(Location: Grand Canyon National Park)
Temperature 5C. More overcast than yesterday. Breezy. But there can be few more peaceful ways to start the day than sitting on a balcony with your coffee watching elk grazing in the pine forest.
A slow start again and a gentle walk to breakfast, when we decided that, although the wind had dropped a bit, it felt even colder. Wondering just how many layers I can fit under my coat. Probably one more…
Suitably bundled up, we drove to the visitor centre and parked and then caught the shuttle bus to the South Kaibab trailhead. The views were good with clouds blowing across and shadows chasing along the canyons and temples.
It also wasn’t too busy, even though this is one of the main trails below the rim, and it got even quieter after Ooh Aah Point.
The wind was supposed to be less than yesterday but it felt very strong, especially on the really exposed section which follows the crest of the ridge.
We arrived at Cedar Ridge (1.5 miles along and a 1,000 feet down) and our favourite dead tree trunk was available as a seat. We had a rest and considered continuing on to Skeleton Point which is the same distance and drop again, but the weather wasn’t conducive to making it fun. With the wind, the sand under foot was being blown up into eyes, hair, teeth…I felt grit in everything. It also looked like it could rain and that would turn the dust and sand to wet sludge.
After enjoying the view we returned to the rim, a slow hike, because if you aren’t going further you need to savour the (increasingly gloomy) scenery.
After being greeted by a herd of elk and a mule train of the rim, we then hiked back along the rim, passing Pipe Creek Vista, before turning to follow the Greenway trail back to our car at the visitor centre. We felt just a few spots of rain along the way.
A video of the South Kaibab trail is here: South Kaibab from Cedar Ridge.
We called in at the market and picked up hot chocolate, which we took back to the room where we already had a packet of cookies waiting!
The original plan would have included sunset, but since that was cancelled tonight, instead we relaxed, showered and went for an early dinner again at the Bright Angel restaurant. We took the shortcut through the woods, surprising a family of deer on the way. Great meal, great service, and we beat all records by being back in our room to relax by just gone 7pm.