I remember the cowboy guides who worked in the desert carried these tools on their belts - sort of pliar/tweezer thing - for pulling the cactus needles out of the tourists.<quoted text>
Yep, the north rim is closed in the winter. Or used to be. Havent been around there for at least 10 years. On the south rim they have this parking shuttle and tram thing that wasnt around when I used to go. I used to park near the actual rim.
I have seen many people "rescued" by rangers because they werent up to it. Going down is the hardest on the knees. The other issue is water - people dont understand how much they need during the hot season. Gallons, not pints.
Once, during a windy snow storm, wearing a backback, I almost toppled over a ledge. Nowadays I doubt my knees would take the hike. The beauty of youth!
There is always the option of riding a mule down too. Sucks to hike in back of them, but they are (or used to be) confined to certain trails.
Don't know if you've ever been downhill/alpine skiing. Many novices go down the wrong trail/get in over their heads and freak out. Some of them need to be rescued by the Ski Patrol.