All in all, this hike went pretty well. We had several downed trees to get past on the drive out to Swamp Point. Bob had some hydration and heat related issues on Day 3, but recovered nicely. Tom's boot repairs held up well and I'd say he got his money's worth out of those boots. Due to those last two issues, none of us got to do as much exploring as we wanted, but everyone seemed pleased with the hike overall.
Be sure you have directions for getting to the trailhead before starting out. Depending on the weather and how recently the Park Service has worked on the Swamp Ridge road, you may need a high clearance vehicle and/or four-wheel drive. Never discount the possibility that there can be downed trees across the road.
Most people consider Nankoweap and North Bass to be the two toughest named trails in the Canyon. Having now done both of them, my thoughts on which of these two trails is the toughest are:
Exposure. The exposure on these two trails is at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Water Availability. Water availability is also vastly different on the two trails.
Trailhead Access. Trailhead access can be tough for both these trails.
Overall Toughness. Trying to judge which of these two trails is tougher overall is a very subjective thing, but my vote goes to North Bass.
Numerous critters such as mice, ravens, squirrels, and ringtails are a threat to attack your food in the inner Canyon. For many years, there were two widely used defenses against critter attack: the Ratsack Cache bag, a mesh, stainless steel bag, which came in three sizes, and the Ursack, a bag made with a Spectra material. I bought both, but preferred the Ratsack because it was larger, cheaper, and had a superior Velcro closure system. Even though the Ratsack company website is still active and will accept your money, most people now indicate they never received their order, their money was never returned, and they could not get the company to return a phone call. Due to the widely reported difficulties and lack of response from the Ratsack company, that product is no longer carried by the General Store in Grand Canyon Village. Two new products have recently come forward to fill the void: the Outsak and the Foodsack. Both are similar in design to the Ratsack and utilize a mesh stainless steel bag with a Velcro closure system. The Outsak is a lighter duty version and some people report that animals were able to penetrate it. The Foodsack is the heavy duty version and appears to be bullet-proof, so it is the product that I recommend. I have and use the Foodsack.