It was only on the return trip where I stayed on the real trail ( and didn't even notice where the point of convergence was) that I realized what I had done, Oh well, so it ended up being a two stemmed loop hike.
The real trail had a very clear tread( excepting a couple places where I lost it briefly) and was blazed. Most of the downfall had been sawed and cleared. It was also more typically steeply up and down as it tried to stay close to the rim and its natural undulations. It was also far more shady which was a mercy to my hot, black Scotties who overworked themselves in the very first steep climb through the shade-less burnt country, that is slowly recovering with a lush, but low still, growth of gambel oak and locust.
After that they were two panting machines, so there was a lot resting where we could find shade and lots of water guzzling as well. It never go above 70 degrees but the sun at high elevation can make it feel like 90. Frequently getting tangled in the routes through and around the downfall on the trail that wasn't didn't help with our progress or my overall disposition.
Needless to say the back leg of the walk consumed about a half hour less time, even with lunch and even more frequent resting included.
Highlight were the views from the rim ( of course ), but also a nice little hollow with many maple trees down in Bridge Canyon, which I now have plans to revisit come October.
I have now completed my section hike of the Rim Trail. I started hiking it many years ago, but I really only came up with the notion of seeing the whole thing in the last 4 or 5 years. Doing it this way with out and back hikes amounts to doing twice and seeing it from both directions which has some benefits. One might be better off just doing two or three shuttle hikes. Backpacking would be little hard because there is virtually no water along any of the route unless there is still snow on the ground.