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).
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 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.
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.
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!"
|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.|