ALL HIKERS

DAY 1: YAKI POINT TO BRIGHT ANGEL CAMPGROUND

    

     I'm up early at my Mather campsite, pack my tent and gear, and have breakfast at the Maswik Lodge.  I make it over to the Backcountry Office parking lot in time to catch the 7:00 Hikers Express Shuttle.  On the way to the trailhead, I meet Mark and Jodie, a couple from Arkansas doing their first Grand Canyon hike.  The trailhead signs seem newer and nicer that the ones here my last time down this trail.

South Kaibab trailhead sign
3-17-2015 @ 7:32
South Kaibab trailhead sign
3-17-2015 @ 7:32
South Kaibab trailhead sign
3-17-2015 @ 7:32

     I lace up my boots, put on my pack, and start down.  The upper parts of the trail are very well maintained.

   
  Upper South Kaibab Trail
3-17-2015 @ 7:34
 

     In no time at all, I reach "Ooh Aah Point."  The view back to the trailhead shows just how far I have come.

Ooh Aah Point
3-17-2015 @ 7:55
Looking back toward the trailhead
3-17-2015 @ 7:59

     In a few more minutes, O'Neill Butte, named for Buckey O'Neill, comes into view.  I pull into Cedar Ridge and take a short break.

O'Neill Butte
3-17-2015 @ 8:04
Cedar Ridge trail sign
3-17-2015 @ 8:16
Cedar Ridge toilet
3-17-2015 @ 8:16

     Then it's time to head on down.  O'Neill Butte is one of the dominant features on the South Kaibab Trail.

O'Neill Butte
3-17-2015 @ 8:16
Looking up below O'Neill Butte
3-17-2015 @ 8:44

     The trail is level for a quarter-mile or so before reaching Skeleton Point.  Then you descend rapidly down switchbacks to a point beside Natural Arch.

Skeleton Point
3-17-2015 @ 8:53
Looking down from Skeleton Point
3-17-2015 @ 8:59
Half-way down the switchbacks
4-26-2011 @ 9:20

     Just around the corner from Natural Arch is the Tip-Off Point.  They have a toilet and mule hitching post for the riders here.

The Tip-Off Point
3-17-2015 @ 9:35
Tip-Off Point toilet
3-17-2015 @ 9:35
Hitching post
3-17-2015 @ 9:35

     The trail begins to descend rapidly after this.

Below the Tip-Off Point
3-17-2015 @ 9:42
Below the Tip-Off Point
3-17-2015 @ 9:42

     Pretty soon I come to a great viewing point directly above the River.  Phantom Ranch can be seen in the distance.

Colorado River and Phantom Ranch
3-17-2015 @ 9:52
Colorado River and Phantom Ranch
3-17-2015 @ 9:52
Phantom Ranch
3-17-2015 @ 9:53

     After descending a series of steep switchbacks, the Kaibab Suspension Bridge comes into view.  A mule team is just now crossing the bridge.

Kaibab Suspension Bridge
3-17-2015 @ 10:23
Mules crossing the Kaibab Suspension Bridge
3-17-2015 @ 10:23

     It looks like the Park Service has replaced all the wood trail signs with ones made from a plastic synthetic material.  While not quite as natural as the old ones, the new ones will probably last longer.  I cross through the tunnel and onto the bridge.

Trail sign
3-17-2015 @ 10:26
Tunnel leading to the bridge
3-17-2015 @ 10:33
Tunnel leading to the bridge
3-17-2015 @ 10:34

     The Kaibab Suspension Bridge was built in 1928.  It is supported by four one-inch cables on each side and is designed to carry a 750,000 pound load.

Kaibab Suspension Bridge
3-17-2015 @ 10:34
One-inch support cables
3-17-2015 @ 10:35
Kaibab Suspension Bridge
3-17-2015 @ 10:38

     On the other side of the bridge are some Anasazi ruins.  I'm surprised that they have survived all the floods that must have taken place over time.  The circular depression in the middle picture is called a "Kiva."

Anasazi ruins
3-17-2015 @ 10:40
Anasazi ruins
3-17-2015 @ 10:40
Anasazi ruins
3-17-2015 @ 10:41

     Just a little ways down the trail is the grave site of Rees Griffiths, a trail foreman who died here in 1922.

Trail foreman grave site
3-17-2015 @ 10:44
Brass plaque at grave site
3-17-2015 @ 10:44

     The Park Service is replacing part of the original water line that runs under the trail.  They have set up some detour signs to direct us around the construction site.

   
  Trail detour signs
3-17-2015 @ 10:47
 

     I pick a nice campsite and set up my tent.  It's before noon, so I think I'll carry my lunch over to the canteen at Phantom Ranch.  After lunch, I notice a workman has removed the toilets in the bathroom outside the canteen.  He is attempting to clean out the sewer line with a small drain machine.  It's obvious that he does not do this full time as he is running the machine backwards.  We talk a while and I learn that he the heating and air conditioning guy for the park, but they have him doing all sorts of things down here.  I tell him that I have a plumbing contractor's license and would be glad to help out.  He is very appreciative.  The problem appears to be hair clogging the sink drain lines.  When this building was built many years ago, the sink drain lines were separate from the toilet drain lines.  After removing quite a bit of plumbing from inside the bathroom, we are finally able to properly clean the sink drain lines and get them flowing correctly.  I suggest to him that we put a cleanout in the main line outside that services the sinks, so he will have an easier way to clean that line in the future.  He is short on parts and only has a sanitary tee instead of a two-way cleanout, but it will have to do.  After a little more work, we are both pleased with our new access point considering the limited materials we had to work with.

   
  Sewer line repairs
3-17-2015 @ 3:00
 

     A little later in the afternoon I meet with Mark and Jodie outside the canteen.  They indicate they were very slow going down the South Kaibab, but that it was quite pretty.  For their layover day tomorrow, I suggest that they go up the Clear Creek Trail to the Phantom Overlook or maybe all the way to the top as the views from there are outstanding.    

   
  Mark and Jodie Been
3-17-2015 @ 3:48
 

     I tried the last two months to get the steak dinner tonight, but struck out.  However, the canteen workers tell me they have an opening tonight, so I am in luck after all.  As usual, the steak dinner is great.

     I not sure what I'm doing tomorrow on my layover day.  I don't think I'm up for doing any kind of extended dayhike.

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