Our goal for the day: Hike Bright Angel trail
Last night, we made our plan: either hike 3 miles in or go the 4.5 miles to Indian Gardens. Leave about 8am so the hot sun would not affect us immediately. We easily had water for six miles; hoped maybe we could push it to nine miles and get to the Indian Gardens. But there was not likely a spot to refill our bottles (and they don’t sell bottled water at the Grand Canyon, it is refill only). The guide suggested it was 4-6 hours to hike 3 miles down. And plan 6-9 hours for Indian Gardens. So we’d play it by ear.
With the temperature at a cool 17 when I woke at 6:30am, I immediately decided we would not leave until it had warmed up to 38. Good thing, Bailie was very, very sleepy even at 8 am. We finally made it to the trailhead (just steps from our cabin) a few minutes after 9am. The air had warmed up to 39!
We started our descent. It was fast. And dusty. And the edge was often close. And the view was always amazing. I fell behind many, many times stopping to capture the moment in pixels. We stopped for a rest around the first hour down for a snack as we were good at sipping water along the way. The downward pace was already felt in some muscle groups for both of us. We continued down to the next rest point where we met the pack mules coming up. As we rested and refueled;
- We admired the dirty red film on our shoes and legs.
- Bailie teased a squirrel with her cough drop – accidentally
- The squirrel got Bailie back as he stared her down from the top of the view-point she reluctantly climbed (I forced a photo shoot)
- And we decided since there was not option to refill our water bottles, and our knees and ankles were feeling the toll of the descendent, it was smart to read the postings “you can choose to go down further, but remember you must go back up”.
So we headed back towards the rim – a ,2120 feet incline. And Bailie took it in stride. I put the camera away to focus on keeping up. But that didn’t make a difference. That swimmer stamina made me look 100% out of shape. Luckily, there was another family on the same ascend schedule and their youngest was also moving at a fast pace. So they stuck together, waiting for the two of us Mom’s every few switchbacks. The other brother and Dad took their own pace behind us. Although most of the trail out, I dropped into the fourth spot, the last few switchbacks the four of us hung together making it back to the rim right at 1pm. Bailie showed up the guide by beating the four hours for the six miles! This meant it was time to celebrate with ice cream (for lunch)!
We finished up the afternoon people watching at the rim and splurging at the Tovar for dinner. Thankfully, dinner was an improvement over the previous night. Other than the French onion soup, I admit we won’t rush to dine there again. The view was amazing – as we sat right at the windows. The night finished with more people watching, of course!