Yes, much of the Grand Canyon is over-commercialized and cheesy. The Phantom Ranch, however, remains legit. After all, any lodging that can be accessed only by foot or mule won't exactly attract the RV crowd or busloads of Japanese tourists. The group of rustic, wood-and-stone cabins (which were completed in 1922) remains the only lodging below the Canyon's rim, and staying the night is a good way to get a fresh look at one of America's most authentic features. There's also a canteen nearby that provides travelers with breakfast, lunch and steak dinners. The food is pricey, but you can probably empathize. Like you, it was all carried down the canyon by foot or mule.
Rate: $36 per night.