Bright Angel Trail
Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point /3356' / Grand Canyon, AZ
This hike was by far the hardest hike I have ever done to date, in my almost 30 years of living. Now that I know what it entails, I would definitely train before doing it again. That being said, I would 100% do it again. It was a huge accomplishment and a really breath-taking hike.
This hike started near the Bright Angel Lodge at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We started this trek at around 7:30am, and there was something motivating about walking into the trail head and down the dirt path. The onlookers in their street-wear were watching us begin, either thinking we were badass or nuts, truthfully a little bit of both. The hike begin with a light descent, past an awesome looking archway made of rock. After looping around the side of the mountain the real descent began. With almost 100 switchbacks for the next 2.5 miles (approx). I should have taken the signs seriously that were plastered all over the trail, stating "down is optional, up is mandatory).
One of the nice features of hiking the canyon in May is that there is water at most of the pit stops. I don't think we went more than three miles without water, which helped lighted the load on our backs.
We made it down the trail to the Plateau Point relatively quickly, and recorded a distance of about 6.5 miles upon reaching the point. We arrived around 10-10:30 am and sat on the cliff for a bit, appreciating the Colorado River and watching rafters go by. We then hiked back to Indian Garden for some lunch and a brief power nap, knowing we would need our strength for the return hike.
Getting back up to the Three Mile Resthouse wasn't bad at all, and we got to see Condors flying overhead which was amazing. The next three miles to the top were grueling to say the least. The trailhead elevation sits 6,850 feet, and the Three Mile Resthouse sits at 4,748 feet. Which is 2,102 feet climb in elevation over three miles. Not to mention, those who live just about sea level like I do in San Diego are not quite used to the thin air. I will be honest, I did not train for this hike and it bit me in the ass. I had to dig DEEP to get to the top of this hike. My husband, who is in amazing physical shape was a champ, taking all the weight off my back and handing me water when I need it. My husband is almost double my size and has been known to give me a piggy back ride or two to help train him with carrying extra weight. And while he offered to assist, I decline, stating I was completing this hike from top to bottom even if I had to do it on my hand and knees. Which I didn't, thank god. That would have been embarrassing.