Friday, July 2, 2010

Grand Canyon rim-to-rim backpacking trip ~ Day 3, Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon, Arizona

This picture is Brad at 2am on the day we hiked out of the Grand Canyon – the white on top is his headlamp, and the diffused light in the lower half is a flashlight. Why did we start our day at 2am? Well, if you’ve been reading all along – it was HOT! We really wanted to be out of the canyon by noon, before the heat of the day, and we figured at about 1 – 1 ½ miles per hour, we should start around 3am. However, we didn’t get started until 3:45am because it took so long for us to get everything packed up at the duffle station. Still, we were amazed that it was hot at that time of day/night.

It was interesting to hike in the dark, especially walking over the Colorado River on the Silver Bridge and not seeing anything but a 2 square foot space in front of you. This is what it would have looked like had the sun been up:
It was pretty cool to hike in the dark, then as dawn approached to see Grand Canyon bathed in early morning light – very difficult to catch on film, but we tried.

We even saw another deer looking for food - the environment just doesn't seem that hospitable:

At 7:30am we arrived at Indian Garden, the half-way point, where we cooked a breakfast/lunch and refueled for the rest of the hike. Indian Garden has a campground and some nice day hikes (one, especially, to Plateau Point which is said to have the best views of the inner canyon), so its another place to stay under the rim. We were a bit bummed that we didn’t plan an extra night and stay here, but there’s always another time. :-)

We left Indian Garden at 8:15 with 4.9 miles and most of the elevation to go. However, one thing stopped us in our tracks ~ rattlesnake! Yes, just along side the trail, coiled and hanging out watching hikers pass by was a beautiful rattler.

As we hiked along, we climbed through some switchbacks called Jacob’s Ladder

and just after, we saw some cool rock art.

There were a couple more stops, one at 3-mile rest house, where there’s water and restrooms, another at 1 ½ mile rest house, again where there is water and restrooms – both nice day hikes from the south rim, and as we hiked up more switchbacks, through the second tunnel, we could see the exit, but alas, we were at what’s called “heartbreak hill” and there’s still a bit to go. So past the first tunnel (where there is some more rock art), we kept walking until finally ~ the south rim (9.6 miles, 4400' elevation gain)!
Here we are at the end of the hike~
But we're not done with the story yet.........

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