Plateau Point and Bright Angel Trail

We did not have camp set up for more than 10 minutes before we decided a three mile round trip hike out to Plateau Point in the hot afternoon is just what we should do.
Much of the desert vegetation, including these cacti was purple.
Looking back toward Indian Gardens from Plateau Point.
At the point there is an overlook into the inner gorge.
Three California Condors were soaring around the point.

The California Condor is one of the world's rarest bird species. As of February 2009, there are 321 condors known to be living, including 172 in the wild.
This picture shows upper part of Water Canyon as is comes up from the Colorado.

The Bright Angel Trail switchbacks can be seen as the trail comes up out of the inner gorge and onto the plateau.
The next morning we started up the Bright Angel Trail to the South Rim to complete the hike.

I remember thinking that I've been hiking for two days, slept on the ground, and now all I have to do is get my 61 year old body and my 30 pound pack up the 3,000' cliff in front of me.  Sure, no problem!
The plateau angles up toward the outer canyon on this trail so you rise up a few hundred feet above Indian Gardens before you hit the steep slopes.
Eventually you get to the cliff face of the outer canyon.  From here the trail becomes much steeper.

The trail goes up the rubble slope between the rock outcroppings but you can see how steep it becomes.
In the photo above you can see the spot where I stood to take this picture, right where the Kaibab Limestone, the white rock, and the Hermit Shale, the red rock, come together.

Here's the view when you reach the top of the rubble and look back on Indian Gardens.

Near the top of the trail traces of snow line the trail. 

The trail itself was quite icy but enough dirt or mule droppings had been ground into it that it was not slippery.
As the end of the hike got close we began running into day hikers coming down and going back up from the main area of the South Rim.  The old Kolb Brothers Studio is one of the first features of the South Rim you can clearly see coming up the trail.

Emery and Ellsworth Kolb established and ran a photography business on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon that endured from 1903 until 1976.  One of the two brothers took our picture on our 1970 mule trip.
Mike does a little happy dance at the shuttle bus station to take us back to the Back Country Permit Office where we left the car.
After getting up out of the canyon we had some time to kill as we headed back to Phoenix for an 11 pm flight.  We rode a scenic road around the San Francisco Mountains to Flagstaff, then went east to see the Winslow Meteor Crater.

No problems on the flights and the drive home.

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