The maximum permited stay at Bright Angel Campground is two nights. If you choose to stay this gives you a full day to explore. Depending on your condition there are many opportunities for things to do. These options can vary in exertion level. You might be sore from the hike down. I think the best way to help your body recover is to hike the 13 miles round trip up the North Kaibab Trail to Ribbon Falls.
If you are not up for that hike there are other options. Sometimes it can be very interesting right there by the river. When the the Colorado River's flow was altered by Glen Canyon Dam in 1966 the deposition of natural sediments was halted. They have started a program of man made floods reversing this and improving conditions for wildlife in the river. Rebuilding the sandy areas is important to provide habitat for the aquatic critters. Last Sunday Nov. 18, 2012 they sent the first of many planned large floods downstream. This event was set to last for six days. Today the river flow will be returning to the man made normal and those critters will be finding new homes and making little critters. For more information about this program go here. I was in the canyon for one of three prototype high water events in November 2004. If you are interested in some background on the program go here.
Hike on past the big orange rock to see more of my photos.
When heading out on the hike to Ribbon Falls it is good to get an early start. I like to get up and eat a breakfast of "devitalized" ( freeze dried ) camping food while it's still dark. First light is a good time to get going.
You go past the Ranger Station and Phantom Ranch to get on the North Kaibab Trail.
They will be getting the mules ready to take riders out at Phantom Ranch.
You cut through the ranch area going past the cabins and canteen.
After passing the Phantom Ranch area you will be heading up the North Kaibab Trail.
If you have the energy, it is only another mile up the North Kaibab Trail to Cottonwood Campground.
I hope you have enjoyed these photos.
They do not truly capture what it is like to be there.
You have to go and experience it first hand.
The first part of this diary can be found here.
I will publish the third and final part ( hike out ) later this week.
10:08 AM PT: Thanks for the republishing, nice comments and looking at my photos.
The opening of the flood gates upstream to restore habitat at the expense of lost electrical generation gives me some hope for the human species.
The aquatic critters getting a chance to find new places to live and reproduce is "wonderful". Send positive vibes down to the river for them in your thoughts.
I'm going off line for a while. I'll try to check back later on.