and that you risk DEATH if you do. Water temp is in 40's year round with 10 MPH currents. There is a great beach though, with sand that rivals any resort I've ever visited.
Q: Can I shower?
A: There are showers that are locked and require a room key to open. Individual stalls are available inside. There ARE separate accommodations for men and women.
Q: What can I do there?
A: My time was limited so I didn't leave the general area although there are shorter trails available to a water falls. Ranger presentations were given in the later afternoon and after dinner. The afternoon was about the California Condor and the evening was about the discovery and early explorations of the Grand Canyon. The condor one was pretty much a condemnation of hunters for killing off the condors with lead bullets but the the evening one was entertaining.
Other than that, the canteen is open at times with games and general conversation. Snacks can be purchased including the famous lemonade (save your cup, $1.00 refills after the initial $3.00 outlay). It closes around meal times. Reservations ARE required.
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