Memories from November 12, 2018.
Tonight my permit is for the Bright Angel Campground which is about 10 miles from the South Rim, down the well graded Bright Angel Trail. This means I get an easy morning and a late start.
I spent the night in Tusayan and so eat breakfast there and resupply out of the general store. Cliff Bars are 2-3x the reasonable price which makes this feel very much like a trail town. The cashier lets me pack everything into my backpack in the store which is nice because it’s a little brisk outside. I’m bringing a fuel canister and intend to cook dinners on this next stretch.
I need more water capacity as one of my water bottles disappeared through a hole in the netting on the side of my pack and one of my bladders had a acquired a slow leak. Since my nutrition is usually terrible, I decided to get a pair of half gallon smoothie/juice drinks. They probably have enough calories to count as food for the rest of the day and the bottles are too large to slip through existing holes in my pack’s mesh side pockets.
After a second breakfast in Grand Canyon National Park, I cruise down the Bright Angel Trail more or less as expected. The top is a little cold and the wind whips up dust devils. The views are OK but lack the wow factor which I think a longer traverse through multiple drainages would bring.
Strangely, one of the things which I think is most visually interesting is where the trail switchbacks tightly against an interesting backdrop. The trails I’ve been on so far in the Grand Canyon were faint enough that you’d rarely get more than a glimpse of them in the distance.
It’s also interesting to try to follow the water pipe which carries water from shortly below the north rim over to the South Rim’s bit of civilization. I assume they do this so there’s less pumping required though you do pass a pumping station. Tracing wires, which I assume are power lines when they appear was also interesting. The lines themselves are thin enough that they’re hard to see but you can spot the posts and try to guess where they go next.
The Bright Angel Campground is maintained by the park and so has flush toilets, running water, and campsites with clear boxes in front where you can put your permit to prove you belong. So many humans and their things. Is this really the Hayduke?
There is a guy portaging his bike so he can ride the AZT. The Grand Canyon is the only place on that trail that wheels aren’t allowed.