Monday, May 5, 2008

Days Ten and Eleven

Days ten and eleven were consumed by a hike down into the Grand Canyon, all the way to the Colorado River and the canyon floor. There were no camping permits available, so I scored a permit to bunk in a dorm at the Phantom Ranch at the bottom. I took the Kaibab South trail down and Bright Angel back up the next day. Kaibab is about six miles with a mile vertical drop, which took about four hours. Bright Angel is just under ten miles with a mile vertical climb and took a bit over six. For those of you who live in Chicago, the hike out of the canyon was like walking downtown from Oak Park and then climbing the Sears Tower four times. Pretty brutal but totally worth it. The Grand Canyon is just the most amazing place...

The South Kaibab trail down.

Note the path zigzagging all the way down that big rock formation.

I thought it might be a condor, but upon closer inspection it turns out it's just a raven.

A mule train coming in the opposite direction. As a tourist you can ride a mule down into the canyon, but mules are also the only way to get supplies, luggage, mail, and pretty much anything else to the canyon floor.

Halfway down, at Skeleton Point.

Finally! The bridge across the river off in the distance! There are two bridges that cross the Colorado here at the bottom. Both are used by hikers, only this one is used by the mules. They can see through the bottom of the other one and categorically refuse to cross it. The steel suspension cables for this bridge are 168 meters long, and had to be carried down on the shoulders of men as it was impossible to get them down by mule. Makes you grateful for your desk job.

Tired and dusty.

Getting closer...

The Colorado, from eye level at last.

The Silver Bridge just after dawn the next morning.

One last look at the Colorado.

The morning sun starting to hit the upper parts of the canyon.

Another mule train, this one headed down.

Camp back up on the rim, and a gorgeous sky.

The Official Phantom Ranch Paper Brain. Food! Shelter! Maslow's hierarchy in action... My needs that evening were quite different and are reflected by my paperweights.


Alina Dijk said...

Hé Jacob!

Tjonge jonge, in wat voor geweldige wildernis ben je je nu weer beland? Ik zal later alles beter lezen (ben nu eigenlijk aan het werk), maar aan de foto's te zien ziet het er indrukwekkend uit.

Hoe is het eigenlijk met je? Met mij alles goed. Had afgelopen week een paar dagen vrij i.v.m. koninginnedag en 4&5 mei. En eind mei ga ik met mijn vriend nog een weekje naar Gent en brugge (België). Daar heb ik heel veel zin in.
Jammer dat het niet gelukt is elkaar te treffen in Nederland. Hoop desondanks dat je een leuk verblijf had.

Een goede reis nog!

Hartelijke groet,

Herman en Joke said...

Hoi Jacob,

Fantastisch foto's van 'n geweldige reis. Die ouwe D70 doet het nog goed. Wij krijgen zo steeds meer zin in onze reis, straks in de zomer. Veel plezier en we blijven je volgen

herman en joke said...

Sorry, we hadden 'n berichtje gemist, dachten steeds dat het plaatsen van 'n comment mislukte!! Stomme hollanders!

Anonymous said...

Is that a skeleton at "The Point"? Oh no, it's just half of the Jacob that started down into the canyon deep earlier that day.