|The oasis known as Indian Garden.|
When you arrive at Indian Garden (elevation 3,800 feet) you’ll have hiked 19 miles.
As mentioned in my last post, Indian Garden was originally the Havasupai Indians’ summer gardening spot. At some point, Ralph Cameron took ownership of the area.
When you start to see cottonwood trees lining the creek, you'll know you're approaching Indian Garden. Mr. Cameron is responsible for planting all of the cottonwood trees in the area.
The National Park Service has stationed interpretive rangers at Indian Garden. Their primary role is to insure your safety. In recent years, a husband and wife ranger team has been stationed here. One of them in her previous life was a singer in a famous European opera house. If you happen to see a female ranger, perhaps you can convince her to sing for you. It doesn't hurt to ask.
Take a long break, camel up, cool your feet in Garden Creek, and steel yourself for the trail ahead. You only have 1.5 miles to the next source of potable water, so no need to overload. Water weighs 2.2 pounds per gallon, so 1.5 or 2.0 liters will get you to the Three-Mile Resthouse. There are only 4.5 miles left of this glorious hike.
As you depart Indian Garden, look up towards the South Rim. Look closely, and you'll see the El Tovar Lodge. It will seem like you're never going to get there, so look up only occasionally.
You’ll gradually ascend through the Bright Angel Fault, followed by the much steeper switchbacks of Jacobs Ladder, before reaching the Three-Mile Resthouse (elevation 4,748 feet). Camel-up here. You’re almost out.
A few more switchbacks will bring you to the Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse (elevation 5,729). Take a quick break and camel up. Like a horse heading home, you will probably be able to smell the barn (the South Rim) which, at this point, is only—you guessed it—1.5 miles away!
From the Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse to the Bright Angel Trailhead, you will pass through two tunnels. The first is .75 miles from the top. The second is just .18 miles from the top.
Before you pass through the second tunnel, look up at the cliff wall and
underneath the ledge. If you look closely, you’ll see
petroglyphs (ancient rock art). It is amazing to think that the ancient
Puebloans, who were ancestors of the Havasupai, walked on the same trail you
just hiked. That was over 800 years ago. They stopped here to scrawl a picture
story for all who followed them to
see. NOTE: If you reach this
point in the trail after dark, come back to see the petroglyphs in the
daylight. It will be well worth your time.
|Ancient rock art|
You have just hiked 23.5 trail miles down, across and up the Grand Canyon. In addition, you’ve hiked down 5,761 feet and up 4,380 feet. Your total elevation change has been 10,141 feet. AMAZING!!!! Almost like climbing Mt Everest!
Always be on the watch for trail magic: On a recent hike, the scene at left greeted my buddies and me as we made a last push for the top--a single cloud with a rainbow smiled over us and our Grand Canyon. There’s something spiritual about that, don't you think?
In my next and final blog post, I'll tell you about some interesting sights visible from the South Rim. For example, in 1956 two airliners crashed while flying over the Grand Canyon. At the time, it was the deadliest accident in U.S. aviation history. More details next time on this and other trivia. I’ll also offer some closing thoughts on our soon to be GLORIOUS hike.