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The Autism Initiative At Mercyhurst University (A.I.M.) & iConquer Adventures

Raise The Roof For Autism's
Conquer The Canyon & Northern Arizona Adventure

May 18 - 23, 2020

The Sonoran Desert, Sedona Red Rocks, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Casa Malpais, Sunset Crater, Waputki National Monument & More!


Trail Condition: Inclines to flat. Well defined. Shade along trail. Most of the trail is paved and some sections are accessible. Excellent walking and hiking for quiet views of the inner canyon. This hike has minimal elevation change.


West of Bright Angel Lodge, the Rim Trail narrows and climbs the Bright Angel Fault to viewpoints along Hermit Road. Between Powell Point and Monument Creek Vista the trail is a three foot wide dirt trail. The section of the Rim Trail between Monument Creek Vista and Hermits Rest is also known as the Hermit Road Greenway Trail.


We'll take the National Park Shuttle out to Hermits Rest where there is a small cafe and toilets. After a brief stop we'll venture a short distance down the Hermit Trail to a special historical and geological feature and to take in the spectacular west canyon views.


From here, we'll shuttle to The Abyss which is where our hike begins. Much of this path is open and exposed to some of the most spectacular views in all of Grand Canyon. We'll take our time as we navigate the 5 or so miles until we make it to the Bright Angel Trailhead. For those of you who want a bit more, we'll hike down just past the first tunnel to see the wide open canyon below and the historic Kolb Studio and El Tovar Lodge above.


There are numerous overlooks and viewpoints along the trail, and there are also several National Park Shuttle Bus stops along the way. 


Your leaders:


Our hike will be led by Alex Tufail and his faithful sidekick, Nolan Burman. Both are Wilderness First Responders because your safety is our highest priority. They are also fairly knowledgeable about Grand Canyon and a lot of fun to hike with. Of course, Brad, Aimee and Paulina will be with you every step of the way. 















Your Itinerary At A Glance


May 14 - Phoenix - Arrive with Brad and Amiee. Pizza and soft drinks after a long days travel.  Overnight - Hampton Inn, Phoenix.

May 15 - Phoenix - Sedona - Grand Canyon. - First, we'll make a quick visit to Montezuma's Castle. Then we'll pick up our picnic lunches and head to Red Rock State Park. Casual picnic lunch, self-guided hikes and walks in the Park. We'll host an introductory visit to the rim of Grand Canyon and this evening we'll host a protein and carbo rich buffet to get you ready for Hike Day! Overnight, Mazwik Lodge (B, D)

May 16 - Hike Day! See above. Tonight, it's Playa Bonita for a Mexican Feast. Overnight, Mazwik Lodge (B,L,D)

May 17 - Northern Arizona Sites and Williams! - "We are staying on historic Route 66"! Meet the Mayor - Special Barbeque! Overnight Williams, AZ. (B, D)

May 18 - Sedona - Overnight Sedona, The Green Tree Inn. (B)

May 19 - Sedona - Phoenix. Depart For Home or Points Beyond. (B)


*Itinerary: Please note that the details of this itinerary are subject to change. Many of the planned activities are organized according to availability, events or seasonal dates, appropriate weather conditions or the discretion of our guides. We make every effort to provide the experience described in the itinerary with the understanding that some things may change.

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Water - There is NO WATER available on the South Rim Trail except at the very beginning and the end. You will need at least 2 liters of water to do the entire Rim Trail hike. Allow extra space in your day pack for even an extra liter of water, depending upon temperature.


Boots - They are required for the rim trail. Please note that much of the rim trail is a dirt path that leads close to the Canyon. There is a paved sidewalk that parallels much, but not all of the main trail. 


Rock outcroppings - At spots along the trail, there are large rocks that can hang over the trail. Please pay attention and look up whenever you are around them. It is easy to hit your head if you are not careful.

When you are moving your feet, look up.

When you look down, stop moving.



The reservation is under iConquer & The Walking Connection.  The rooms are paid in full. Each room may require a credit card authorization for incidentals.


From this point on, The Walking Connection staff and A.I.M. Leaders will be with you every step of the way! We will provide you with an itinerary upon your arrival.




Helpful Packing Hints


  • Please pack lightly. Bring what you need, use what you bring. We have a tight configuration for luggage so please leave the oversized bags at home. Carry on size is preferred and soft-sided duffles appreciated.

  • Dress for the entire trip is wilderness casual.

  • If you are bringing hiking poles, you will probably need to pack them with checked luggage. 

  • Wear your hiking boots on the plane coming to Arizona. If you pack and check them in and the airline loses your luggage, your boots will be difficult to replace in time for the hike.



Specialty Foods, Snacks, Etc.


Energy Bars, Specialty Foods. If you have specialty drinks, electrolytes, energy bars, etc. you prefer please bring them with you. NOTE: There is a Walmart Store within walking distance of the hotel should you wish to purchase anything on the day of your arrival. There is also a convenience store in the area in Sedona where we will be having lunch. Grand Canyon Lodge has a gift shop and store but selection is limited and prices high. 


Mobile Phone Coverage at Grand Canyon can be spotty. WiFi is available in the main reception area of the lodge. (Due to our remote location, our WiFi has limited bandwidth and is not ideal for downloading, streaming, Skype, etc.)


Estimated Travel Times:


Phoenix  > Rest stop (1.5 hours) > Sedona -  (.75 hour).

Sedona to Flagstaff  Rest stop  (1 hour) .

Flagstaff > Valle Rest stop (1 hour) > Grand Canyon (.75 hour).


Grand Canyon to Flagstaff > 1.25 hours

Flagstaff - Camp Verde - 1.25 hours

Camp Verde - Airport -  1.5 hours


Our Adventures On The Trail


As a team member, you will want to join your fellow participants and our guides in becoming "stewards" of the trail. The areas where we are hiking are some of the greatest natural and historical wonders of the world. It is up to all of us to protect and respect them. We must become benefactors of these places and our personal legacy must be to leave them better than we found them! Please, take only pictures and fond memories. Leave only footprints!


This is a coordinated and managed team adventure. We can assure you that going with the flow as led by your guides will make your experience the best and safest it can be. Bring your sense of adventure with you, leave any "hurry up" attitude behind.


Recipes For Success


Terminus  Points - The Walking Connection, iConquer and Conquer The Canyon have established firm terminus points or destinations on each trail we utilize. Our guides will not exceed these points for any person for any reason. Please do not even ask. When you agree to hike with iConquer and Conquer The Canyon, you are agreeing to abide by these established rules and terminus points.                


Stay on the Trail!  - DO NOT cut across or shortcut switchbacks. It is dangerous, disruptive and destructive to the landscape.


Uphill has the right of way. Hikers going uphill have the right of way. They are working harder! You'll appreciate this when it is YOU!


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