Grand Canyon National Park
South Rim to Phantom Ranch to South Rim
March 1 - 6, 2008
Eli and I flew to Phoenix on March 1, picked up a rental car, and drove to Flagstaff. The next morning on March 2, we got up and drove to the South Rim, where we got backcountry reservations for Bright Angel campground for March 3, followed by Indian Garden on March 4. We hiked out on March 5, and flew home from Phoenix that evening, arriving back in Baltimore on March 6.
This was Eli's first visit to the Grand Canyon South Rim, and other than having to wait a lot for his dad's slow hiking speed, he had fun. Eli had visited the North Rim when we all went there in 1997, but he was very young. I also took one of my aerial photos planes along and flew it at the Tip-Off for some photos of the inner gorge. Some of those aerial photos were posted here at RCGroups back in 2008, and I have put the best ones on this page as well.
March 2, 2008 - Drive along South Rim to East Rim, Watchtower
After getting our backcountry reservations for each campground, and our dinner and breakfast reservations at Phantom Ranch, we drove along the South Rim all the way to Watchtower. We also went into Tusayan for the IMAX presentation of the Grand Canyon movie. We stayed at the Bright Angel Lodge that evening.
March 3, 2008 - South Rim, Yaki Point, South Kaibab Trail to Phantom Ranch / Bright Angel Campground
We got up, left our car at the Bright Angel Lodge, took the shuttle bus over to the South Kaibab Trailhead at Yaki Point, and began our hike to Phantom Ranch. There was still ice along the very top sections of the trails, so we had bought in-step strap-on crampons, which made walking on the ice much easier. There were many California Condors flying at Skeleton Point, with one landing on the trail less than 50 feet away from us. I was too slow with my camera to get that photo. We eventually made it across the Black Bridge and to Bright Angel Campground. After setting up camp, we explored and rested, and had dinner at the Phantom Ranch canteen.
When we reached the junction of the Tonto Plateau Trail just above the Tip-Off, I flew my RC plane and got some very nice aerial photos of the inner gorge.
March 4, 2008 - Bright Angel Campground, Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden Campground
We had breakfast at Phantom Ranch. After breaking camp, we hiked across the Silver Bridge and along the River Trail, and then climbed up to the Tonto Plateau, and set up camp at Indian Garden. Chris hiked out to Plateau Point for sunset.
March 5, 2008 - Indian Garden, Bright Angel Trail to South Rim
Eli had to slow down a bit on this section, waiting for me, but I finally made it out to the South Rim. We had lunch at Bright Angel Lodge restaurant, and then drove back to Phoenix to catch our red-eye flight home.