We got up early to organize and pack for the overnight at the bottom of the canyon. After breaking down camp and packing the necessary items in backpacks we went to park the car near the top of Bright Angel trail. Not sure if it was luck or the fact that we were there at quarter to seven in the morning, but we got a spot right next to the trailhead and walked up to the hotel to catch the 7AM shuttle.
We arrived at the North Kaibab Trailhead and were headed down into the canyon around 7:30 along with a handful of other hikers. As usual, this seemed absurdly early to start hiking (and it wasn’t even the earliest shuttle), but around 10:30 or so it started getting hot enough that we fully understood why the early start was important – and this was when traveling downhill. It was hot and sunny, but otherwise a not particularly strenuous hike, so we were both wearing long sleeves and hoods / hats to keep the sun off and the heat out.
Most of the pictures are either from the top portion – above the Cedar Ridge rest area, or the bottom as we approached or once we were in the campground. The “middle” was the hot and sunny portion (I think the only picture from there is the mules coming up), and in addition to being more strenuous, it was also not as interesting.
I think we made it to the bottom just before 1:00. Wandered through the campground to pick our spot (decisions between river side and slightly shaded) before settling on a small river side spot and putting up the tent. We went to sit in the shade for a few minutes and a couple opportunistic ravens decided to steal the bag of breakfast oats out of my backpack and dump them on the ground. This was discouraging, we had seen warnings about the ravens and just not realized how quick and smart they would be, but we had plenty of food for the evening and next day even without the oats.
After taking some much needed time to cool off in and by the creek, we went for a walk up Bright Angel Creek, through Phantom Ranch and up the North Kaibab Trail to Phantom Creek. Phantom Creek was a small creek with a waterfall a few hundred yards off the main trail that was suggested by the bus driver in the morning. It took a bit of climbing along the walls to get there (there was definitely an area where it didn’t seem like we could go further), but was nice little falls.
Upon return to camp, we wandered over to the silver suspension bridge before dinner to see what sunset would be like, but being in the canyon it wasn’t especially interesting. The sun goes behind the and then back to camp to make dinner. As usual when camping, there’s not much to do once the sun goes down and that’s emphasized when you’re in a canyon, it gets even darker than usual, and there’s no campfire options, so we went to bed pretty early. This was also motivated by the comments of one of the park rangers that it was light enough to hike at 5AM and that if we started early, we’d be in the shade for much of the hike out, so that was the morning plan.