Another early rise, enables us to make a cool start on todays’ hike – the plan is to leave the tent etc. here and walk the 7 or so miles down to the bottom of the canyon and the Colorado River, have lunch and then hike back up to the campsite and recoup this afternoon.
A short way down the trail we bump into the two Rangers we spoke to yesterday, only to find out they aren’t Rangers at all but biologists surveying the plantlife in the canyon from top down, an annual event apparently to see what’s changing within the parks habitat.
They recommend we detour slightly a short way further on and go have a look at Ribbon Falls, a great tip as it’s really lovely especially as we are early enough to have it to ourselves. As we’re leaving though, and making our way back to the main trail, we pass nearly all of the campsite occupants – either just coming to the falls for the morning or like us popping in to see them on their way downtrail.
It’s a totally different landscape that greets us today, mostly very closed canyoned high walls on both sides tightly winding endlessly down the valley. The path is no where near as steep as yesterday, but beautiful all the same. Again the rain is threatening to soak us and again we end up sheltering under overhangs from the rain when it lets rip, and when it does it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop! We must be sat huddled for a good twenty minutes or so before it’s gentle enough that we brave the walk again.
A little way down the track we notice muddy water joining the main river (we are walking alongside Bright Angel River) from a side canyon and then half a dozen bambi’s struggling to get out, evidence of flash flooding imminent, not surprising with the rain that’s just passed through.
We now have the muddy water all way down to “Phantom Ranch” and all the way along there’s evidence of flash flooding, maybe a day or so old but thankfully nothing new materialises while we’re on the trail.
Even though the rain has stopped it’s still very overcast and we aren’t privileged enough to see the views we were anticipating here at the bottom of the canyon 🙁 The only saving grace is that the ranch canteen sells beer.
Although we can’t take it out and aren’t uncouth enough to eat our sarnies inside so it’s chill-with-a-beer-time and delay lunch for a wee bit. Trouble is when we step outside we’re welcomed by the rain again, so there’s a quick scamper to find a dry hiding place – turns out to be under a notice board canopy, but it’s dry and peaceful, somehow therapeutic too watching the rain trying it’s best to get us but knowing it can’t.
The Colorado River is just a short stroll away and we were planning to do what is known as the river loop but as we can hardly see our hand in front of our faces it’s a non-starter. Time rolls on and we finally snap and don our raingear. Taking the short hop to one bridge, we take some obligatory photo’s and start the long wet slog back up to the campsite.
There’s obviously been flash floods since we walked down as we have a muddy chocolate coloured river for company all the way back to the campsite.
There is some reprieve from the rain which allows us to cook dinner in the dry. But with the volume of rain all day we have a mopping up job to do as it has run into our tent area and between the groundsheet and the tent. It’s very muddy 🙁 we attempt at a clean-up job and build a wee ditch to hopefully avoid a repeat if the rain returns. So much for the Grand Canyon being a desert!!!!
As we’re prepping dinner we have a new kind of visitor – a humming bird. It almost lands on Bernice’s hand.
We’ve worked hard today, a 14-15 mile hike dodging rain most of the day, we’re very tired zzzzz