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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Bright Angel Trail

The second and third day of our journey were spent on the bright angel trail. This is a 10 mile trail into the grand canyon. You actually hike all the way to the bottom and cross the Colorado river. We were hiking all the way down one day and hiking back out the next. There are a lot of ways that the hike is done and there is another campsite halfway down, but we only had one night so we were going all the way down. I was really excited about it until two days before when I looked up the trail on google images. All of a sudden I was really nervous. This is one of the pictures that made me anxious.
 Just an FYI this picture is only about 2 miles of switchbacks. I didn't know how many miles this was I just knew that was a lot of switchbacks especially with a heavy pack on. Obviously I wasn't going to bail on the trip so I sucked it up.

I will say it was long. 10 miles downhill, a lot of it being steep, with a pack on was hard on my legs. My calves were so sore. I would barely touch them with my fingers and they were sore. But it was so fun to hike into the grand canyon. Such a beautiful place. Here is our before shot!
 And then a selfie. Not quite sure what I am getting myself into.
 I actually took this picture at the end but to give you an understanding of what it was like the green trees you see at the bottom of the canyon there, look real close. That is 4.5 miles in. That is the Indian Garden Campground. You hike through the trees and then all of a sudden there is a drop off and you do all the switchbacks again. It was crazy. It was good to be ignorant.
Some random people took my picture on the way in. Beautiful views. It was pretty hot as well. Luckily the Bright Angel Trail on the south rim has a lot of shade and a lot of water.
 We hiked at a pretty good pace and only rested at the water stations. Like I said we were ignorant to what lay ahead. After going through Indian Garden I went around a corner and this was my view...
I guess we were not too the bottom of the canyon yet. A few more miles of switchbacks. After what seemed like forever, my back was hurting, we finally say the Colorado River!
 There were still a couple of miles until we would reach camp but it felt great to hit a milestone we actually knew about. The river is huge. It is so interesting that when you are at the bottom of the canyon you really can not quite comprehend the layers/depth of the canyon. It just seems like the top is right here in the picture. I can assure you it is not.

There are only two foot bridges over the Colorado river in Grand Canyon National Park. We got to see both. We crossed this one.
I have never been so happy to be in camp. The day was hard on my joints and muscles. The fitness part was really no problem but my body is not used to steep downhill with a pack on. I knew I would sleep well!

We woke up with the sun on Wednesday morning and headed out. We had 10 miles uphill and then a little bit of driving to get to our next hotel. Here is a group selfie. If you look hard you can see Lou coming up on the trail.
 It was really hot in the canyon on Wednesday. It actually got cooler the closer we got to the top.
 The views were breath taking.
 So many layers to this canyon. A camera really can't do it justice.
 The blue sky and red rock make an awesome combination.
The hike out was great for me. It was a good cardio workout. The older I get the more my body prefers uphill to downhill. We were starving when we finished the hike and were off to get some pizza and find our hotel. This experience made me realize I want to do a rim to rim to rim backpacking trip. That is what all the crazy people were doing, or go rim to rim in one day (23 miles) and have someone pick me up. Any takers, I will pay gas!

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