Published: January 3rd 2011January 1st 2011
Down... We started from the rim at noon, in lots of snow. The South Kaibab Trail was partially packed, but the wind was blowing and mini-drifts covered sections compressed by earlier hikers. Down... It was well below freezing. As we crossed between ridges and valleys we went from calm and warm to bitter cold. "Are you cold?" "I'm good, on average. My back is wet and hot, my front is damp and cold, but over all just fine." Down... We passed lots of hikers coming up. My airy, jaunty cadence was in sharp contrast to their slow, focused steps. Down... We had mini-crampons but I never used them, the crunchy packed snow was mostly ice free, or the ice was at least partly dirty and not so slippery. Down... "How are you legs?" " What legs?" Down... We passed two composting toilets which seemed like eye-sores but as we passed more and more hikers I came to realize they were a necessity. Down... We had a few fleeting views of the Colorado far below, but eventually it came closer... and finally we were there, the bridge across the river and a slight uphill for a few hundred yards to the camp
at Phantom Ranch. Six hours down... about the same to get back up two days later.
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