An early start onto the trail begins with the starry skies and a full Moon but soon turns into dawn and sun on the distant South Rim.
All shapes and textures of rock abound. Imagine the heat and pressure to fold and squeeze these layers that jut up into the sky.
This large block has wonderful moss and lichens echoing the local sculptures
The bridge detour to Ribbon Fall.
The most lush area on the way down from Cottonwood. The trail winds through rushes and tall grasses for a few hundred yards. As I walk through I can feel the humidity and a cool breeze. What a great contrast to sweltering heat.
Around the bend and a few more minutes....the canyon opens up a bit and the creek is running off to the right. Grasses appear and trees emerge as I get closer to Phantom Ranch.
After getting set up at campsite 2, it's time to take a walk around. Continuing down along the creek the Colorado awaits. You can hear it before seeing it.
I decide to take a walk across the first suspension bridge and then back over the other one to return to camp...on the other side of the silver suspension bridge, there's a River Trail which climbs up and follows a path chiselled into the rock face over to the Black Bridge.
Here's the view looking back after crossing the silver bridge. Tomorrow morning, after crossing here, the Bright Angel Trail to the South Rim goes off to the left of the picture.
It's amazing how turbid the water is. Lots of sediment, and tremendous eddy currents mean no swimming...
For a few vignettes of the River Trail walk from this bridge up and across to Black Bridge,
Most of those who stay in the cabins of Phantom Ranch enjoy a hearty meal prepared for them. By applying months before hiking day, a limited number of hikers can join in for dinner and/or breakfast. To enjoy the food vicariously, I tagged along at the end of the queue. The guy in front of me was the last patron they were expecting, so I got a quick look inside the door, long enough to smell the stew and the other wonderful aromas.
Sunset at the end of a busy day. After a bit of night photography, it's time for a few hours sleep.
Food and aromatic things go in the ammo box to keep critters from dining.
One of the things I really enjoy on hikes is talking to people along the trails. You never know what interesting things you'll share and learn.
As we're setting up our stuff at the campsite, a Ranger visits to check permits and chat about important things like food storage. Well, it turns out that he's a volunteer, and has been here for decades. Long ago he was active in dolphin and whale research, and countless other outdoor-loving activities. It was great to talk with you Sjors.
This link, working as of Oct 2011, kindly takes you to a book excerpt with some stories involving this intrepid guy..
One connection leads to another. Here's a link to the travels of Nathan Healy by bicycle from Anchorage Alaska down to the southern most city in the world - Ushuaia in Argentina. He spent some time in the Grand Canyon and bumped into Sjors as well. Nathan's photo journey is a must see in its own right!