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      The El Tovar Hotel on the South Rim
DSC00017, ElTovar

The later part of November is when I prefer to hike and camp at the Grand Canyon. Temperatures and crowd levels are lower this time of year making it very pleasant.
Normally the fire season will be over by then and the air will be clear.
The North Rim is closed in Winter and usually shuts down by this time of year.

      Smoke from fires on the north rim in October 2007

This is the first installment of three Grand Canyon photo diaries. In this diary I will attempt to document the hike down into the canyon on the South Kaibab Trail. I like to stay overnight at the Bright Angel Lodge on the South Rim for two nights prior to hiking in. I will do a warm up hike on the Grand View Trail to Horseshoe Mesa and back the day before. I will get up early and use the car service that is available to arrive at the trailhead in the predawn darkness.
The photos are all taken be me and are not retouched.
They have been altered from the originals in size only.
I used to hike to the bottom of the canyon and camp each year. I have not been to Arizona since they enacted the "Show Me Your Papers" law.

       Kolb Brothers Studio

Hike down below the big orange boulder if you would like to see more rocks.

If you want to camp below the rim in the grand canyon a back country permit is required. Information about obtaining one can be found here. Trail information for hiking the corridor trails can be found here. I like to hike down the South Kaibab trail and up the Bright Angel trail. Start before sunrise each day to see the colors in that "special" light.
pre dawn light

pre dawn clouds

Rest stop at Cedar Ridge ( bathroom there )

Here are five photos from November 2004. The "Harvey Car" ( taxi ) dropped me off at the South Kaibab Trailhead in the dark during a snowstorm. There is a street light there in the parking lot and the snow was swirling around in every direction. I headed into the canyon and the snow stopped falling soon afterward. These photos are from near the trailhead down to where the snowline was, just past the cedar ridge area.






Back to some other years with nicer weather.
trail in special light

You will see the mules bringing fresh supplies down to Phantom Ranch and hauling trash back out to the rim.



Passing through different layers the geology changes with the rocks becoming older as you descend deeper into the canyon.



Just past "Skeleton Point" is the first view of the Colorado River and the Bright Angel side canyon at the bottom of the inner gorge.


Rest stop at "tip off" where you enter the inner gorge. ( bathroom there )

View of Bright Angel Campground and Phantom Ranch area. ( Green trees )
first_view_of Bright_Angel

Black Bridge comes into view below.

The mules crossing the bridge while heading back out loaded with trash.

Mouth of Bright Angel Canyon with Silver Bridge downstream.
silver_bridge_and Brigh_angel_creek

Black Bridge and Tunnel.
black_bridge_and _tunnel

Looking upstream from the black bridge.

Looking downstream from the black bridge with "boat beach" on the right.

Looking back to the tunnel from the black bridge.

Anasazi dwelling on banks of Colorado River.

Bright Angel Creek with campground on the right.bright_angel_campground

My favorite campsite there.

After setting up camp and a little nap it is always fun to go over to the canteen at Phantom Ranch for a few beers. Here is a picture of the turkey chasing mule. He and his rider were having fun chasing those turkeys around by the Ranger Station that afternoon.

When your in the canteen you can perform first aid on hike related wounds.
I purchased a bottle of "liquid skin" bandage to paint on the nasty blister my trekking poles delivered that day. By the time I felt it the skin was toast.
The hike in to the bottom on the South Kaibab Trail is hard. You will be sore, no doubt about it. Bring lots of Advil and some Tiger Balm. You'll be glad you did.

11:09 AM PT: Wow, I'm Honored to have my diary put in the Community Spotlight.
I can't stay on line now. I'll try to check back later.

Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 2:04 AM PT: Thank you to all for loooking at my photo diary and the great comments. Thanks also for the reposts and rescue. I'll publish part 2 in this series on Sunday morning. (EST) Why Sunday? Because "Something is going to happen, Something Wonderfull"...

Originally posted to jbob on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 07:28 AM PST.

Also republished by Baja Arizona Kossacks, National Parks and Wildlife Refuges, and Community Spotlight.

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