We went all the way down and back up in one day, which is highly discouraged by the park service. Despite all of our planning and preparation, we still ended up exhausted and overheated. We hiked from 7:30 am until 9 pm, with the last mile up being in the dark. For the next two days, my legs were so sore that I was hobbling about. Fortunately, neither of us ended up seriously injured, but I don't think that I would attempt a one-day hike again.
This is the start of the South Kaibab Trail:
South Kaibab Trail is very steep and without water, but fortunately a good portion of it was in the shade at the start.
Finally, we reached the river:
This is my proof that I went all the way:
This is near Bright Angel Campground, where we stopped to take advantage of the water supply, working toilet (!), and grab a quick lunch:
Desert squirrels are a little more scruffy looking than the beasts back home:
Taken along the Bright Angel Trail on the way up:
A small group of deer crossed our path. I guess we must not have looked very threatening by that point.
Final shots during sunset:
Although I was concerned about hiking in the heat of the day, there wasn't much we could do about it besides taking frequent short breaks. I couldn't really get heat conditioned either as it was simply too cool outside back home. What I didn't account for was hiking though that big of an elevation change. We were so exhausted by the end that breathing was labored, and we had to stop every hundred yards or so to catch our breaths.
It took us 4.5 hours to get to the bottom, where we rested for 30 minutes before our 8.5 hour hike out. The hike down was about 6 miles, with a mile crossing at the river, and a more gradual 9 mile hike out. We definitely underestimated the hike though, as it was way above our fitness level. Believe it or not, on the way up, there were actually a small group of men running up the canyon!
Best of all, "The Phoenix" and I are still friends and on speaking terms after this adventure.