|Hiking||20.00 Miles|| 9 Hrs ||2.22 mph|
|4,400 ft AEG|
|Friday night I was in Scottsdale flipping through the TV channels when I caught a quick sentence about reopening the GC after this ridiculous Government Shutdown...Naturally we waited half an hour to hear a 4 second blurb "Grand Canyon National Park will be reopening tomorrow morning at 8am and now in other news..."
I rushed out to spend my last evening with my daughter and my best friend Jen (who's Dad is being moved to hospice right now ) Tomorrow I'd be on my way to the Canyon, back home!! WHOO!!
at 1:15pm, 9L and I drove through the entry station, we stopped at my work for food and Gatorade then made a quick detour to my condo where I geared up, we were at BA Trailhead at 1:45pm.
Ranger Rick spotted me the second I leapt out of the Jeep and says "You hiking" I just laughed and said "Course I am!". Good to see my friends right off the bat like that.
Also just before the very first switchback below Kolb Studio a big bold Condor flew right over our heads so close we could hear it's wing rustling! THAT WAS TOTALLY WICKED!!
9L and I made amazing time down to Indian Garden, I think if I had Niko with me he'd write it out like this:
1.5 mi house: 2pm
3mi house 2:30pm
BA/Tonto East Junct 2:59pm
Anyway, we spotted maybe a handful of people heading UP as we trotted down, Indian Garden campground was D-E-A-D DEAD!! Not a soul, one person by the restrooms as we passed on through toward Tonto East.
We spotted one person heading up from Plateau Point and not a soul along the Tonto, we bounced down the Old Bright Angel (South Rim Edition obviously) and I lead the way, demonstrating how the upper section of the trail crosses the NEW BA and continues down into the OLD Devil's Corkscrew, I've described that trek before but it never gets old...or as Uncle Chums would say it only gets older
Made it to Phantom in just under 3 hours but the Canteen had already closed! Luckily I waved at someone inside and after a good catch up chat good old Bob snuck us out two ice cold Phantom Ranch Specials...LEMONADE!!!! I pretty much hike down to Phantom JUST for the lemonade, really, it's that good.
Bob and 9L chatted about Bob's Phantom job and such, think 9L is going to jump the city ship and go live in the Canyon! Crazy kid...who DOES that!
At 5:30, we turned our toes back toward the river and headed up at break neck pace, we made a quick stop just East of the BA Creek bridge and checked out the old gravesite, I'd honestly never seen it before!! Very neat, Rees Griffith's story is in the Death in The GC book if you haven't read about it before.
We startled up to mule deer at one point, spotted a smallish size owl with HUGE orange eyes somewhere in the tapeats below IG, it's big shining eyes followed us for a while, I love the canyon night life. One person was camped at IG by the time we pranced through.
"Oh look, a person!"
9L informed me just before we left Phantom that he'd never really hiked OUT of the Canyon at night before, so we spent a good chunk of time hiking by the semi-moon light, once at the tip top of Bright Angel I took him up to Mallory's Grotto and we left the trail "the back way", made it to the jeep at exactly 10:40pm and cranked the heat in that sucker like there was no tomorrow!!
This being my first "cold hike" of the season taught me a LOT, I need some sort of cold weather, moisture wicking sweater, any suggestions? I have a green fleece type thing that was drenched with sweat once I topped out Jacob's Ladder, I was sweating so bad and was so hot I had to shed my fleecey and my beanie. I had on a sweet moisture wicking tank top underneath so I wasn't drenched luckily, it was chilly and windy. By chilly I mean 60 at Indian Garden and 40 on the rim with a KILLER wind.
So begins my first winter living at the Grand Canyon, wish me luck!!! SO glad to be home and working again!