Hiking The Grand Canyon

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Hiking the Grand Canyon I spent 5 years traveling America and have been to 40 states. I kept a detailed journal of my travels. One of my favorite places I visited was the Grand Canyon. My husband and I took an 18-mile day hike. We spent the night in Flagstaff and arrived early at the South Rim entrance. Of all of the pictures I have seen of the Grand Canyon, I was truly surprised by how many trees and how green the Grand Canyon was! I was really expecting a big barren red hole, but trees were everywhere. The panorama over the edge of the rim was overwhelming. We wanted to start our hike from Yaki Point at the South Kaibab Trailhead a few miles east of Bright Angel, and hike back up Bright Angel Trail, which emerges at Bright Angel Lodge. We took the free shuttle bus, which 45 minutes later took us to within 2 miles of the trailhead. We hiked from there until reaching Yaki Point at an elevation of around 7,200 feet. Once there, looking over the edge of the Grand Canyon is amazing, breathtaking, and unbelievable! I didn't get a true feel for how large and astounding the Grand Canyon is until I started to hike into it. South Kaibab Trail is 6.3 miles to the bottom and is one of the few trails in the park that follows the ridge lines instead of the canyons, it is very steep. This allowed us to see up the top and below to the bottom almost the whole way. In fact, just a few hundred yards into the descent, we saw the Colorado River almost a mile below. It made me feel like I had been thrust into the middle of the Canyon very quickly. The trail was not on the edge of a sheer cliff drop-off, but injury was certainly likely if one took a tumble off the trail. The terrain is rugged, but the trail is well groomed. As we descended further, we encountered markers that had been placed by the Park Service providing geology lessons as we passed from one layer of rock to another layer. The two changes that struck me the most were a brief white strip that contrasted sharply against the bright red layer below it. The other was an area near the bottom where lava had filled fissures of previous rock formations leaving a striking vertical red-and-black striped pattern. All together, in our hike from top to bottom, we traveled 6.7 miles, 5,000 vertical feet and 1.5 billion years of geological history. Upon reaching the bottom, we crossed over the Colorado River on a suspension footbridge. Once on the north side, the trail runs west to where we came upon an Anasazi Indian site. Only the foundation of some buildings and some old stone tools remained. The Anasazi were the ancestors of the Hopi and other modern Pueblo Indians. Further along River Trail, we came upon a marker relating the adventures of Captain John Wesley Powell, the leader of the first expedition to explore the Grand Canyon. Powell accomplished this feat by traveling in small boats down the Colorado River. We crossed back over the Colorado River via the second suspension footbridge where we could see through the bottom directly into the river. Once across the bridge, we found ourselves a few rocks to sit on, ate lunch, watched the river rafters go by, and rested. Then we continued west for another mile or so. The trail remained level, and at first, we spent a lot of time walking along the river's edge through sand deposits left from centuries of water pounding on the rocks. Actually, all of the trails were rather sandy, much to my surprise. This was due, we later learned, to the many sandstone formations comprising the Grand Canyon geology. Finally, Bright Angel Trail broke off to the left (south) and we began ascending. Once we started up the trail, we entered what seemed like a whole new world. When we began the ascent I had forgotten we had run into some fairly steep switchbacks because I was too busy looking around at the scenery. It was spectacular looking down at the trail we had already climbed. Bright Angel Trail follows Garden Creek, which flows, from the South Rim, running through its own little "mini" canyon within the Grand Canyon -- Garden Creek Canyon. We lost sight of the Colorado River pretty quickly. Bright Angel Trail was so green. The canyon was filled with Cottonwood trees for miles of the trail, which crosses over Garden Creek several times. One time, I crossed over the creek for a picture next to an old ranger station that was not in use anymore. The area looked like a scene described in a romance novel or a travel brochure. The creek was just shallow enough with little rocks protruding from the water to allow me to cross to the other side without getting my shoes the least bit damp. The little crooks in the red walls of the Canyon were filled in with young cottonwood trees providing ample shade and contrasting colors. Even the old Ranger station looked like it was posing for a postcard picture. There are apparently not many indigenous animal species viewable in the Grand Canyon because of the many people. However, we saw big-eared deer, I think they are really called mule deer and big-eared sq

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