West 2018 Day 4 – Out of the Grand Canyon

Looking Back

Wednesday 5/16/18

We stuck to the 5AM plan pretty well.  We didn’t really cook breakfast since the ravens stole the oats and I think we were back at the silver suspension bridge by 5:20.  The only real stop we took before Indian Garden was at the River rest house.  We realized that we had never actually went all the way down to the Colorado River, so we made a quick diversion to go touch the water before starting the climb out.  We made one other brief stop for sunscreen, but after that it was pretty much straight through, but the early part of the trail is the less steep and strenuous portion.

As expected, the early start gained us some shade for a good chunk of the hike up.  We didn’t really stop until 3 mile rest house other than a quick water fill and bathroom break at Indian Garden.  Our long stop to eat, again fill water and use the bathrooms at 3 mile rest house was followed by a shorter stop at 1.5 mile rest house.  The last of the significant shade ended between 3 mile and 1.5 mile and we started taking short breaks in the shady corners the rest of the way up.  The stretch between 3 mile rest house and the top is the more intense portion with lots of shorter switch-backs and it’s also where we started to see most of the other hikers (enviably carrying less gear than us) as the two rest houses are common day-hike endpoints.  We ended up getting to the canyon rim right around 11:00, a time of around 6 hours and getting us to the top just as the worst of the day’s heat hit.  Even then, the sun combined with the climb was pretty intense.

There wasn’t anything more on the list for the day, we were plenty tired, and it was hot, so after some quick refreshments at the hotel / visitor center we headed out of the Grand Canyon driving back south.  We did stop at a McDonald’s for coffee and ice cream.  Our next real point of interest was Joshua Tree National Park, and we got into town just before sunset to get some good and crash at the Super 8 for the night.

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West 2018 Day 3 – Into the Grand Canyon

South Kaibab Trail

Tuesday 05/15/18

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.

South Kaibab Trail

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.

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