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Day 5

Finally, a day without driving! We woke early - 7 am - but not early enough for me to shoot the canyon at Sunrise. Our plan was to walk down to the Bright Angle Trail to the plateau overlooking Colorado river. It was cold that morning (it froze that night) so we were wearing jackets and Mark jeans when we started down the trail at 8 am. Walking down the trail we passed several hikers with overnight packs, all of them tired - an ominous reminder that every foot down we hiked was a foot we had to climb.

The night before in the nature presentation the ranger mentioned the bighorn sheep were in rut and might behave strangely. After passing a dozen people coming up that morning, I was quite surprised to find a male Bighorn sheep walking up the trail. Mark and I just walked to the side of the trail and let it pass us on the way up. Moments later a ranger just behind us clapped, starting the buck off the trail.

We continued down passing 1.5 mile station. The station had water, a shaded place to hide from the sun and a large sign warning hikers from hiking further between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm because of the heat from the sun. Mark and I were still in Jackets and it was well before 10 am so we continued down.

Mesas OutMesas in Morning

Getting out of the steep canyon and onto the flat middle canyon area revealed quite a surprise - the canyon is much more green than it looks from the rim. The middle canyon area has cactus everywhere and a small stream running from the Indian gardens - one of the overnight camping spots - down to the Colorado. It's surprised me to think that this stream had cut such a dramatic canyon but you have to remember the massive period over which the erosion occurred.

Looking Back

Less than an hour after leaving the gardens we were out on the plateau. It was 11:30 am and although early for lunch we had no where to go other than back. We had our crackers cheese and meat and enjoyed the view for a few minuets. I took some shots of Mark and the canyon and then the plateau became much more crowded - the mule train had arrived. The crowd annoyed me (they were kind of funny because they couldn't walk right and they all had the same box lunches and leather water pouches) so we packed up and started walking back.

Spoon in CanyonColoradoPlateau

The walk back was much warmer than the walk down. We got to the Indian gardens and the temperature (in the shade) was 85 degrees F so we were going a little slower. Mark took the slow and steady pace - I took the fast and breaks - and we slowly proceeded out of the canyon. The further we walked out of the canyon, the more people we joined us exiting. We also passed some sorry looking people going down - poor footwear, no water, badly out of shape - so I had to feel sorry for the rangers who will escort these people out well after dark.

Path up CanyonCactus PatchMark at Vista

Arriving at the top I was surrounded my the masses of tourists with there cheap point and shoots trying to capture the spirit of the canyon. I sat and waited for Mark to come out - he had been trapped behind the mule train - and told myself I would never hike again, a promise I make every time I do a grueling hike.

Cliffs UpTree In Foreground

We painfully walked back to the car, slowly stripped our gear, and drove out of the park towards the spit of civilization - Taco Bell, Pizza hut and an IMAX. Arriving, we gingerly ordered a big dinner and slowly ate, all the while watching the preview of the IMAX film about the Grand Canyon. Tired - we drove back to Yavapai point and shot the sunset - glorious - and then back to camp. Mark hit the sack but I again walked to the Shrine of the Ages and watched quite an amusing ranger story about ravens.

SunsetPoint After Dark

 The ranger suggested looking at the canyon in the moonlight so I came back to camp, took the car and drove out to yavapi point and shot the canyon again.  I was thinking of driving home back to Canada without Mark (just as a joke) but decided he probably wouldn't take it too well.  I returned to the tent and slept very well.

Moon light view of the Canyon

Go To Day 6


Mesas in Morning
Tags: canyon, hiking
Tags: canyon
Moon light view of the Canyon
Tags: canyon, long exposure, stars
Location: Go To...
Tags: sunset, vista
Looking Back
Tags: desert, hiking
Path up Canyon
Tags: canyon, trail
Cliffs Up
Tags: canyon, desert, hiking
Tree In Foreground
Tags: canyon, desert
Point After Dark
Tags: canyon, sunset
Location: Go To...
Tags: canyon, hiking
Cactus Patch
Tags: cactus, canyon, desert, trail
Mark at Vista
Person: Mark
Tags: hiking
Mesas Out
Location: Go To...
Tags: canyon, hiking
Spoon in Canyon
Tags: canyon, hiking, river
Tags: canyon(11), hiking(7), desert(4), trail(2), sunset(2), river(1)
People: Mark(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > Grand Canyon Road Trip > Day 5 of Grand Canyon Trip

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Last Modified Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 00:25:19 Edit
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