Let’s start with my confession
I have a confession to make. The hike up Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon was the hardest of this series to write.
Not because the hike wasn’t notable or fun, but because it was so memorable, I had a hard time finding the words to adequately describe it.
Let’s just say it was magical.
The forecast for the day had been for rain at lower elevations and snow up at the top of the canyon so I expected to be wet.
Everything we read about the Devil’s Corkscrew said it would be hot , so I expected to be uncomfortably hot and sweaty.
After having some knee issues on the way down, I expected the 7 hour uphill hike to cause havoc with my knees.
The Bright Angel Trail follows a fault-line 6,850 ft through trees and brush so I expected nice views but nothing as amazing as the views like our hike down Kaibab Trail.
With all these expectations, you might ask:
What made it magical?
In a word, everything!
I’m still not sure I can adequately describe the beauty I saw that day, so I’m going to let our pictures do most of the talking.
We couldn’t have asked for better weather for our hike up Bright Angel Trail. The temps were cool, yet not uncomfortably so. We started out in our down jackets and were able to scale down to light-weight jackets within an hour. Even the Devil’s Corkscrew was cool and comfortable. Oh, and no rain for the entire hike!
Water, water, and more water…
Not only did we get to hike beside flowing water and watch it fall from a waterfall right alongside the trail; we got to cross it at several locations.
The trail was alive with color…
The normally brown canyon was green with new growth. Trees, bushes, cactus, and flowers were in bloom everywhere adding splashes of color to the green landscape. It certainly didn’t look like the desert landscape described in the books we’d read.
The spectacular view in front of us…
The view of the canyon wall (and knowing our destination was at the top of that wall), was amazing. The thought that we would reach that destination in one day was almost unbelievable.
The breathtaking view behind us…
As if the view in front of us wasn’t stunning enough, the view from behind was exhilarating (that little thin white line in the picture below is the Bright Angel Trail).
More amazing views…
As we neared the top of the canyon, we could see a storm moving in on the north side of the canyon. Although we were still in the sun with nice temps, we could see the rain falling on the other side of the canyon. We knew it was heading our way and were hoping to make it out of the canyon before it hit (which we luckily did).
As we neared the top of the canyon, temperatures dropped and we encountered snow flurries.
I found myself giggling inside at how we must have looked hiking those last 100 yards in t-shirts and long sleeves when everyone around us was bundled up against the snow and cold.
An amazing hike comes to an end…
Our smiles at the Bright Angel Trailhead sign says it all – It was exhilarating and an experience that will stay with us forever.
Our day wasn’t done at this point, yet we had some unfinished business.
How do we to celebrate Rick’s 70th birthday, his 72nd hike in the Canyon, and a wonderful trip with two absolutely wonderful people?
Why, with beer and pizza….
…And a celebration kiss.
Thank you, Rick and Jean!
I realize I didn’t say a lot about the trail itself so if you want to know more about hiking the trail, the following pages tell more than I ever could. Grand Canyon Trust, National Park Service, or Hiking Project.
To read about our entire adventure, check out the beginning of our journey, our hike down the Kaibab Trail, and a day at the bottom of the canyon.