Monday I hiked about 8.0 miles down the Kaibab Trail to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of Grand Canyon. Thought I would probably die and be found along the trail because it was SO steep and used muscles I never knew I had. The last mile from the Colorado River up to the ranch I think my trekking poles were the only thing holding me up. I stayed overnight at Phantom Ranch. For $44 I had a bunk in one of the women’s dorms (2 of them with 5 steel bunk beds, a commode, shower and sink.. For another $65 I had a great beef stew dinner, a 5:00 a.m. breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, orange juice, canned peach halves, and coffee AND a sack snack lunch.
All the supplies for Phantom Ranch come in by mule train. Campers and hikers can also pay a fee to have the mules haul their baggage in and out of the canyon, too. According to the backcountry ranger the trip down to Phantom would take me 4-5 hours – I took 5 hours. And the 10 mile trip out (which I started at 5:30 a.m. sharp) was to have taken 8-9 hours, but I was out in 5 hours, 50 minutes
Here are some more photos as the day progresses down the trail towards Phantom Ranch. Daylight breaking over the south Kaibab trail, about 6:00 a.m.:
Mules ready to start the day, too:
Looking down the switchbacks – getting dizzy yet??
First glimpse of the mule train coming up the trail:
This lizard does not look big here, but it was about 8-10″ long and quite chubby!
Recognize the pattern in the rock above? That’s right – ancient seabed!
Rafts on the Colorado River still a long way away!
This is me but the picture is a little out of sequence. It was taken at skeleton point and I sure felt like one at that time!
These riders were on break and I don’t know why the mules’ ears were all pointed forward but they must have been upset about something.
Ah, a sweet smelling toilet with solar powered ventilation.
Last but not least, happy mule riders on the trail. About this time I was contemplating hijacking one of them for the rest of the trip down into the canyon.