December 10, 2010
This is a case where I have little memory of a hike in the Canyon – just a nice set of photos with a date attached.
I’d left the South Rim for a full 4 months in 2010, spending the late summer through early Fall backpacking the Grand Tetons and thru-hiking the Colorado Trail.
The hikes were followed by a cross-country road trip to visit family in Pennsylvania. I tagged numerous states along the way, including places like Badlands NP, Mount Rushmore, and Iowa’s Field of Dreams. By the time I landed in Pennsylvania, I was able to say I’d visited all the lower 48 states in my lifetime.
Upon returning to the Canyon, I opted for this relatively routine hike to get re-acclimated.
I was able to start at sunrise, which occurs relatively late in December.
I went down the Bright Angel Trail, and ultimately included the Lower Miners Route and Tonto Trail as a spur of the moment variation.
In order to simplify trailhead logistics, I walked the Tonto west from there back to the BA Trail, and up and out.
The Kolb Seep along the upper Bright Angel Trail was frozen solid.
I lingered at Phantom Ranch for my usual cup of coffee. As you can see, the cottonwood foliage here was at its peak.
I went a short distance up the North Kaibab Trail to get some more photos of the cottonwoods.
From Phantom I opted to climb up via the lower miner’s route to the Tonto.
There wasn’t much daylight on this short winter day. Sunset fell before I was able to get back to Indian Garden, so I was left to hike out in full darkness despite starting at sunrise.
But I didn’t mind, and was happy to be back at the Canyon.
It was great to get reacquainted with the landscape below the rim. The foliage was incredible, and early December tends to be the most quiet and peaceful time of year at the Canyon.
It’s clear that I used an old pocket camera rather than my usual DSLR. I was low on funds after the long vacation, so I’d sold all my DSLR equipment at the Adorama Camera shop in Manhattan during my visit to Pennsylvania. I was always looking to replace my old cameras for the latest upgrades, and this hike caught me in transitional phase (like Jules says near the end of Pulp Fiction).