To Plateau Point

Sunday, February 25th, 2007 | All Things, Travel

Our trip today would cover 12 miles of the Bright Angel Trail, and take us midway into the Grand Canyon to Plateau Point. We began our decent from the South Rim, 7,000 feet above sea level. The bumpy ride took us into progressively rockier terrain, shielded from the winds, where the remnants of snow and ice gradually gave way to drier and warmer air. In the winter months, temperatures around the Canyon can range by over 30 degrees, from a low of 20ºF at the rim to a high of 58ºF at the bottom.

Along the way, we passed some wildlife, groups of intrepid hikers, natural and man-made shelters, and a few Native American rock drawings. Our mules plodded along solidly over the red clay stones, though not completely without stumble. The first time I felt Sassy’s hind legs buckle beneath us, I felt my heart stop in terror. But she recovered almost immediately, and hardly seemed to notice at all… unlike J, who was riding immediately behind me, “motivating” Cajun down the trail.

Bright Angel Trail

Trail Rest Stop

On the appoach to the steepest stretch of trail we would hit on our ride, known as Jacob’s Ladder.

On those switchback turns, the mules would swing precariously close to the open ledge. Very disconcerting to see my legs swinging over the side, with no solid ground beneath. But completely exhilirating!

Jacobs Ladder

Jacobs Ladder switchback

Jacobs Ladder

At Indian Gardens, 4.5 miles below the rim. Overnight visitors to Phantom Ranch diverged at this point to continue their trip to the Colorado River.

Trail Marker

Approaching the Plateau:

Canyon Plateau

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