Snowing on the South Rim in the morning
I’d never hiked the South Kaibab trail into Grand Canyon before. It is a steep, 7 mile (11.26 km) ridge trail with no potable water. Not a great place to be during the heat of summer. However, a winter hike on it was ideal.
Bright Angel Camp
Unfortunately, my body didn’t quite agree about the idea and was extremely exhausted after 7.5 hours downhill. Plus we basically didn’t get into camp until after dark.
Cabin rental through Xanterra
So the next day, after a very chilly mid 20 degree F night and sleeping in until 8am, we first explored Phantom Ranch.
The Canteen offers food & beverages, full meals require reservations
In 1922, the Fred Harvey Company commissioned Mary Jane Colter to redesign the original tourist camp built by David Rust twenty years earlier.
We went inside to warm up over a cup of cocoa and write postcards.
Everything used and sold here is carried in by mule train, as is all the garbage carried out.
After sitting in this warmth for a little while our legs started to stiffen up so we walked back to camp for water and snacks to hike a little ways back up the trail we came down after dark. The Bright Angel campground is nestled between Bright Angel Creek…
…and towering walls of 4.7 billion year old Vishnu Schist.
Closeup of the ancient schist with quartz and granite intrusions
Though a remote and rugged setting, this area has long been a destination for humans.
Almost 1000 years ago native people called Ancestral Puebloans (Anasazi) built their homes along the river.
Can’t say as I blame them.
Yet crossing the swift Colorado River had to be a hazardous undertaking before the National Park Service completed the present Kaibab Suspension Bridge in 1928.
The one-ton, 550-foot- long suspension cables were carried down into the canyon on the shoulders of mostly Havasupai tribesmen who walked single file down the trail while carrying the cables. And I thought carrying a 32 pound backpack was over much!
Confluence of Bright Angel Creek and Colorado River
But this day’s little hike was light and easy. And after seeing what was too dark to see the night before we headed back to camp.
Looking up at the snow on the South Rim
Thinking of the next day’s hike uphill. But that’s another story.
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