Wednesday, February 23, 2011

More Grand Canyon Photos

Today's posting includes the pictures from the middle day. we stayed down the bottom for two nights so we could rest a bit before the long hike out -- sort of. I'll get to that in a minute...

Once we did get across the black bridge on our hike down, we followed the trail north past the Bright Angel campground to Phantom Ranch. We were really glad to see the welcome sign.

We checked into our cabin, took showers and rested for an hour before we went to dinner at the Catina. After a day-long hike, the steak dinner hit the spot.

We had breakfast the next morning at 7am and then hung out for a while to wait for the sun to rise and for it to warm up a bit. I'm not sure what the temperature was when we went to breakfast, but probably in the 30s. The cabins are situated right along the creek.

All of us had sore quads, but I know from experience that it is important to get back on the trail and walk off some of the lactic acid. We headed north along the creek for around a half mile and then turned right to hike down the Clear Creek trail around two miles with around 1,000 feet elevation change.

Around a mile up the trail there is a point. The first photo shows my three friends looking over a cliff. They were surprised to see our cabin directly below the cliff.

On this point there is "The Bench." This is a rest spot built in the early 1930s by the CCC camp. It is made from mica schist.

While we were sitting there, we saw this helicopter in the distance. The zoom on my new camera allowed me to get a shot.

After resting a while, I convinced the group to continue up the trail another mile. The trail comes out over the Colorado River to provide some spectacular views.

I explained to my friends that we would be going over the Silver Bridge in the morning to gain access to the Bright Angel trail that would take us to the top. You could hardly see the bridge with your unaided eyes, but the telephoto lens allowed me to zoom in.

We stopped and hung out on a ledge for a few hours. We rested, ate lunch, and just relaxed. With the south-facing sun, it actually was too warm with temperatures in the 60s. After a while, I had to find some shade, but not until after I soaked up a few rays.

This view looking east from the ledge is one of my favorite views of the Colorado River.

As we were resting, I pointed out to the group where we would be hiking the next day. It is pretty scary sitting there when you realize that you are going to climb up the canyon -- it looks like it would be impossible!

From our vantage point, you could also see part of the South Kaibab trail that we descended the previous day. In the background you can see the South Rim, which was our starting point. You can also see the switchbacks that start at the tip-off and plunges you down the inner gorge to the river.

As we were sitting there, we spotted some rafts on the river. With my bad eye sight, I couldn't even see them. But with my camera zoom -- I could.

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