After hiking 7 miles down the North Kaibab trail and staying at Cottonwood campground my hiking companion had to hike back up 4170 feet while I headed another 7 miles down to Phantom Ranch and hiking to the Colorado River where I would begin my rafting adventure. Mine was certainly the easier journey with only a 1534 foot drop in elevation.
Really a gentle walk next to Bright Angel Creek.
August 15, 1869 – “Early in the afternoon we discover a stream entering from the north-a clear, beautiful creek, coming down through a gorgeous red canyon. We conclude to name it ‘Bright Angel’.” –John Wesley Powell
And through “the box” which is one of my favorite sections of the North Kaibab trail.
The intrusions of Zoroaster granite into the Vishnu schist create an abstract sort of geo-art.
I made it to Phantom Ranch in four hours and beat the heat in the box. The high at the Ranch went to 106F so the box could easily have reached 125F.
The South Rim staff going on the lower Colorado River trip would hike down later that afternoon and evening and we’d all be staying at the National Park Service bunkhouse at Phantom Ranch. Thank goodness it’s furnished with a huge full kitchen, two bathrooms with showers and AC.
Only one little problem, my gear and the other North Rim rafter’s didn’t make it down to the bunkhouse on the mules. And neither did our planned spaghetti dinner or breakfast.
Luckily a helicopter from the South Rim was already scheduled to Roaring Springs Ranger Residence and dropped the missing gear and dinner off near Phantom Ranch saving the mule skinner from making a second trip. We ate good that night, instead of trail food, and slept on bunkbeds before heading for the river in the morning.
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