4/6/17 – Day 4 – There and Back Again. An idiots tale.

So the plan was to get up at 4am and head to South Kaibab trailhead. From there I was going to hike down to Phantom Ranch and then up the Bright Angel Trail to the rim. But sleepy Joey convinced me that it was crazy to hike that far, like the park rangers had told me. Why not wait for sunrise and just go down Bright Angel Trail a bit then come back. Well, I fell for it. I slept in til 6a then headed to the trailhead.

I set off down the trail at 6:50, promptly forgetting to start my Garmin for about 15 minutes. I made good time down the trail, so I made a new deal with myself. I would hike for four hours then turn back, leaving me eight hours of daylight.


Grand Canyon Corridor Hiking Map


Indian Garden was a nice campground. I meet a lot of people heading up to the rim that camped there after spending a few days in the backcountry.


It turns out I can go a long way downhill in four hours. All the way to Phantom Ranch across the Colorado River (well, it was 11:20 by the time I made it there, but close enough). They sold me a prepackaged bagel and a plastic cup of lemonade for $6. It was heavenly.


For my way out, I took South Kaibab trail. I was warned that while it was shorter than Bright Angel, it was steeper. This was an understatement. Not only was the trail tore up by mules (with plenty of presents left behind), but it was almost as steep as a staircase with the added benefit of irregular spacing and height. I don’t want to think about that trail any more.


I bonked out with about two miles to go. The temperature also got up to 80. It was seriously unpleasant. But I made it. I commiserated with a few other people also making the ascent. This one guy was pacing me for the last mile and it turns out he is literally twice my age.


At the rim, I took the bus back to the visitors center. All I had to do was change busses and I would get a nice air-conditioned ride back to camp. But exhaustion stupidity was still strong with me. I wanted some cold water. So I walked over to the center and after wandering around for a bit, found a working water fountain. Then, instead of walking back to the bus terminal, for reasons I can’t explain or remember, I took off through the woods to my campsite.

Half an hour later I made it to camp. After a hot shower (so very much worth the $2) and a cold Pepsi, I found a WiFi signal. Now I’ve had a huge dinner and a beer, finished off my Pepsi and taken some ibuprofen. I’m calling it a day.

Miles Driven: 0 mi
Time Driving: 0m

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