Mile 698, Bright Angel Campground

Another bitter cold morning in the Kaibab Plateau. Although it didn’t freeze, the gusty north wind made it very raw outside. I took the easy route for breakfast, buying a danish and coffee and sitting in the store cafe for an hour or so. But once I got going and dropped 20 feet below the rim and out of the wind it was cool and pleasant, making for perfect hiking weather.

The hike itself was of course fantastic. I took pictures, but with a sense of futility. They will be nice pictures, but will fall utterly short of conveying the actuality and presence of the rock. It’s just too big. At the Manzanita rest stop some hikers asked if the Canyon was my favorite part of the AZT. I said it was an unfair question. No place compares. It is of its own kind and you can’t classify it with other sights and experiences. But I guess that answer is not really any different than a simple “yes”.

Got down to the Bright Angel camp, pitched my tent and headed up to the Phantom Ranch store to buy a cold beer or two. But the store is closed 4-8 pm and I was a few minutes too late, dashing my dreams of enjoying a cold frosty at the bottom of the Canyon.

My consolation was to soak my feet and dunk my head in the creek and then mosey down to the River to watch the sun set and light up the canyon walls. That’s a pretty good second best outcome.