In no particular order, here are my thoughts regarding my Grand Canyon hike:
1 - We rented camping gear from REI in Phoenix. Good stuff at a fair price. It took a bit longer to get checked out than I thought it should, but my view was certainly impacted by my anxiousness to get out of there so we could get to the Grand Canyon.
2 - Maswik Lodge was basic, clean, comfortable and a good value for the $90 price.
3 - Watching the colors of the canyon change before your eyes from the South Rim as the sun sets was alone worth the trip.
4 - The 7 mile hike down the South Kaibab trail was incredible. A 6:30 AM departure, with the sun rising over the horizon provided for incredible colors that changed by the minute. As advertised, this trail was very steep. It is not one that I would want to hike from the floor up to the rim. During our leisurely four hour hike to the bottom, we only encountered about 20 people. A great hike indeed.
5 - I was very impressed with Bright Angel campground and Phantom Ranch. Both were well cared for and efficiently run operations. Our three Phantom Ranch meals, while first thought to be a bit pricey at $42 for a steak dinner, $20 breakfast and a $12 box lunch, were fabulous. Good food, hot or cold as appropriate, served family style (read that multiple servings on everything except the steak), and served by a hustling waitress with a great attitude. Kudos to the Phantom Ranch food service, I highly recommend it.
6 - It is a shame that campfires are not allowed on the canyon floor. Mind you, I'm not complaining about it. I do understand why that is the case, but it would have been great to have a fire to sit around, resting one's tired legs, while listening to the water from the nearby stream while recapping the day's events. Even without a campfire, it was still a very good camping experience.
7 - The hike back up to the rim via the Bright Angel trail was wonderful. We probably encountered 100+ hikers along the way. There were about a half-dozen mule trains sharing the path, as well. Having drinking water provided at two rest stops along the way was great. Not having to pack enough water for the entire trip helped lighten the load (my pack weighed 40 lbs as it was). The hike out of the canyon took us 8.5 hours.
8 - The weather was perfect the entire two days. There were just a few patches of snow near the rim. The temp was in the low 30s when we started the hike, but quickly climbed to a very comfortable mid-60s. The overnight low when camping was perfect at 50 degrees. On the hike out the temperature climbed to the 60s, but dropped once we got closer to the rim. Dressing in layers is certainly the way to go.
9 - The Grand Canyon is awesome. Hiking to the bottom via the South Kaibab trail, spending a night at Bright Angel campground, and hiking back out the following day on the Bright Angel trail is something that I very highly recommend. It was a great experience.