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Photo Gallery Number Ten

Hiking down the South Kaibab

There is something about the Grand Canyon that keeps drawing you back. Once it's in your blood, you just can't let it go. And so, in March of 2001, I once again found myself deep within this glorious chasm. This was to be my second hike with the Grand Canyon Field Institute. Much like my first hike back in 1995, this one was to begin on the south rim, hiking down the South Kaibab Trail, to our first night at the Bright Angel Campground near Phantom Ranch. Also like the first hike, our next day would be spent hiking up the Clear Creek Trail. However, this is where the similarity ended, at least for the first four days. Instead of hiking just a short ways up the Clear Creek, our group traversed the entire 10 miles of the trail, ascending to the Tonto Platform, and eventually back down to a beautiful camp site at Clear Creek itself. From this base, we would try to reach Cheyava Falls, the tallest waterfall in the entire Grand Canyon.

The Colorado River from the Clear Creek Trail

On my first page of pictures from the Grand Canyon (Photo Gallery #1), there is a photograph taken from the very same spot as this one was, along the Clear Creek Trail. It's such a spectacular spot, but this time the view was enhanced by the multitudinous wildflowers that bloom in March. The yellow flowers you see are called Brittlebush, and they were so plentiful along the trail that our legs turned yellow from brushing against their petals.

The labels on this photo show you some of the major features of the landscape visible below the Clear Creek Trail. You can see where the South Kaibab Trail, which we had come down the day before, descends to the river, and crosses the Black Bridge. Our campground the night before was near Phantom Ranch. The Silver Bridge leads to the Bright Angel Trail, which we would climb on our last (5th) day to leave the canyon.

Phantom Ranch area with 

Our destination on this hike, as stated earlier, was Cheyava Falls. While it is the highest waterfall in the Grand Canyon, it seldom actually flows. In fact, it hasn't really seen a good flow of water since the spring of 1995. Hopes were high that this would change, however, due to the fact that there had been a good deal of rain during the past season. Unfortunately, the falls was completely dry when we reached it on our third day. In fact, our hike leader said that this was as dry as he had ever seen it!

If you look at the two photos below, you'll see how it looked in 1910 when the famed Emery Kolb photographed it (left), and how it looked in 2001 when I took my picture.

Emery Kolb 
photo of Cheyava Falls. My picture of Cheyava Falls.

Below are some more of the many varieties of wildflowers we encountered on our hike.
On the left, you see the Banana Yucca (Yucca baccata), and on the right, the Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus sp.)

Banana Yucca Hedgehog Cactus

View coming
down Clear Creek Trail

On the fourth day, coming back down the Clear Creek Trail, we were rewarded with this magnificent view. That night we camped once again at the Bright Angel Campground, before making the big ascent to the canyon rim via the Bright Angel Trail on Day 5.

I wonder how soon I'll be back for more......

Go to the next Photo Gallery
(Havasu Canyon Hike)

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