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South Kaibab-Bright Angel Rim-to-River, AZ
mini location map2020-11-07
12 by photographer avatarddgrunning
photographer avatar
 
South Kaibab-Bright Angel Rim-to-River, AZ 
South Kaibab-Bright Angel Rim-to-River, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 07 2020
ddgrunning
Hiking18.83 Miles 4,778 AEG
Hiking18.83 Miles   8 Hrs   11 Mns   2.51 mph
4,778 ft AEG      41 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
This was a family trip organized by a close friend, who invited me and my daughter to tag along. The friend and his son wanted to do the SK-BA loop, while his wife and younger kids planned to hike down to Indian Garden and meet us there to hike back out together.

We headed up Friday evening to Tusayan and stayed the night at the Red Feather Inn. Set the alarm for 4:15 a.m.

Temperatures looked relatively mild for November (overnight low was only in the mid 40s), so I opted to go with shorts, and left the thermal shirt in the car. That turned out to be a good call, as the weather was fantastic all the way up to the very last stretch, when rain/hail moved in ....

The four of us doing the SK-BA loop arrived at the BCO at 5:30, as the first hiker express shuttle to SK TH was set for 6 a.m. (with additional shuttles scheduled on the hour at 7 and 8 am). Because of COVID, they are only allowing 15 people per shuttle. There was one other group of 10 that had arrived in front of us, but behind us, there were probably another 45-50 people who were "in line" by 6 a.m.

We were glad we got there early and got on the first shuttle. The shuttle operator had done some thinking ahead, in that they had a couple of shuttles show up at 6 a.m., but I think those at the back of the line likely waited awhile before they were able to make it to the TH.

When we arrived at the TH, we wasted no time and hit the trail just in front of a mule train at about 6:20 am. We stayed in front of the train to Ooh Ahh Point, and then they passed us. Luckily, the train was relatively small and they were moving at a decent clip, so we didn't end up having to eat their dust :-).

Although it was light at Ooh Ahh Point, the sun didn't crest the rim from our vantage point until we were below Cedar Ridge. The sunrise was beautiful, particularly as it reflected off the opposing canyon walls.

On the way down, I marked the spot where the miner's trail veers off from SK and popped off the trail a bit to check out the upper portion. Looks like challenge. One I'll tackle on another trip. Speaking of other trips, I also decided I need to get up O'Neill Butte one of these days as well.

At the Tip Off, I was surprised to see the new shade shelter structure that's been erected (at least new since my last visit a couple years back). A solid structure with two tanks of water that can be treated by those in need. They are designed to collect runoff from the roof of the structure, but I'm not sure if that's the only way they would get water in them, or if there are filled otherwise. I didn't test the taps ...

Speaking of water, there was a problem with the pipe, so the only points where treated water was available were Phantom Ranch and Indian Garden.

As a result, we made a side trip to Phantom just to make sure we were good. In the end, it probably wasn't necessary, but a nice little jog along the way--particularly for my friend who had never been there. While in the area, I looked at the bottom of the Utah Flats route (also on a future agenda), and that approach looks a little daunting. Although I know the route/trail is there, it's not very obvious ...

The river trail and up BA were as usual. It was nice to have shade and light cloud cover most of the way.

At IG, we met up with the rest of the family. At that point, the darker, heavier clouds were beginning to roll in.

The weather held nicely till about 1.5 resthouse, when it started to sprinkle lightly. With about 0.5 to go, the rain started to come down in earnest, mixed with hail, and the wind picked up on the rim.

We donned the ponchos and headed straight for hot chocolate when we topped out.

Another great day in the canyon. This old place never gets old to me.
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