A couple months ago, I was presented with an opportunity to join a group of five guys in a hike to the bottom of the
Grand Canyon in early May.
Who could pass that up?
The story in photos:
(Hint: Click on the first photo, and navigate through)
Early start in snow!
Donner party of six?
Over the rim we go…
Definitely a wet trail heading down the canyon wall.
Within a couple of miles of descending, the snow started tapering off.
Lucky for us, it didn’t really rain much the rest of the 7.3 mile hike to our campsite.
See the rafters down below?
Black Bridge. We used this one to cross over to the north side of the Colorado River.
Our campsite, one of many near Phantom Ranch
Went on a 13 mile day hike the next day. This is looking back at the South Rim, from where we came.
Our goal for the day hike? Ribbon Falls. Along the way, we were treated to many great views in the box canyon and then up towards the North Rim.
Another shot back at the south rim, and a constant reminder of what would have to be climbed the next day.
Ribbon falls is spectacular, and by itself made the entire trip worthwhile. Of course, there were at least five other reasons too.
Photos don’t do it justice. Suffice to say, I believe the falls made my top 10-15 list of most beautiful views.
According to my map, this is the lower of the three sets of falls: Ribbon Falls, Upper Ribbon Falls, and Upper Upper Ribbon Falls. It appears it starts from a spring.
Heading back to Phantom Ranch.
Looking over the Ranger Station towards the South Rim.
Another 5a breakfast at the Ranch to fuel up for the ~9.5 mile hike back to the South Rim. Then over the Silver Bridge to the south side.
Indian Gardens is about 1/2 way, and this was where the crowds of people started to increase. Although, the numbers didn’t get annoying until about the two-mile-out mark.
Looking back down at Indian Gardens
Yes, we’re going up there.
The tunnel near the top.
We recognized what she was saying: Go get some ice cream.
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We timed our adventure well. The weather, sunny with a high of 61 degrees and a light breeze, was perfect. The scenery was spectacular, and changed in color and intensity as the sun shifted throughout the day, and — best of all — crowds were low. We crossed paths with only about 75 other hikers and a couple dozen mules on this early November Sunday.
Mule train! See ’em coming up the trail?
Step aside, human. Step aside. We gots work to do.
There were other critters on the trail too. This guy wanted food, and took a hopeful taste of Tim’s proffered hiking pole, but skittered off looking more than a little disappointed, and like he might have been planning our untimely demise.
I was apprehensive about attempting a hike in which the up comes
after the down, and rightfully so. It’s a tough way to end a hike! All the tips we read said to plan twice as much time to ascend as to descend, but at my slow and steady pace, I spent the same amount of time on each.
We started at the South Kaibab Trailhead, hiked down about 2000 feet in elevation over 3 miles to Skeleton Point, and then back up — which felt more like 5,000 feet in elevation over 8 miles. Took us 2 hours each way.
We laughed mighty hard at the “Puking Guy” sign near the start of our descent. On the way back up? Not funny. Not funny at all.
We always look so happy and clean at the start of a hike. By the time we’re finished, we’re both filthy, soaking wet and stinky, plus I’m crabby as hell because my body doesn’t handle depletion well. You’ve heard of a mean drunk? Well I’m a mean hiker. When I growl, “Stop talking to me,” Tim knows that’s his cue to put about half a mile between us.
We started out just after 10 a.m., and watched the sun come over the canyon walls on our way down.
We looked down at this set of switchbacks, wondering just how much they were gonna hurt on the way back up. Answer: lots. Sore knees, achy hips, trembling legs, and one torn calf muscle (Tim’s) are now on the mend.
One mile down: Ooooooohhh. Aaaaaaahhhhh.
Three miles down: time to eat lunch before we turn into skeletons! I bet that’s why they named it that.
Picnic lunch for two, with a view
Glad I did it, but wow, once was enough for me. Tim, meanwhile, got the itch to add a rim-to-rim hike to his bucket list. Guess I’ll serve as the support chick when the time comes, and pick him up when he gets to the other side! Like this: Like Loading...