Hiking The Bright Angel Trail

Hi there! I am jumping back in time a few months to share with you the hike that my friend Wendy & I did down the Bright Angel Trail at the Grand Canyon.
Unusually for me, we were up and on the trail at 7am. It was the sensible thing to do… temperatures were bound to get into the 40s (100+) so starting in the cooler earlier part of the day was a good start.

Mules getting ready to take a group of visitors down to the Phantom Ranch

We packed our bags with lunch, snacks, sunscreen and filled our camelback drink pouches with ice & water. We were so excited to leave the majority of the tourists behind and really get down into the Canyon.

Patient Neddies

The morning light altered the views of the canyon again.

The path surface was very manageable (not like the sometimes rocky horrors of the Overland!) I loved the way it often disappeared around corners like this with oblivion over the edge!

Slowly we had cliff faces to look up to instead of down upon!

On a couple of occasions the trail went right through the cliff! Naturally its a good spot for a quick tourist snap!

It was great looking down to see the track snaking in and around the cliffs and trying to work out where we were going.

We were full of optimism… but we hadn’t actually decided how far we were going to go. I had visions of getting down as far as Indian Gardens (which is about 7km/4.5m) But talking to people and about the difficulty and the heat, we were re adjusting our thoughts to go down to the 3 mile hut

Anyway – we had no other pressing engagements so we didn’t have to decide until we found out how we felt once we got there.

Early in the day is clearly a good time to catch some of these beautiful feathered creatures!

As you know… I love rocks. And this place was stunning for layers, colours and textures.

Sometimes we would come across flowers and other odd (to me) plants

The cliffs started looming over us a lot more as time went on.

Going down for me was easy! You know I love the down parts of hikes! Wendy on the other hand was finding this really challenging – it does put a lot of pressure on your joints and her knee was telling her all about it.

But she kept smiling (and she does have a lovely new hiking shirt!)

The views kept changing and were always so breathtaking.

At one point, the advance mule party caught up to us. It was nice to stand aside and watch them plod confidently on by. Its a trek I would love to do one day.

Wendy was marvelously patient with my constant photo taking! Its really a wonder we got any distance at all!

The camelback drink packs were so handy. It was easy to stay hydrated as we walked along. We didn’t feel hungry much or tired, so we skipped stopping at the first rest point.

Always good to stop and look back up

I can’t help thinking of this as a giants jigsaw puzzle!

We were coming up on the three mile rest house. You can just see the roof on the right side.

And so – choices choices…

The three mile rest house. Time to top up water, sit and decide what to do. Since it was only about 9am, we were feeling pretty much on top of the world (despite having gone down) and were pretty keen to head down to Indian Gardens. A fellow hiker recommended we also walk out along the plateau where we would get a great view of the Colorado River.

Decision made… we were on our merry way again

It was such a great experience getting down into the canyon. On the Rim Trail you feel very much the tourist. An observer. When you are on the trail, you are a participant. It seems more real (if that makes sense)

As we got closer to the Indian Gardens, the vegetation changed quite quickly.

We got overtaken by the main mule party

I felt lucky to see a variety of flowering plants

Indian Gardens was a very pleasant rest spot. There was a place to refill on water, some toilets, seats and shade

My poor shoes! Not looking so spiffy now!

The best thing in the Gardens? The little creek! Bliss

oh – and another squirrel that I wasn’t allowed to pat.

However, a prolonged stop wasn’t on the cards for us just then. We pushed on to the Plateau track as advised. I mean… we had come this far so what’s another few miles?

This part of the trail is hot and exposed and not recommended at this time of year… meh.
Funnily we met a couple of girls who were on their way back from the lookout that acted so unimpressed about the value of the walk and view. (we dubbed them the ‘boob-girls’ due to their insanely scant attire… seriously. Hasn’t anyone heard of skin cancer or at the very least, heatstroke?? Clearly I am getting old and boring)
We continued nevertheless

(Looking back)

Well… I am going to go out on a limb here (or in our case, a rock) and say that Boob-Girls were wrong. Really wrong

The views were spectacular

I was excited to see the Colorado River so much closer. I really wished we were going to continue our hike down!

We stayed here for quite some time, taking it all in & chatting to other hikers that strolled on up.

Eventually we had to return to the gardens. It was now the hottest part of the day and we intended having lunch and a good rest before tackling the very very daunting climb back to the top!

