Thursday, June 21, 2012

Grand Canyon National Park: Rim Trail Hermit's Rest to Bright Angel Trailhead

Yesterday afternoon, Noelle and I drove our tired bodies north from the Arizona Snow Bowl and into Grand Canyon National Park. It was the first visit to this American icon for the both of us. Unfortunately, our first experience of the canyon was not a pleasant one. We visited a packed visitor center and strolled over to an over-crowded Mather Point Overlook with a large, sweaty, loud mass of humanity. Then we checked into our campsite and readied ourselves for today's adventure.

This morning we awoke and headed over to the campground bus stop to ride the bus out to the transfer point at the Bright Angel Trailhead. We were practically alone on the bus and when we got off we were treated to a view of three California condors!
California condors
California condors!
While we wanted to watch the condors for a bit, the bus to Hermit's Rest arrived almost instantly and so we got on and headed west, just us and the driver.

We were completely alone when we arrived at Hermit's Rest about 30 minutes later.
Hermit's Rest
Quite a difference from our experience yesterday evening at Mather Point. After a photo at the arch there we got our own private view of the canyon.
Near Hermit's Rest
Then we headed east on the Rim Trail. We stopped at lots of great overlooks and even caught a few views of the Colorado River thousands of feet below. We also saw some more wildlife in the form of a horned lizard and lots of pinyon jays.
Horned Lizard
Pinyon Jay

As we headed further east and the day got later, we started to see more people out and about. Still the crowds were much smaller than what we had seen yesterday and the views were impressive.
Pima Point View
Pima Point Overlook
Granite Rapids
Granite Rapids
Trailview Overlook
Eric near the Abyss
Mohave Point Overlook
Mohave Point Overlook
Hopi Point
Hopi Point Overlook
Noelle Hikes the Rim Trail
Noelle hikes the Rim Trail
Powell Monument
John Wesley Powell
As we approached the Bright Angel Trailhead we were starting to get tired. Still, we stopped to admire the many beautiful views.   We walked on a portion of the Trail of Time and soon found ourselves at the end of our hike.
Trail of Time
The Abyss
It was a nice, leisurely 7.8 mile hike!          

Later in the day we would head over to the Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetery to check things out.
Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetery
The most interesting grave that we found was that of artist Gunnar Widforss.
Widforss Grave

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