It was getting dark as we returned from Plateau Point. We had a quick supper then laid our sleeping bags and pads on the tarp. No tent. It would be my first time sleeping under the stars. It had cooled down quickly with the darkness and we didn't waste any time crawling into the sleeping bags. The night sky was filled with bright, brilliant stars. Amazing. During our brief visit, I had told Craig Manson that the night sky at Big Bed was incredible, but here in the Grand Canyon it was even more so. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that there was nothing between me and the sky! Several times I woke up during the night and simply gazed at all of the stars in the sky.
I awoke at first light, made a quick trip to take care of the necessities, and sat at the picnic table wrapped in the sleeping bag to wait for Sue and Fred to wake up. I was a little stiff, partially from sleeping on the ground but also from yesterday's hikes. I was dreading the trek that was to come yet oddly looking forward to it. I recalled a sign posted alongside the trail at the 3-mile rest-house “Getting to the bottom, OPTIONAL. Getting to the top, MANDATORY.” We hadn't gone to the bottom, but still, the only way out was up, and you had to walk it.
It was another beautiful day! The sun had finally crested the rim, throwing it's warming rays into the Canyon. The coolness of the early morning spurred us on. We were packed and on the trail at 7 o'clock.
A group of half a dozen small deer greeted us at the 3-mile rest-house.
The Rim. The end. The beginning. Taken from the 3-mile rest-house a few minutes after 8 a.m.
Indian Gardens and Plateau Point, with the North Rim in the background. Photo taken at 9:45, near the 1.5-mile rest-house.
Look, we're smiling! That's because we know we're near the top (we were just 7 minutes away at the time) and almost finished with a fantastic experience. It was worth every ache and pain along the way (and the ones for several days after).
The trek to the top took not quite five hours. We left Indian Springs at 7 a.m. and arrived at the rim at 11:50. We celebrated by stopping at the Bright Angel Lodge Dining Room for a hot meal then back to the campground for a hot shower! The rest of the day was spent resting, relaxing, and recuperating, though the latter took several more days for me!
Thank you so much Sue and Fred for allowing me to join you on this trek. I've said it before, and I'll say it again – it was AMAZING! And possibly the most challenging and fantastic thing I've done on this journey, or ever!
Other posts in this series: