03 May 2006 Wednesday

We got an early start this morning to hike down to the river and back.  We started about 5:30-6am, but most of the campground was already up by then.  Many people got up and hiked out to the Plateau for sunrise.  Others were either hiking down to the river (like us), down to Phantom Ranch, another campground and lodge at the bottom of the canyon, or they were hiking out.

We saw lots of people on the trail during our 3 mile hike down to the mighty Colorado River that carved the Grand Canyon.  We went down most of our elevation in one part of the trail known as the Devil’s Corkscrew, a series of steep switchbacks and steps.  We got to the river and found a small sandy beach where we could cool our hot, tired feet.  Andrew and I found a nice bunch of rocks under the shade of a shrub and had lunch.  We had to fight off a couple of ground squirrels that tried to join us.  We insisted this was a table for two!

We were enjoying the sounds of the river when a couple of folks came by.  Then wave after wave of twenty-somethings came in… 6 more… 8 more… 4 more… and more and more and more!  We asked one of the guys near us if they were all together.  He said, Oh no, there were only 10 people in his group.  There were 35 people in the other group.  ONLY 10!!  35 in the other group!?!  Well, it was getting pretty crowded on our little 20 foot patch of sand on the river.  We moved on up to a rest area called “River Rest”.  It’s a covered pavilion not far from the junction of the creek and the river.  We hung out there for several hours, waiting for the day to cool down.  The park cautions about hiking in the heat of the day.  We saw some kayakers and rafts going down the river while we were hanging out.  We talked to several people while at River Rest, some going up canyon, some going down canyon.

At 2:30, we headed back up the canyon to Indian Gardens.  The park tells you to allow twice the time to hike up as it takes to hike down, but it took us about the same amount of time.  When we got back, our feet hurt from the pounding.  We got back to camp and cleaned up at the faucet in camp.  I got the wash my hair, but I forgot to bring a comb or brush, so I may be coming out with dreadlocks!  We ate most of the food we brought and drank the rest of the wine (no sense in carrying that stuff out, you know) and were in bed by dark.  We hike out in the morning.

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