And hey, that was just the first evening at the rim! After the drama of sunset all eighteen of us hikers gathered in one of the motel rooms for the potluck, pre-hike dinner extravaganza. We were loud!
Early the next morning we set off down the Kaibab Trail. Our packs felt heavy with extra clothing, food and water and the downward twisting trail is steep, but the views encompass layers of rock formations that represent 350 million years of geologic time. Hiking down the switchbacks I trailed my fingers along first limestone, then reddish sandstone and then glittering white Coconino sandstone, the product of an ancient sea of pure sand.
We ogled the views, gabbed and giggled as only a group of women can do. The sky was blue, the trail was dry and everyone was in high spirits. We lunched and shed layers of clothing at about the four mile mark; as you descend into the canyon the temperatures warm. Hefting packs and taking up our poles we continued into the inner gorge among the Vishnu schist, dark jumbled rock which is the oldest in the area. Ultimately, when I was nearly weeping from pain that had sprouted in my knees, we came through the tunnel and reached the Kaibab Bridge. The Colorado flowed swift below, flat and green with puddles of pink reflecting from the cliffs above. It was heaven to reach flatness. We assembled for the final hiking picture of the day at Phantom Ranch 4 1/2 hours from our start time. Tune in again for more about Phantom Ranch, thoughts on the bravery of women, a review of gorgeous Clear Creek Trail, and the ascent to the rim!