Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A trip to the Grand Canyon

Is it sad that after twenty six years of living in Arizona, I’ve never been to the bottom of the Grand Canyon? It may be sad, but it is definitely true. Or at least it was, until this past weekend.

 

My squeeze, Courtney, used to work at the canyon and she tells stories about it with a sort of beauty-inspired awe in her eye. I told her that I wanted to see her canyon, and so we figured out a date that we could take a long weekend down there.

 

We hiked down the Bright Angel trail to Phantom Ranch. We stayed down there for two nights, hung out with the awesome ‘ranchers’, ate some good food, hiked around some of the trails down there, and then came back out via the South Kaibab trail. It was a beautiful weekend, even with the ridiculous number of people on the trails.

 

And I decided to take my big-boy camera with me, because what’s a little extra weight when you have so much to photograph? Without further ado – the pictures:

 

My ugly mug as we walked down:

 

An idyllic spot to eat lunch, just past Indian Gardens:

 

And with the water, we found these pretty purple bushes:

 

As we approached the river we heard reports of a rock slide on the trail. Sure enough we came upon a trail crew working seriously hard to clear it:

 

 

Shortly thereafter we were at phantom where things are GREEN, a stark contrast to the red walls:

 

The Black bridge where dude and pack mules cross the Colorado, bringing all the supplies in for Phantom Ranch:

 

A different view of Black bridge, from within the rock tunnel:

 

Speaking of mules – here they are, ready to ride trash and detritus out of the ranch:

 

I decided to get up early one morning to get some different light for the river. It was gorgeous (with the Silver bridge spanning the Colorado in the foreground):

 

I also got a nice morning view of the local wildlife, baby dear who aren’t terrified of humans:

 

Courtney, up on the Clear Creek trail:

 

From which you can also see this:

 

Not that you had to go far to see the beauty. Here is the creek that passes right by the ranch:

 

As with all good things though, this trip had to end. So we hiked out on a beautiful trail that always seemed to point UP. Like this set of switchbacks:

 

But it did afford us some pretty views of the dusty day:

 

A gorgeous place, that I’m sure I’ll be going back to.

 

All photos available on flickr, in a pretty slideshow.

7 comments:

Catalyst said...

Your next assignment - rim to rim in 10 hours!

Chickenbells said...

It looks like you guys had a great trip! I've lived here 30 years and I haven't been down to the bottom yet...but I really want to go. Mayhaps I'll wander down there sometime this year? Your pictures are certainly inspiring me to do so!

BIG SKY CHEF said...

Excellent...Pics are awesome, especially the tunnel and the bridge.

THE BAYFIELD BUNCH said...

Beautiful pictures, what kind of camera is that big boy one?

Those switchbacks look brutal,

Well done,

Kelly

TomboCheck said...

Catalyst - Certainly doable. The hardest part for me is going down, but then again I had ~30lbs on my back. If it was a day hike I could go a little lighter. I just wonder how much of the scenery you could appreciate in 10 hours?

Sadira - Yeah, we had a blast! You should definitely make your way down there, just do it before it gets too warm and you will be all right. :)

Tom - Thanks! I think I was starting to annoy Courtney a bit with all my stops for photos.

Kelly - The big boy camera is a Nikon D90, all of these shots were taken with the kit 18-55mm lens. The funny thing is those switchbacks were just as bad as most of the trail - it was all hiking up a steep grade. :)

Jarart said...

I have not hiked down but have gone down in a helicopter. My hubby has hiked and rode down many times as he was a wrangler there in his younger years. He also went down many times putting new phone lines in to Phantom Ranch. I'm not sure that at my age I could do that hike but I still think about climbing on one of those great mules and going down.
These pictures are stunning! It looks like an awesome way to spent the holiday.

TomboCheck said...

Jarart - how long ago did you go down in a helicopter? I think that would be a truly interesting way to see the canyon. And taking a mule down is definitely an option, they get down and out way faster than hiking anyway. :)