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661 Grand Canyon
Bright Angel Trail
Part Three - Ascent

the trail to the rim

Bright Angel Trail is in the Corner

On our hike to the Rim from Indian Gardens, we tried to prevent overheating by slowing our pace, drinking all the water we could while hiking, and taking advantage of any speck of shade. Each practice had mixed results. When we slowed our pace we used less energy, but that required us to walk longer in the increasingly hotter sun. Carrying more water to drink, gave us cooling refreshment, but it also meant that we were carrying more weight and working harder and thus getting hotter. Taking advantage of the shade had few adverse effects, other than for every second we stopped was a second longer we were exposed to the sun. We had to make a lot of hard choices.

At the first rest house (3 mile) we were ready for a break. Amy was very hot. The shelter was filled with hot hikers so we sat outside near the water spigot in the shade. Amy soaked herself in the water seeking relief. After a lengthy cooling, we re-started.

No hikers we saw climbing up, toward the rim, looked happy. They all looked as if they were searching for the strength to move another step without exploding from the heat. As the hot bunch ascended (us included), we were met with an onslaught of descenders. Yes, in the heat of the day, these smiling, carefree descenders heard the sirens of the Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail.

We saw families walking down the trail. There were couples, seemingly newly weds, strong hikers, weak hikers, old hikers, young hikers, a pregnant woman, a hiker carrying a plastic cup of water as his water supply, and Boy Scouts. Some of the hikers carried packs with I am assuming extra water, but most of the hikers carried little to no supplies. An astonishing number of hikers did not even carry a water bottle with them. All of these hikers were under the grips of the sirens calling for them to go lower into the Canyon. All looked at the uphill hikers and somehow thought that when they - themselves, turned and became ascenders, the climb would be as easy as walking down the hill.

At the next rest house, we once again sat outside the crowded shelter. One man was trying to borrow a mobile phone that worked below the rim. His trip was taking longer than expected. He asked to borrow mine and was taken back when I said that I did not carry one.

A Park Employee came walking down the trail while we sat cooling. She carried a reflective umbrella, we wished we had ours. Her job seemed to be checking on the hikers well being. Perhaps the best thing she could have done was to blockade the trail near the trailhead and shoot anyone who tried to pass and descend. Shooting sounds extreme, but it would have been more humane than letting them hike carefree down the trail only to die by spontaneous combustion when they turned and ascended.

As we neared the rim and the end of our hike, we wanted to sit for a while and watch for the folks whom we had tried to warn not to descend, as they returned to the trailhead. The only problem was we had cold beverages in the vehicle and our thirst was more important.

We were happy we made it to the Rim with relative ease. Oh, we were really hot, but I guess it is all relative.


Happy to Hike the Bright Angel trails - part 3


Grand Canyon - Bright Angel Trail - part 1 - preparations

Grand Canyon - Bright Angel Trail - part 2 - descent

Grand Canyon - Bright Angel Trail - part 3 - ascent

Grand Canyon - Bright Angel Trail - part 4 - tips


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