Days 2 and 3 in the Grand Canyon – September 9th and 10th 2016
SHADE N’ SNAKE
We packed up and left Bright Angel Campground well before sunrise for our next destination, Indian Gardens Campground ~3.5 miles away on the Bright Angel Trail. Pretty gentle hike relative to first day. Bats still flying prior to sunrise. Nice view of the Colorado River. A little bit of sand. Lots of ups and downs and the usual switchbacks.
Couple of cool streams to dip our heads into. We were the 1st to arrive in Indian Gardens at around 8 a.m. This was our favorite campground for its plentiful shade, enormous cottonwoods, even more deer, pockets of marshy terrain, a tiny little campground library, and its proximity for an optional evening hike 1.6 miles out sans backpack to catch the sunset at Plateau Point.
We rested and snacked most of the day. Visited with our new Utah friends. I walked pretty well, shuffling even on flat ground, without much pain though, still popping ibuprofen.
At dusk on our way back from watching sunset at Plateau Point we had a close encounter with a corral pink rattlesnake. I uttered a loud unintelligible throat sound, stomped, and grabbed Mike’s shoulder for him to stop. The snake retreated silently. Never heard any rattles. On the way out an hour earlier he commented “This looks like it could be prime rattlesnake country.” So it was.
This was our 2nd and final night in the Canyon for this trip. The stars were amazing. We slept alright despite intermittent barking of a noisy ringtail cat harassing some campers a few sites down.
Again, we were up before sunrise. As we made the 4.5 mile ascent, shaded by the canyon walls, we encountered lots of hikers headed down. Strong colognes and soap aromas were offensive to us. I’m sure the odiferous offense was mutual given that we hadn’t had real bath in several days. Stopped often to stay hydrated and catch our (mostly my) breath and to admire the view.
Saw petroglyphs. Sadly, in out eagerness to get a shower and some breakfast we did not even pause and have a park ranger snap a photo of our dusty selves together at the South Rim. Just individual shots.
After a huge breakfast at the Bright Angel lodge we did some souvenir shopping and then drove to the roadside rim and sat in the shade in our camp chairs. We took in the view of where we had been the past several days and enjoyed watching the reactions of people seeing the canyon for first time. There was the college kid who ran around in circles in excitement breathing loudly and exclaiming “oh my God, oh my God!”, the nervous mother who was extremely upset with her kids for even getting 10 feet away from the edge, and everything in between those extremes.
We checked into our room at the Yavapai Lodge that afternoon, strolled along the Rim trail in the village, and took in dessert and a glass of wine on the back porch of El Tovar Hotel overlooking the canyon at sunset. Perfect way to end this portion of our trip.
At this point, like many others on that porch, I was doing the “canyon shuffle.” It was a challenge to get out of the chair and make my way down the back porch steps. -not from the wine, but because of my very sore legs.