Monday, 12 November 2012

#6 1.5 Mile Rest House, Grand Canyon.

#6 1.5 Mile Rest House, Grand Canyon, USA.

Distance - 3.0 Miles
Ascent - 342m

What can you say about the Grand Canyon?  It is big, deep, vast, and mightily impressive.  It's hard to appreciate just how big it is.  It is also a dangerous place due to the temperature range and the fact it is easy to get very deep without realising.  Visiting in October reduced any issues with the temps, in fact it was very pleasant/warm most of the day.

View from the top
The Bright Angel trail drops from the rim can be taken and the way to the North Rim.  Some really strange people do this in one day, and some really really strange people go from Rim to Rim to Rim!  For most walkers a good day hike drops down the trail all the way to Plateau Point (approx. 13 miles round trip).  This is a tough walk due to the heat, lack of shade and height climbed.  I decided to walk to either the 1.5 mile rest house or the 3 mile rest house, depending on how I felt.  My calf was still sore after arches and this is not a good place to tear a calf muscle.
Whist the round trip distances are pretty low, the ascent is steep, 342m and 620m respectively.  Again the path was good with numerous switchbacks.  We set off early to avoid the heat and this left the upper part of the trail in shade for most of the morning. 
Mules on the trail
The views as expected were great and the trail was remarkably quiet, I saw 3 other people on the way down.  The walls tower above you and the changes in colour and rock are very noticeable, no wonder geologists love the place.  It is also very easy to walk down without realising how deep you are going. 
Unfortunately for me, my calf was getting tighter and tighter.  The fact it was reacting badly to walking downhill made me very cautious about the walk back up.  At the 1.5 mile rest house I had a choice, to carry on further or turn around.  I decided to go back up.  It was a long climb but not as hard as I thought it would be.  There are lots of places to rest and it is a steady climb up the switchbacks.  It was noticeably busier, despite the National Park service advice of starting early.


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