To the bottom of the great Grand Canyon — South Kaibab and Bright Angels trails


Awesome! is only a word and no camera, no photo, no blog nor any article can ever justify the true beauty of this geological marvel that is actually visible from space. You should see it with your own eyes..um if only you love rocks ;):P  Yet another bucket-list item coupled with months of preparation, a solid plan, plenty of water, salts n food in your backpack, a very steep trail that takes you all the way down to the greenish white waters of the Colorado and then another UNENDING trail that winds all the way up again to the edge of the rim.. all these make another dream coming true for me.

DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS AS A DAY HIKE or you must be very well prepared with thorough training, proper exposure to altitude changes, clear understanding of the odds and a super strong will to push yourself to the limits without risking your own safety.  Do your research before you take your first step.  YOU are WARNED.

Every year, scores of unprepared hikers, lured by initially easy downhill hiking, experience severe illness, injury, or death from hiking in the canyon.

We took the South Kaibab Trail  (SK) which almost ‘slides’ you into the colorful canyon with its red white yellow brown black crimson walls of sliced rock but trust me, not a piece of shade from the scorching sun right from the morning. And there is NO WATER available anywhere on the SK.  Reaching the ‘Black Bridge’ is exhilerating for sure with the all the stunning views you have already captured.  Feel the the cool and flowing Colorado waters and brave your heart for the actual journey you need to take back up.  Don’t forget to gift yourself a quick nap, it would give you good mileage when you are coming up.

The Bright Angels Trail (BA) is probably the most under-estimated trail in all of the discussions I read so far. Don’t get fooled to read that its not as steep as SK. Thats a language trap. BA is easy most of its stretch and there is lots of shade but when its tough, its really tough. It has two sections that are EXTREMELY difficult for a novice hiker that can stun/surprise even experienced folks. Reaching the Indian Campground would take all your juices away… And then starts your actual tussle with the Canyon. After hiking almost 14+ miles , you will stand before the last piece that challenges you and breaks you down properly.  I bet you will forever remember the last 2-3 miles as one of the valuable stretches of walking you have ever done on the Earth.. seriously.

I did it all so you can too. But don’t kill yourself. please.  
Route 66 — Are you too obsessed with the road numbers?
Route 66 -- Are you too obsessed with the road numbers?

Switchbacks — is probably the sweetest word in Dictionary 😉
Switchbacks -- is probably the sweetest word in Dictionary ;)

It takes to understand why the Grand Canyon is Grand.
It takes to understand why the Grand Canyon is Grand.

i love ridges with slopes on both sides..
i love ridges with slopes on both sides..

Finally! The Black Bridge… yey!
Finally! The Black Bridge.. yey!

I did it.
I did it.

Thats the cute little bridge you will remember forever.
Thats the cute little bridge you will remember forever.

Plan your timing to avoid mid day heat.
Plan your times to avoid mid day heat.

the suspension bridge with the black bridge in the background
the suspension bridge

Indian campground
Indian Campground

I couldn’t take any pictures beyond this point. I waited like hell to reach this place and then the actual hell broke loose and then the darkness of the night surrounded and then the temperatures started dropping (like from 93F mid afternoon to 38F midnight)..

We took 5 hours to go down with many breaks and photoshoots.. and then another 10+ hours to come back up. Please note there is water available at Indian Campground and one emergency resthouse at 3 miles from the BA trailhead and another one at 1.5 miles from the same trailhead. You will thank NPS for keeping a 911 landline there just in case you bump into any emergency when you are about to finish a hike of your life time.

Lemme conclude: Be careful and be prepared for the last 4 of the 17 miles.

Thanks for reading and happy hiking. Go figure out why the Grand Canyon is Grand.
-balu

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Categories: 2016, friends, hike, my, national parks, outdoors, sun, trails challenge, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “To the bottom of the great Grand Canyon — South Kaibab and Bright Angels trails

  1. Naga Akella

    Well Written Balu. Just hiked again with you here one more time !!

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