Today we will rise approximately 3000 feet in a little over 4-½ miles.
The trail goes back and forth in
switchback fashion so that a ½ mile traveled by foot may only result in a couple hundred foot rise; so close but
yet so far.
At the left, Ryan surveys the famous Devil's Corkscrew which starts small and finishes with the last leg
over ½ mile long.
We're in our 5th day of hiking and are in pretty good shape, but the altitude is starting to get to us.
I can't say that any of us are tired or exhausted (don't get me wrong, the hike up is hard work!), but
it seems as if we are breathing nothing and we find ourselves taking frequent breaks.
The temperature has been aroung 80° and clear, but we've been walking in shade most of the way today.
This would be a real challenge during the heat of summer!
As we near the top of Bright Angel Trail, the going gets steeper and steeper.
The white stuff that looks like snow on the cliff face in back of us is the real color of the
limestone where the red has been eroded away.
The reddish color on the rest of the cliff faces are iron oxides staining the surface.
This section of the trail is actually quite crowded compared to the relative isolation of the last 5 days.
There are day hikers, tourists, mule trains, ladies in high heels, and many unprepared folks on the last 1-½ miles
Many of them, upon seeing the four of us with full packs, would ask, "Did you come from the bottom?"
We all took great delight in watching their faces when we would answer, "No, we came from the other side!"
Almost at the top, there was a detour in the trail for some construction.
Most of us went the right way--need I say more?
At the Top
After 5 days, 23-½ miles rim-to-rim, over 30 miles on foot, we city computer geeks congratulate
ourselves on a job well done.
While it's not climbing Mount Everest, it's something that many millions of folks dream of doing, but
never get around to it.
Not only is it a trip of a lifetime for many people, the sense of accomplishment
is almost undescribable. I can say that it gives one a deeper appreciation of nature and the
human spirit and capability.
I'm both exhilerated at the accomplishment and sad that it's over.
Almost Last, not Least
The oblligatory After picture.
We're dirty, smelly, tired, and hungry.
Our first stop, a change into some clean clothes, then a great big, juicy, artery clogging cheeseburger
with fries and onion rings.
... and then home.
I hope you have enjoyed sharing some of our trip with us and hope that this might be an inspiration for
at least one other person to try a trek like this.
As I turn for one last look across the Grand-est of Canyons, I share with you my innermost thought,
"I'll be back."