Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bright Angel Trail

Thursday, June 18th, we went hiking in the Grand Canyon. We left at 8:30 AM, when it was still cold outside. The employee in the General Store informed us that this was a late start. An early start would have been 4:00 AM. No thanks, I'll pass.
We passed a few groups of donkeys on the hike down. Some of them were carrying passengers, others just tools and supplies. Even though we only passed two groups of them, we encountered evidence of their presence the entire trail down. Yuck!Bright Angel Trail leads all the way to Colorado River. There are signs everywhere that warn against hiking all the way down to the river and back in one day. It is a 4.5 mile one-way hike to Indian Garden. This is the group of green trees that you see in the middle of the canyon. A stream runs along this section creating an oasis. It's another 3.1 miles beyond the garden to the river.

There were quite a few people on the first two miles of the trail. After that, we saw fewer and fewer people.

The temperature jumped during the afternoon hours and we were certainly feeling the heat! There were three stops along the way, about every 1.5 miles, where we could refill our water bottles.

We took a break in Indian Garden and loaded up on the protein for lunch.These squirrels may look cute, but they were rather frightening little creatures. These guys were not intimidated by people and kept running right up to us as we were trying to eat lunch. They wouldn't even scatter when we tried to scare them away. Finally, they caused us to hurry up and finish our lunch and put away the food because I really thought they were going to pounce on us to get to the food.
Feeling energized after lunch, we hiked another 1.5 miles toward the river. It started to get a bit creepy because it really felt like we were stuck out in the middle of nowhere completely on our own!
Six miles into the hike, it was time to turn around. The hardest part was yet to come since the hike had all been downhill until this point.
This hike was a test of endurance, except there was really no choice but to finish. What goes down must come up and the only way out is at the top! This is my, "I am exhausted and sweaty, why are we taking a picture?" look. Nice.

At one point, I really thought we were almost to the top. We turned a corner and this is what I saw. Pretty, but not good news when you want to be at the top!
And finally, 8.5 hours and 12 miles later....our "I conquered the Grand Canyon" picture!
I have never enjoyed a $2.00 8 minute shower more! I was just glad that they had showers and a laundromat. I was thrilled to find a piece of civilization....Wi-Fi in the Canyon Cafe. I spent a couple of hours there after our hike getting my $2.00 worth of Diet Coke and refills while updating the blog on our laptop.

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