Saturday, February 9, 2013

Grand Canyon National Park: South Kaibab Trail

This morning I awoke early, ate a quick breakfast and then got my pack ready for the trip down into the Grand Canyon. The forecast called for snow and I awoke to find about 2 inches of it on the ground. Still, all 11 of us that had signed up for the backpack to Phantom Ranch were ready to go bright and early. We caught a ride from some of the other trainees and hit the trail in a stiff wind and cold temperatures.
Hiking in Snow photo headedDown_zps6dc578c7.jpg
Snow fell as we started our ascent.
Snowy Canyon photo SnowyView_zpsef110f60.jpg
The Hikers photo Hikers_zpsb436ac76.jpg
Not the most promising conditions for the start of a long hike.

As we made our way deeper into the canyon, the views got really spectacular.
Snowy Trail and Pinnacle photo ApproachingSpire_zps12b0dba9.jpg
Snow and Tree photo SnowyTree_zps1d8eab65.jpg
The white snow contrasted nicely with the red rocks of the canyon walls. most of the group stopped at a nice little overlook and we took a group shot there.
Backpacking Group photo BackpackingGroup_zpsd74f8bee.jpg
Eventually the snow got less deep and instead of traveling through  frozen precipitation we had mud to deal with and slide around on.
Approaching River photo headingDowntotheRiver_zps89c3a0fe.jpg
I was really happy that I had purchased and brought my Microspikes. Others only had the instep crampons that they borrowed from the Albright Center. The crampons did not work very well as they tended to slide up the sides of people's boots and poke them in the legs.

Headed Amongst the Buttes photo JoshHeadedDown_zpsa9db673b.jpg
As we made our way down in elevation we could eventually see the Colorado River.
First River View photo FirstRiverView_zps91106bc0.jpg
It was brown and muddy looking. The scenery was just as amazing as ever as we descended further and further.
We passed a train of mules
Mules photo mules_zpsd1e39e22.jpg
and gradually approached the Colorado River.
Red Rock photo AlmostDown_zpsbd07f879.jpg
Hikers and River photo hikersandRiver_zpsd5e707eb.jpg
Colorado River photo GreatRiverView_zpsf712666d.jpg
Soon  the Black Bridge came into view. This bridge would be our way across the river. Before stepping onto the bridge we passed through a tunnel.
Heading into Tunnel photo ApproachingTunnel_zps01b986d3.jpg
In Tunnel photo inTunnel_zps4e6b3681.jpg
The tunnel immediately gave way to the aforementioned suspension bridge.
Exiting Tunnel photo mitzioutofTunnel_zps507b9661.jpg
After crossing the bridge there was a small section of Ancestral Puebloan ruins which John Wesley Powell mentioned in the journal that he kept as he and others floated down the dangerous and unknown Colorado River.

From the pueblo ruins it was a short hike to Bright Angel Creek
Kaibab Creek photo kaibabCreek_zps1b776f3f.jpg
and the Bright Angel Campground where we would be spending the night. We sent up camp here and then headed over to the Canteen at Phantom Ranch.
Kaibab Creek photo CreekandCrags_zpsd7ae644e.jpg
Headed to Phantom Ranch photo headedtoPhantomRanch_zpsaff31dc9.jpg
Canteen photo Canteen_zps4e4b8661.jpg
We went inside for a look around and then, with plenty of time to kill, hiked up the North Kaibab Trail for a bit.
On North Kaibab Trail photo NorthKaibabTrail_zps50a9ff4f.jpg
Low Clouds photo LowClouds_zps2298ba8d.jpg
We crossed the creek on several bridges
Hiking to Bridge photo BridgeOverKaibabCreek_zps790a7a27.jpg
and eventually found ourselves at the site of the burst park water line. At this point myself and several others turned around to head back to camp.                          

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