I'm back with the final set of photos from the Grand Canyon... thanks for your indulgence! (If you really like to drool over amazing rocks, the first three episodes are Into the Canyon, The Search for Chevaya Falls, and Rainbow Falls).

Our final day was the hike back out of the Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail, probably the most heavily traveled route in the whole canyon, and also probably the most engineered. There's a reason it's almost three miles farther than the South Kaibab, down which we came to start the trip. I was pleasantly surprised by both the easy grade and the morning shade over most of the route.

Fearing a hot and exposed climb, I made another early start. Each of us left on our own schedules, so I hiked alone again.

Heading to the Silver Bridge--the Bright Angel bridge--in the early light.

This bridge also carried the pipe that moves water to the South Rim. 


The same bridge from below, one year earlier.

Taken on my raft trip April 2021

Once across the bridge, the trail traversed just above the river for about a mile downstream. I was a bighorn ewe on the trail, but was unable to get a good photo, and soon another, larger party came along and the sheep was seen no more.


Once I reached Pipe Creek, the trail turned up the side canyon, and soon hit the "Devil's Corkscrew," a series of well-graded and not really that diabolical switchbacks that move the hiker up through the Vishnu Basement rocks of the Inner Canyon.
Looking back at the Corkscrew, happy to have that climb behind me, aware I have a lot more ahead.

I soon crossed over into the Garden Creek Drainage, a lush creek in the bottom of a steep-sided canyon. Running water and vegetation meant it was pleasantly cool, almost too much so at the still-early hour.

Redbud and canyon walls

Redbud blossoms

Cottonwood trees mark most Canyon watercourses. The ones along Garden Creek were particularly impressive.


By about half past 8 I was enjoying a rest at Indian Gardens, where I was also able to refill my water bag (probably not needed, as it was cool and I was making good time, but no point in taking chances). The area was still in the shade, a pleasant surprise (and one that explained why some of my companions were less anxious to get moving that morning).

There are a lot of buildings at Indian Gardens. Not sure what they all were, but there is a full-time ranger staff there, so some is housing.

 By this time the trail has climbed through the next layer above the Inner Canyon, the Grand Canyon Supergroup, and Indian Garden (name is being change to Havasupai Garden, to better honor the people whose home it historically was) in on the Tonto Plateau.

Moving on up the trail, I found myself repeatedly approaching what appeared to be impassible walls. The Redwall limestone is particularly good at forming walls! I was now also firmly into the dayhiker zone, and meeting a lot of hikers heading down.

Looking a bit like a dead end!
Atop the Redwall and climbing. You can see all the way to the North Kaibab.

The 3-Mile rest area (think shade structure and outhouse) is on the point sticking out into the middle of the picture.

I've lost track of which layer this is. But a remarkably similar trail structure, heading straight into the cliff, where it will miraculously find a space to switchback up to the next layer.

By now I am nearly there, and finding plenty of people willing to take a photo. Feeling pretty good.

Happy to be at the top, so I gave the sign a hug!
Okay, that was a bit more dramatic than needed. And I had another 1/4 mile to go to find the car.

A few hours later, showered, fed, and following a heart-felt good-bye to my companions, I was on the road again, keeping to my tight schedule! Farewell to the Canyon, but I'll be back :)

Well, I'll be danged. The sign says it's a long way down and a farther back up. Who knew?
 
©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2022
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