The map at the left shows the detailed view of the fourth part of the virtual hike with the pictures numbered. Most of these locations are fairly accurate, but there are some that are just "best guesses."
Click on the map to view it full size.
Click to see the entire map (957K).
How are you doing? We've gone just under 8 miles in the virtual tour. But now we are approaching the "fun" part of the hike that will take us 4420 vertical feet higher on 9 miles of trail. (I know, this must be some new definition of "fun" you're not familiar with.)
The River Trail ends as it hits Pipe Creek. This is the real start of the Bright Angel Trail. There is a rest house here (called River Resthouse) and you might read that water is available here. There is no potable water! Your next chance for water is Indian Garden almost 4 miles away. If you have treatment tablets along, you can get water from the creek. The creek is much smaller than the Bright Angel Creek, but it is also very clean and it's noise is always music to my ears. During the heat of the day, don't be bashful about splashing water on yourself to cool down.
The trail will basically follow this stream and cross it several times until we hit the switchbacks known as The Devil's Corkscrew. Before this point it's difficult to pinpoint exactly where you are on the trail, but one thing you can definitely tell by looking up: it's a long way to go!
I'd seen very few photographs and I was very surprised by the look and feel of this section of the trail my first visit. In my imagination I'd pictured the lower part of the South Kaibab, but with a little more vegetation. The presence of any amount of water always makes a huge difference in the foliage. But this turned out to be a clean flowing creek! Dirty water would indicate the water came from very recent rains. What did not surprise me was this lower section offered almost no view of the overall canyon and my first thought was it didn't belong within the Grand Canyon.
On any hike on the South Kaibab or Bright Angel you are bound to encounter
the mules. They are synonymous with these two trails. The riders seem to
come in two flavors. About half are smiling and really enjoying the mule trip
while the others can hardly acknowledge you because they are focusing so
much on their mule and staying on the trail. I think I would be in the later
group if I were on a mule in the canyon! I myself prefer to have both feet
on the ground, even if I'm running backward.
The trail momentarily breaks away from Pipe Creek in a section of switchbacks known as The Devil's Corkscrew. I don't feel they are all that bad because they are very low on the trail.
This is a very beautiful section as the trail now follows and crosses Garden Creek.
Your legs are starting to feel it and you're not even to Indian Garden which is approximately the half way point to the top. But we've already gone about 12 miles!
But there is a considerable amount of shade offered by the trees along the trail, so there are good places to stop and take a breather. Indian Garden, however, is not far away and will offer water, shade, and a lot of company from other hikers. If you have water you should drink it now since you can refill just ahead.
As I headed up the Bright Angel, I must have heard half a dozen comments on how fast I was going, even though I have been up these trails much faster. But I really wished I had more time so I could take more breaks and look around. On this part of the trail, various butterflies made their appearances and just as quickly disappeared and I couldn't chase them for a photo opportunity. I also saw three White-lined Sphinx Moths! Sphinx Moths are also known as Hummingbird Moths and the first time you see one hovering at a flower you know why. I was sad I couldn't get a picture of this.
Looking back we see sign posted for hikers going to the river warning about hiking to the river and back in one day. This sign is here because we must be very close to Indian Garden, which is the farthest anyone would recommend for a day hike.
Not in good enough shape to click through the images on the virtual tour? Take the equivalent of a mule ride by clicking the play button to start the slide show of the images.
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|YES!||I'm still doing fine. I want to continue the tour...|
|NO!||I'm exhausted. I'd like a mule ride out of here and back to the home page.|