April 17th --Grand Canyon, walking down the rim--


Today is one of the hardest part of this journey. I supposed to get up at six, but it was 6:30 when I got up. That's because I had to wait till late to use a coin laundry. Someone had occupied it for a long time. I left the motel in Williams at about 7:15. On the way, I dropped by a gas station. I don't know why this happened, but a guy of the station came to me and told that my car needed additional leaf springs for rear suspensions. He pointed out that the shafts for rear tires had hit the chassis. I was in a hurry but he recommended so strongly that I decided to give him 15 minutes to add the additional leaf springs. I hoped that this would help to keep my car in a good condition in the future.

I reached a parking lot in front of the Backcountry office. I tightened up my shoe laces and took a shuttle bus to get to the head of the South Kaibab Trail. I chose this trail to go down according to a recommendation of my friend. This trail is steeper than the other trail, the Bright Angel Trail. In addition, there is no water spot along the South Kaibab Trail, whereas the Bright Angel Trail has it. So, it is a good plan to take the South Kaibab Trail for going down and the Bright Angel Trail for going up.

I started to walk down at around 9:15. It was already warm even at the top of the rim, so a snow jacket was just an additional load. But I thought I needed it because a weather forecast expected a rainfall or even a snowfall on the next day. Going down the rim was not so hard. When I was a schoolboy, I was told that you should use 30% of energy for going up and keep 70% of energy for going down. But I don't think this applies to me. If you just care about where to step your foot, you won't slip. This is just like skiing, all you need to care is the positioning of your gravity center on your foot. The path soon turned red, the color of the second layer of the canyon. I got to the first rest point soon. I was a little bit hungry already, so I ate some crackers.

I thought that the only trouble was heat. But I got another trouble, sandy wind. I had some dust in my eyes with contact lenses and this made a terrible pain. Once, my right lens shifted its position in my eye and I lost a sight of my right eye. I walked down only with my left eye until I found a good shade to recover my right eye. Also, I really screwed up. I dropped my camera on the trail, and the camera was coated with red sand. The sand was even in the view finder and this made the finder unable to focus, although the lens for picture was still OK. It was a challenge to heat and dust. The red layer was so thick that it took long time to see another color on the trail.

When I came around the half point, I was so tired. I don't remember how I walked, what I saw or, what I thought, but I found a suspension bridge below me. The Colorado River looked green and this color really cheered me up. At last I got to the one side of the bridge. Just before the bridge there was a tunnel. I walked through it and went across the river. Oh, this is it! This is the cause of the Grand Canyon! I arrived at the Bright Angel Campground at around 13:30. It took about 4 hours and 15 minutes.

I got one spot, a spot with a great shade by a tree. I couldn't move for about 15 minutes. Then, I decided to set up a tent for a nap. I easily set up the tent under the shade and started to take a nap. An hour after, I was awoken by the sunshine. The shade shifted away, so I decided to shift the position of my tent into the shade again. I woke up at around 16:30 and walked to the side of the Colorado River. I touched the water. It was a little bit cool. Then, I went back to my tent and cooked my meal. I ate a cup of instant noodle, a cup of instant rice porridge, a canned fish and a grapefruit. Everything was great, just because I was so hungry. I went to bed at around 19:00. I woke up several times at night. First, I was awaken by a noise of gust at about 21:30. Then, at around 0:45, I wanted to go to a rest room. I went out of my tent and found a beautiful moon. It was almost a full moon. I also woke up in midnight. At around 4:00, I noticed a rainfall. The weather forecast was right. I surely had a rain. I had only 1 hour to get up and 2 hours to go.

The entrance of South Kaibab Trail

On the trail

Narrow part of the trail

A suspension bridge below me!

Here I got to the bridge!

My tent


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Copyright (C) Tadao Hashimoto