A Virtual Hike in the Grand Canyon

Up the Bright Angel Trail through Indian Garden

Page 4


Map 4, Pictures 144-178

The map at the left shows the detailed view of the third part of the virtual hike with the pictures numbered. Most of these locations are fairly accurate, but some just "best guesses."

Click on the map to view it full size.

Click to see the entire map (845k).

146 - Gene, your virtual tour guide, finally giving the camera to a passing hiker.  Still very fresh!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.

147 - A wonderful section of trail.  A small canyon with Garden Creek. 148 - A small canyon with Garden Creek. 149 - The cottonwood trees as we emerge from the small canyon.

150 - The trail flattens as we are nearing Indian Garden. PIC-151 152 - The look of the trail means Indian Garden is not far away.

153 - "How much farther is it to Indian Garden?"As I was nearing Indian Garden, I passed a father with his son who were inadequately outfitted for an overnight stay. The father asked me how far it still was to Indian Gardens and from the sound of his voice and the look on his face I could tell he was very tired. A closer look at his son revealed an equally tired face, but he was not the complaining type. At least I could see he was perspiring which meant he wasn't yet dehydrated. They had water bottles, but that was it. They had jackets which were tied to their waist. I was happy to answer it was only minutes ahead. I made a quick inquiry which revealed they'd started down the South Kaibab at 6:30AM (3 hours ahead of me). The early start explained the jackets. I was very concerned for their well being since they weren't even half way up. I told them they should take a long rest at Indian Garden and get fully hydrated. Besides the water and shade, there is a ranger station and plenty of people if you need help. At the pace they were at, I figured their whole ordeal would last 10 or more hours. I'm assuming they got out okay. (If they happen to read this and recognize the picture, please email me!) I wonder if they will say they were having the times of their lives? It wouldn't surprise me if they did.

154 - We've arrive at an oasis they call Indian Garden. 155 - Getting mounted. 156 - For the weary hiker, this is the best part: drinking water is available year round.

157 - One of many ramadas at Indian Garden.Indian Garden is truly an oasis. There is Garden Creek, the cottonwood trees that provide shade, lots of other vegetation, and a natural spring to provide drinking water. Looking through binoculars from the rim, there appear be three large buildings and at least a dozen smaller ones which look like small cabins. The large buildings are ranger station and the small ones aren't buildings at all. They are ramadas with picnic benches underneath. What a wonderful setting for a picnic!

Below Indian Garden there are normally a trickle of hikers, most of them decked out in full gear for an overnight stay at the bottom. This changes at this spot. Suddenly there are hikers everywhere, and many appear to be day hikers. On this day I found a group taking the mule trip in the process of mounting up. For some reason I thought they were on their way down. The mules are wonderful, but I have no desire to trail behind in close quarters.

158 - Prickly Pair Path. 159 - Beautiful blossoms. 160 - Looking back.  Indian Garden Campground to the left.

161 - Ranger station at Indian Garden. 162 - Looking back.  Exiting Indian Garden.

PIC-163 PIC-164 PIC-165

166 - The mules are coming! The mules are coming!  We'll just have to click faster to stay ahead of them.As you head out of Indian Garden, you will pass a lot of prickly pair cactus. One section had it on both sides of the trail for 100 feet. On this trip my tranquil hike was rudely interrupted by the sound of huff steps from behind. It was the mules and they weren't far behind heading up the trail!. You have two choices: if you're physically fit, you can attempt to stay ahead, or you can let them pass and let them get a good distance ahead. They were coming up fast! Since the mules had a good rest at Indian Garden they weren't stopping. When the mules move they go fast, but they make frequent stops. The mules got to within 120 feet; so close I could hear the wrangler. Mercifully, I could clearly hear him say, "We're going to stop just ahead." For the rest of my ascent I would look back and even though I was tiring and slowing, I was continually gaining on them. I got a great satisfaction out of this for some reason. Maybe it's the thought of beating the Grand Canyon climbing professionals! Yeah, I hear the mules complain, "Try climbing out of here carrying a 150-200 pound tourist!"

167 - The tough part of the trail lies before us. PIC-168

PIC-169 170 - Slowing gaining some distance on the mules.

 YES! I'm still doing fine. I want to continue the tour...
 NO! I'm totally exhausted. I want a mule ride out of here and back to the home page. 



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