I posted on FB a picture of Plateau Point letting folks know I was going to be returning to the GC. John9L posted a comment about some Indian Ruins. Clyde was interested so I did some Rx online and found info about the Ruins and also contacted John9L via HAZ who was able to put a route together for Clyde to follow. Yes I know Chumley, I gotta work on following a GPS route by myself one of these days
So Friday AM after a leisurely breakfast, all but one of our group would be going to Phantom Ranch while Clyde and I would be 'sploring. Clyde had an idea where both sets of Ruins were from previous GC trips but he was excited to actually get to them this time. It was a slightly overcast day as we headed on down the Bright Angel Trail. There was the usual traffic coming and going. I enjoyed going up thru this Tapeats section in 2010 and I enjoyed it as we went down
At about a mile down the trail from Indian Garden, we found the crossover point. But first we'd have to find a place to get over the creek. We found an option B just a tad up creek and crossed there and then up to where there is an actual trail
. Wow, how lucky is that?! We wound up and around and thru some brush and large rocks where we topped out by a boulder with a "protect this site" sign. This and the other site are considered Class II:
Class II sites are more fragile and vulnerable to visitor impacts than Class I sites.
Proceeding east and past the rock you will soon come upon the beginning of the Garden Creek Ruins
including a few granaries and remains of old structures. As you continue walking along you will see the last room with a great view of Zoroaster. We continued down around the corner and then over to look at the trail below us and the hill that is on the other side of the trail. The previous nite we thot we spotted a trail on top of that. We also noticed a former waterfall far to the SE though it was dry now. Not seeing any other evidence of ruins we decided to head back. I took some more video and pictures.
As we headed down the hill we saw the Phantom group across the way. We waved and then got distracted by a little waterfall. We found the area we had crossed before and were back on the BA trail. While up at the other ruins, we spotted the trail that would take us to the next set. We tried to eye where we would need to go up to catch the trail (on the right "south").
So you walk down the trail just a bit more before you head straight up to catch this other trail. You can somewhat see the trail altho we went up a bit too soon so if you're following our route, go just a tad further. We would meet up with that trail and start heading to the NE. Clyde spotted a deer
so I grabbed a pic and I think some movie but I don't remember. I always feel the deer look so scrawny in the canyon.
Anyway you continue up and eventually round the corner and up some more. As we topped out we spotted the Old BA trail coming off the current Devil's Corkscrew. We would be joining up with that at a confluence of drainages a little later. In the distance you can just start to make out a granary. As we get closer we can see a couple rooms. One of them had been smashed by a rock
. According to Clyde, this wasn't even the main event of the ruins on this side so it was a bonus item. Once again, past one of the upper granaries was a spectacular view to the NE.
We continued on to see what the next ruins would look like. These Bright Angel Wash Ruins
had a cool cave with a granary above the rooms. Happy at our success in finding all the ruins we were now faced with the task of getting down from here. Near as Clyde could tell we needed to contour our way to the wash straight below
. Well that was one
of a lot harder than it even looked; though "doable" as johnr1 would say. It was slippery with many objects to have to negotiate. I did spot some arrowheads that had been left on a rock so I had to stop and admire those. So straight down it was for the most part but we both eventually made it.
We had a little break here thinking how alone we were in this very Grand Canyon next to that very busy trail on the other side of us. The weather couldn't have been better and the scenery was
. What a fun morning this was.
Now to figure out where the Old BA was from here. In the wash there wasn't a trail though I could see some sort of area that looked like you could hike up that south wash but we knew the trail was up this east/westish drainage and near the telephone poles. We got up on the hill a bit and I spotted the trail. We stayed on it and continued up and then back down into the drainage. Couldn't really spot an area to go across but the alternatives of just going across now, rather than up the drainage, seemed the best option. We once again hooked up with the trail such as it was.
We continued up the rocky trail being ever mindful of all the little switchbacks. We would also see the little telephone poles a couple more times. It would seem the trail ended but if you opened your eyes wider
, you could see a little crook of a trail and proceed. This would happen a couple times. Clyde says he ran into trouble last time cuz he missed one of these switchbacks. I found the going though a hard traverse, not too bad as we ascended up to the plateau. And then we saw the Tonto across the way.
Eventually and about 325 elev gain and 20 minutes later we get to the real eye candy of our journey as we are now on top of the plateau with 360 views
that just blew me away. It was hard to decide what to photograph so I did a 360 of photos
; just seemed easier that way so I wouldn't have to choose what I thot would be the best shot. In a little bit we would hook up with Tonto East but let me tell you, it would be very difficult to find that route in from the Tonto. You just have to be mindful as you are hiking up the Tonto that when you see the triangle of rocks (there are none previous), to veer left and head toward Zoraoster. The trail looks like the rest of the landscape at this point.
As we made our way back to Indian Gardens, we passed by the mules that were parked there for their morning break. The rest of the day was certainly one of leisure as I read, had lunch, tried to remember how to play solitaire and read the book on GC Trivia that was in the Indian Gardens Ammo can library. Was surprised it took me two tries to remember how to set up the cards for solitaire. I took a walk around the gardens and did a little exploring too. I was a little sore, well my calves were, from the trek down so I tried to keep them somewhat limber.
Our crew came up from their great time at Phantom Ranch around 4. A few of them took a swim in Garden Creek as well. 3 of them hiked right past us at camp as they missed the turn . We all had supper and did our best to finish up everyone's food and beverages before retiring for the nite and that dreaded hike up the BA Trail.
Here is video from our exploring this day:
Garden Creek Ruins - http://youtu.be/FHTFHON2Nqc
Bright Angel Wash Ruins - http://youtu.be/YWHB-2_NiW8
Old Bright Angel Trail - http://youtu.be/4V1jpMBl6xc