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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.

ribbon_falls_sign

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.

mules_Passing_bright_angel_campground_bridge

You go past the Ranger Station and Phantom Ranch to get on the North Kaibab Trail.

phantom_ranger_station

They will be getting the mules ready to take riders out at Phantom Ranch.

mules_waiting

You cut through the ranch area going past the cabins and canteen.

turkeys_on_canteen_roof

After passing the Phantom Ranch area you will be heading up the North Kaibab Trail.

nkt_06

The trail crosses the stream on bridges several times.
bridge_on_north_kaibab_trail

water_line_leak_on_nkt

nkt_near_swampy_part

nkt_10

nk_12

You cross the stream once more and take a short side trail over to the ribbon falls area.
alcove_1

ribbon_falls_from_alcove

You can walk up behing the falls and look out.
walk_to_rock

looking_out_from_behind_ribbon_falls

If you have the energy, it is only another mile up the North Kaibab Trail to Cottonwood Campground.

aproaching_cottonwood_campground

Cottonwood Ranger Station.
cottonwood_campground

When the man made high water event took place in November 2004 there were some intrepid rafters in the river.
rafters_in_flood

The Rangers had rafts with motors on them.
nps_boat_at_beach

Here is a photo of normal water level in the river.
low_water_level

Here is the water level as the flow increased during the high water event.
water_measure_tower_and_cable_car

The Park Service Employees spent a lot of time on the water taking flow measurements.
fiver_flow_2

river_flow_check

This "cable car" was there before either of the two bridges were built.
in_the_flood_02

When the Colorado is running red you can see why Powel named it The Bright Angel Creek.
bright_angel_meets_colorado

The twilight brings out colors.
colorado_red

colorado_sunset

Whatever your day brings, it's nice to get back to camp for some more of that yummy devitalized food.
deer_bright_angel_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.

Originally posted to jbob on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 07:32 AM PST.

Also republished by Phoenix Kossacks, National Parks and Wildlife Refuges, Pink Clubhouse, and Baja Arizona Kossacks.

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