Holiday to the Pacific West Coast in Aug 2006: Day 17 – Grand Canyon
Well I wish I hadn’t started reading that blasted book – ‘Over the edge’. Neither Vick nor I could think about anything other than slipping off the Bright Angel trail and falling to our deaths! What a dreadful night!
Anyway we were up bright and cheery (!) at 5am.
We got dressed and picked up some coffee at the Bright Angel Lodge Coffee shop which opens at 5:30am for early hikers.
At 6:09am we started down the Bright Angel trail. I was gutted to see a number of hikers already well ahead of us and off I pushed to catch them up.
Vick hauled me back to a far more sensible pace and we quickly dropped down into the canyon.
At this time in the morning it’s still very dim, so we didn’t take too many photos on the way down.
We passed through the first and second tunnels fairly quickly and were overtaken by many far more experienced hikers.
We were quite amazed at how many had only got sandals on, and very few had rucksacks and water etc. We were loaded to the brim with energy drinks, energy snacks, nuts and water.
After drinking all this water we were very pleased to see the 1.5 mile rest house which had restrooms.
Thereafter we reached the 2 mile corner and after 2.5 hours we reached the 3 mile rest house.
Unfortunately I was bursting at this stage, and I was disappointed to find that there was no ‘official’ rest room here.
The very many hikers that were around had created their own ‘unofficial’ restroom just off the trail and we had to queue and take our turn.
The important point was finding a spot that no one else could see you from (including the 10000 visitors looking down from the very top with their binoculars)!
Anyway we decided to head back up after about 45 mins rest. They recommend you allow twice as long to get back up as you spend descending into the canyon.
Ascending was harder work, but easier on the knees etc and in fact we made fairly short weather of it, and in fact got back up in the same amount of time as it took us to descend.
On the way we had a number of interesting discussions with other Brits, Americans and other Europeans. Some Americans were looking forward to a trip to London, oh and Wales (Wales?).
We were passed on a number of ocassions by mules transporting either luggage or people. We were envious of their easy travel although they swore it was hard work! Obviously we were very pleased with the very smelly little presents the mules left for us to walk around!
Anyway we got back to the top at 11:45am and we were both well chuffed with our efforts: 6 miles, a descend of 2000ft into the canyon and returned alive to fight another day.
We did some laundry in the afternoon, got some lunch and then Vick hit the sack to catch up for the sleep she had missed in the last couple of days.
We had dinner in the Bright Angel restaurant, it was decidedly average. We wanted to go to the Arizona Room but there was a one hour wait, so we decided to go there tomorrow.
A fab day. Being in the canyon was amazing.
Follow the whole story here: Holiday to Pacific West Coast in Aug 2006