Friday, May 25, 2012

Grand Canyon - Ribbon Falls to Phantom Ranch

By now our group of intrepid hikers were feeling very comfortable with each other. However, I could sense that three of our group, the medical professionals, were going through phone withdrawal. There was much discussion about the availability of electricity to recharge phones at Phantom Ranch and whether there would be any signal.

So we continued further down the valley. It's seven miles from Cottonwood Campground to Phantom Ranch, the same as from the North Rim to Cottonwood. However the descent is only from 4080' at Cottonwood to 2546' at Phantom Ranch.

It's not all barren because of the Bright Angel Creek.

A prickly pear in bloom.

One of several bridges over the creek.

This cement mixer seemed a bit incongruous. I suspect they had to helicopter it in.

I wondered why they needed the mixer and here is the reason. They had concreted a supporting wall for the path,

By now it was starting to get really hot and when we found some shade, we took advantage of it for a rest stop. By now, Kelli was into 'the end is just around the corner' routine.

By now I had worked out why all my training walks had not been in vain. The training did not really let me walk faster or longer, but it did let me recover more quickly when we took a break. A brief stop and a drink of water and perhaps a snack were all that I needed.

Kelli took the lead for the walk into Phantom Ranch. I think she wanted to make sure we didn't slow down to a shuffle. The walking wasn't so bad, but the heat was intense. We were drinking lots and lots of water but we didn't sweat.

Rock face.

Most of this day's walk was on the level, with very few steep slopes or climbs.

I was intrigued by this bent over pole.

Yet another bridge. This area is known as 'the Box' and if you are standing on the South Rim near the Visitors Center, it is quite visible.

A welcome overhang provided relief from the sun.

Another bridge with a bend in it.

By now we were down into the Vishnu Schist area. It's basically granite and fairly dark in colour. Interestingly, the shiny black of the rock reflects the sun but also absorbs it and emits it as radiation.

We asked Kelli which part of the canyon was her favourite and she answered, 'the Box'.

On and on we trudged. It was about here that I felt I was 'hitting the wall'.

Mule deer. They get the name from their large ears.

The last bridge before the campground.

A most welcome sight. The Bright Angel Campground is right beside Phantom Ranch.

And so we arrived at Phantom Ranch. You can click on the image to get a look at the map. Even though it was a much easier walk than the day before, I still felt exhausted. Primarily it was the heat that took away my energy.

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