Monday, April 27, 2009

Grand Canyon 2009

Yes, we finally made it to the Grand Canyon! Our goal, descend South Kaibab, cross the Colorado twice, then ascend Bright Angel Trail. How did it go?

It actually started out kinda rough for me. Herb and I arrived at the parking lot in front of the lodge and grabbed our gear. When I walked up the little driveway to the bus stop, I immediately sat down. My heart was pounding, I was dizzy and generally not feeling too good. I decided just to stick it out and see what happens. Could be the altitude.... 

Our course on the map.

You got it?

Here we are at the start taking pictures of each other taking pictures of each other, taking... Well, you get the idea.

This is at the top of South Kaibab Trail. It's roughly 6.9 miles and 4700' of elevation loss down to Phantom Ranch. The view from the trail head:

There are some directions to follow in case there's an encounter with a mule train:
Spectacular views looking south:

Plenty of warnings... We didn't listen...

Herb making his way down:

Most of of South Kaibab Trail looks like this:

We still have a ways to go:Still great views:

Colorado coming into view:

About halfway down:

This phone predates twisted pair! Emergency use only!!

Mule train!

Still great views:

Colorado getting bigger!

Black Bridge coming into view. We still have a ways to go to get there.

Very close to Black Bridge!

North view from Black Bridge:

Looking south from Black Bridge:

The Colorado was flowing pretty good.

We're at the bottom!

A flat easy hike to Phantom Ranch:

We've arrived! No fanfare, and I'm very surprised at how empty Phantom Ranch is. About a dozen or so people just hanging out, the cantina is empty. Herb and I hang out for about an hour. They make great lemonade, and only change $1 for a refill! That washed down some peanut M&Ms nicely. Herb has his patented peanut butter and banana sandwich with that awesome lemonade. We hung around for about an hour, then headed out.

Great shot of the American Flag with the Grand Canyon as a backdrop:

Taking a right:

Walking around the Ranger House, we saw a sneaky deer looking for lunch. Not afraid of us at all.

Silver Bridge comes into view:

Looking south from Silver Bridge:

Looking at both bridges from Bright Angel Trail:

Colorado is really flowing from the north:

Another way to see the Grand Canyon:

There were more than a few waterfalls on this trip.

You can see the force of this waterfall, look at the center of the photo. The water was flowing hard enough to create a mist.

We've started our ascent on the Bright Angel Trail. We just hiked the trail in the photo below. We've only covered about 2 miles of the Bright Angel.

The Bright Angel looks mostly like this:

Another waterfall, the tallest one:

Our arrival at Indian Garden:

Indian Garden is about 4.6 miles down from the trail head. First stop on the ascent that has water, great place to rest. It's not going to get any easier. Some additional views:

That's about it for the views on Bright Angel. From here, it's a hard grind all the way to the top. It's best to break up this trail into pieces. From here, just concentrate on getting to the 3 Mile Resthouse. It's going to be a climb. Herb still smiling! Bright Angel continues deep into the foreground.

The thing about the Bright Angel Trail is the canyon walls:

Spectacular views looking back down at Indian Garden:

Yes, we hiked the trails you see in the above photos. I didn't get any photos of the 3 and 1.5 mile Resthouses. By this point, I'm getting a bit hammered. The trail really pitches up once we left 3 mile Resthouse. We really start to see some carnage on the trail. We can't tell who's hiked up from Phantom Ranch, or who's just hiked down from the trailhead. Some folks are really bad, we hope they make it. Herb and I push on. This is the first time I've used hiking poles, and they really make it easier to climb. The motion is much like cross country skiing, get in a rhythm, push off with arms opposite legs and up you go! Once leaving 1.5 mile Resthouse, it's only - wait for it - 1.5 miles to the top! It's still a VERY TOUGH 1.5 miles. With about a mile to go, we can finally see the top, the building with KOLB Radio:

An attempt to get all of Bright Angel into a shot:

That little green squiggle in the middle of the photo is Indian Garden. Bright Angel is more visible in the lower right corner. Awesome view near the top of Bright Angel:

After five and a half hours of hiking uphill, we've reached the top!

Getting to the car proved a challenge. Herb demonstrates the reverse Grand Canyon shuffle:

I never thought a 95 Camry would look soooo good!

So, this brings us to a close for Grand Canyon 2009! The only negative with this trip was the severe wind. At times, I needed to lean 30 degrees into the wind so I didn't get blown over! It really whipped up the dust in the canyon.

The photos above are not all the photos I took during this trip. You can see all the photos here.