Not a lot of people get to see this

After hiking down the South Kaibab trail on Thursday and relaxing at the bottom of the Canyon on Friday, it was time to start making our way back up on Saturday.

I’m so happy that Lynnie designed our itinerary the way she did, because by the time we left Phantom Ranch it felt like we’d had some time to enjoy the place. It would have been tough to spend just one night there… going to bed exhausted and then setting out with sore muscles the next morning. Thanks to Lynn, we had a fun day to recover and by Saturday were excited to hit the Bright Angel trail.

Grand Canyon River Trail 8

Friday we turned left… this time we turned right.

Trail maps

We hiked from Bright Angel Campground to Indian Garden Campground.

BrightAngel

I was really stoked for the uphills. The first day was tough on my knees, even with hiking poles, and I just want to block out the memory of my massive toe blister. Those problems were much better on the way up. The hike to Indian Garden was a pretty easy 4.7 miles. The lower part of the trail winds through the Canyon, so we didn’t have the vistas that we had the first day, but it was really fun trekking through the desert flora. We saw lots of cacti, redbuds, Cottonwood trees, and James claims that he saw a rattlesnake.

Grand Canyon Indian Garden 1

Bye bye, Colorado River.

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We arrived at the Indian Garden campground in the mid-afternoon. We set up camp and relaxed until the Ranger talk at 5pm, when we gathered at the amphitheater to learn all about the California Condor from Ranger Elyssa. Here’s what you need to know so you don’t kill a California Condor:

  1. Don’t hunt with lead bullets in AZ.
  2. Don’t throw pennies into the Grand Canyon (we had no idea this was a thing).
  3. Pick up your microtrash, people! The itty bitty trash… like the corner of your Snickers wrapper. Pack it in, pack it out!

Sarah was quite smitten with the birds and really wants to write Elyssa and ask her to send one to SC.

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Left: Turkey Vulture, Right: California Condor.

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Actual size of a condor’s wing

After the talk we hiked out to Plateau Point for the sunset. Of everything we had planned, this was the evening I was most looking forward to. The trail is a relaxing 3 miles out and back that ends at an overlook. Apparently this spot is packed with day-hikers in the afternoon, but because it’s the farthest recommended point for folks who don’t plan to camp in the Canyon, they all tend to head back up toward the rim well before 7pm, so we had the place almost all to ourselves. I was stoked to finally get some photos during the “golden hour,” and the sunset was A-MAZ-ING.

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On the edge of the world…

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I promised my mom a Grand Canyon rock… that one on the right is hers.

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Tomorrow’s destination…

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