Monday, May 13, 2013

Grand Canyon, Day 3--Bright Angel Trail

Today we rose bright and early and headed off to hike a very small part of the Bright Angel Trail, the most heavily used trail down to the river.  Needless to say we didn't go down to the river!  Just a couple miles down and up, but at least we can say we've hiked down into the canyon!  We were erring on the side of caution, heeding all the warnings about water and not overdoing, since we are not used to this kind of hiking.  But had some gorgeous views, and talked to lots of interesting people on the way down and back up.

Then we went down to Tusayan to the National Geographic Welcome Center to watch the Imax movie on the Grand Canyon, and it was quite spectacular, as are most IMAX movies.  They recreated the river run by Powell with a replica of his boat, and it was indeed scary as all get out at points.  They had the replica boat on display in the lobby and it's hard to believe that they made it, both in the 1980's, when they made the movie, but even moreso in the 1860's, when the original run happened.

Then headed back into the park for the drive to the east entrance, which made more sense for our destination of Zion National Park in southern Utah.  Tonite we're in a small campground on the banks of the Colorado called Lee's Ferry--quite a contrast to the crowds of the South Rim, but so peaceful and lovely.  Tomorrow we'll head on to Zion, and meet up with our friends, Jim and Sue Ann, who live in St. George.  Short post tonite since we're using the generator and I'll need to sign off soon

Some pics:

The way down

 You can see we're already dropping down in elevation

 One of several arches we passed
 Young mule deer, hanging onto the side of the cliff at an incredible angle, just nonchalantly munching down on some leaves!
More views on the way down
 You can see the trail descending below us

 Never get enough of this continuously changing but ever fascinating landscape scenes
Some horses headed down to Phantom Ranch, at the bottom, by the river
 Looking back up to where we came down from the beginning of the trail
 Trisha, blazing on ahead, while I fumbled with the camera!
 Above and below: another arch

 Heading down to the level of the red rocks
 Getting closer to the level of this rock formation, which was in some of the photos of sunset last night, shot from the Mather Point overlook, way to the left of this view

 Looking wayyyyy down through the long lens toward the river camp
 Looking back up to the top, where the trail begins, and where we started
 Above:  looking through telephoto from much farther below, up at the group on mules, headed to the canyon floor--when they passed us, most of these folks had the look of abject terror on their faces, white knuckles in a death grip on the saddle horn!  Not all, but most of them looked like they were seriously rethinking their decision to take this mule ride.  Obviuosly the mules knew where they were going and what they were doing, but it was mighty close in spots and steep in all spots!
 Coming back up, looking up at the second arch
 Back at the top--this was taken by a Methodist minister we met from Memphis--he heard our accents and asked where we were from--well, one thing led to another in our conversation, and it turns out he went to seminary at Emory, and had come up to the Craddock Center with another minister for one of Dr Craddock's mini preaching workshops--must have been on a day Trisha was not there, 'cause he remembered Tammy, but what a small world!
 Some shots from overlooks on the way toward the east exit--interesting to see the same rock formations from the other side, when we had been west of them for two days

 Above and below:  seeing the walls of Marble Canyon, as we neared Lee's Ferry
 Going into the park at Lee's Ferry

 Beautiful flower by our campsite, above; below, sun beginning to show its colors as it sets, against the wall of Marble Canyon, on the other side of the Colorado River
 Big red rock, as we walked down to the river bank after supper
 This scattering of rocks looked almost like it was done by a landscaper--then we realized it was indeed done by a Landscaper!
 Down by the banks of the Colorado--Paria Priffle--story board said it was not big enough to be classified a rapids, so it's a profile!
 Looking back up at the campground

 Looking downstream at the Colorado, on its way to the Grand Canyon


  1. Beautiful place! We did not hike any of the trails down to the river, just enjoyed the view from the top.