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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Go To Day 6
Tags: canyon(11), hiking(7), desert(4), trail(2), sunset(2), river(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > Grand Canyon Road Trip > Day 5 of Grand Canyon Trip
Last Modified Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 00:25:19 Edit
Copyright and Contact Information.