|Backpack||9.60 Miles|| || |
|4,595 ft AEG|| || || |
This was my first time back on this trail in many years. Backpacked to Bright Angel Campgrounds for two nights, then out on Bright Angel with a night at Indian Gardens and numerous side excursions. I love the views and the destinations. I wish I could say the same thing about the trail conditions on the South Kaibab trail.
Looking at the bright side, the NPS has created a situation encouraging ultralight backpacking and slow dayhiking. Looking at the other side --- I hate to start out by complaining, but this trail is in awful shape and desperately needs some trail maintenance. The crossbraces on the trail have created a situation where the mules trudge in the same place creating huge ruts between the crossbraces. A hiker has to either walk on the braces themselves or step into the rut then back over the brace. It looks like they are trying some different solutions in different places, I hope they make this better. I suppose we will see a lot more cobbling and aggregate on this trail since it is so heavily traveled.
Left Phoenix at 4:00am. Stopped in Flagstaff for breakfast then got to the trailhead by 9:00. Tom & I pushed on ahead of the group and got a good campsite. Then I pulled out my daypack and went back to see how the group was doing. One member had some cramps and was recuperating in the shade. I switched my daypack for another member's backpack and escorted them back to the campsite. A hike to the bottom is not complete without lemonade from the Canteen. Temperatures at Phantom Ranch were posted in the canteen as 105 today. My distance, taken from my GPS, includes the trip back up the trail and to the canteen as the official endpoint today.
The campground is in great shape. The previous wild turkey (Kathy) died, but two turkeys - Bill & Mark - have taken up residence. They are unbelieveably tame and great on cleaning up microtrash.