Rim to Rim: Day 3
It’s Rim-to-Rim day three and the coffee is good! This morning we cross the Colorado River. We were lucky enough to be in a group with a permit to head up the Bright Angel Trail (it’s a gorgeous hike, but even if your group doesn’t get this variation it’ll be incredible—no one ever complains about bad scenery at the Grand Canyon).
We travel along the Colorado for about a mile, then we split off. Over the next five miles, we will climb 1600 vertical feet to Indian Garden. This route takes us along water almost the whole way, and the plant life is prolific. We see a couple people running this trail (Nicole gets a crazy look in her eye, and I’m a little worried she might be making plans for our next trip), but I don’t want to miss a minute of these incredible views.
Indian Garden itself feels like another world. The Havasupai People used to do all their agriculture here when they still lived inside the canyon. There are more people here—lots of day-hikers come down here from the South Rim—but we’re not talking about bothersome crowds. Wildlife is plentiful, too. There are fish in the creeks, and as with anywhere else people gather, there are squirrels and ravens all over. We even see a family of deer, and our guide points out a doe that he’s been seeing since she was a baby a couple years ago. Other local fauna includes the Grand Canyon pink rattlesnake (a species that is only found in this one place), and great horned owls, sometimes bighorn sheep.
After Indian Garden we walk out 1.5 miles to Plateau Point. This part of the hike is what our guide calls “Grand-Canyon-Flat”—which is not flat, but it’s flatter than anything else we’ve hiked. We can see the Colorado and a lot of the ground we’ve covered. Our guide cooks dinner right there on the plateau (tasty burritos). We’re 1600 feet above the canyon floor and its rapids, and out here on the point we enjoy some silence while we eat and take in the beauty of the sunset around us. On the way back to camp for the night, we can see the headlamps of hikers along Bright Angel Trail climbing their way out at the end of their single-day Rim-to-Rim hike. Nicole gives me another crazy look as our guide tells us about the times he’s done the one-day trip. This time I kind of feel crazy enough to think about tackling it.
We walk back into camp and go to bed.