Spot the Squirrel

I spent most of that time like this:

Eventually it was time to go. We decided to leave earlier than the recommended time. We knew we would be slow, but just intended to take it super easy and stop as much as we needed.
I think we were unprepared for the effort it took. I also think we kinda psyched ourselves out a little bit about it.
It was purely hard work and the heat sucked you dry into the bargain!

I put the camera away for the most part of the uphill slog. We worked out a way of aiming for a point, then finding shady rock to sit on. We just did it in bite sized chunks

I think we got better at it as the afternoon wore on.
We had the added distraction of meeting a few nice people and a really nice young ranger who we crossed paths with several times. He was stopping people who were hiking down to find out where they were aiming for and gently getting them turned around to go back. He was really good at it. He didn’t suggest they go straight back, but walk on a bit to have a look before returning but also letting them know that at 4pm, its not giving you a lot of time to get back UP again.
A distressing number of these people had on the most extraordinary footwear too!
It was really interesting to hear how the rangers handled emergencies and other situations. Apparently being choppered out was the last resort. Sadly my blisters didn’t quite make the grade of super emergency chopper ride out.
They have emergency kits stashed at the huts. Most problems are dehydration and exhaustion. Rangers will go to hikers in trouble and set them up to sleep for the night, rehydrate them and walk them out in the morning.
I think this fellow had a pretty wonderful job!

When you’ve been walking for 10 hours and you look up… sigh. Still had to get to the top of that!

Look at this face!! Still smiling but you can see she is exhausted! We were both having the time of our lives, but also quite ready to collapse into our sleeping bags!

Seeing that tunnel was looking at the home stretch!

Back up to the top! 7pm, 12 hours, 20km (12miles) and we were done!
I am so glad we did this incredible hike – it was one of the best days ever!
Mind you we couldn’t actually move the next day, but it was worth every ache & pain!

Hope you enjoyed sharing a little of our day!


Herding Cats, Aliens & Stormy Skies

Road trip stop for sandwiches!

Hello! So – where does the herding cats thing come in? Try organising a schedule to fit in a considerable amount of people and too many sighseeing spots in an international country in a limited time!
Yes – working on our Japan trip as it has to be locked in at some point! I have so many great places I want to show my parents and lots of people to meet – they may come home to Australia slightly ruined.

Anyway – it rained today a lot, so a good day for messaging people and researching trip particulars.
And I did a few photos from the US!

I love taking long drives – I love the scenery out the window, stopping for random picnics (now Wendy knows how essential and wonderful it is to add cucumbers to your sandwiches)

Peaceful roadside stop

I was rapt to stop in Roswell – I love all that tacky alien stuff! I would have liked to have stayed longer to look, but we had a loooong way to go.

We stopped long enough for some silly selfies and a bit of a look and be proper tourists by buying t-shirts and bumper stickers!

I should have bought the alien coke…

Mysterious footsteps

Every which way you turned there was an alien something!

Down the road we found a couple of enormous cowboys! (The photo above looks a bit surreal doesn’t it?)

After the hustle and bustle of the wedding I was stuck in a car for two days with this mad woman –

Its ok – I let her stop frequently for coffee and all was good!
Actually it was just great the two of us – only had about 37 years of life to catch up on!!
Luckily as I mentioned before, we got along like a house on fire and didn’t need to pull over at any stage for time outs! Snicker…

I didn’t get a long way though photos today, but I will leave you with this set of fabulous skies in the middle of Texas somewhere!

The colour and flatness reminded me of parts of Australia too!

Wendy pulled over and I got out of the car here… nearly got blown over! Certainly not hurricane level, but impressive nonetheless!

Grand Canyon – Day One, Part Two

Hello! I hope you had better weather than us, wherever you are in the world! It was a raining/pouring kind of day here in NW Tasmania. A good chance to sit tight and get through a slew of holiday photos.
Brace yourselves… 😀

Goofy/weird photos are a must.

We had slipped into town to grab a bite to eat and rest, then returned to the rim to walk along the edge to the Kaibab Trailhead.

Stunning, breathtaking, awesome and all the other words.

I was encouraging Wendy to be a tree hugger like me. I think we should have found a less spikey tree! haha

See how great the paths are along the rim? So accessible for everyone.

I possibly hugged this gorgeous tree…

We reached the trailhead and topped up our water bottles – and watched a squirrel take advantage of the fresh water too!

We had planned to do the Bright Angel Trail on day two and this trail, the Kaibab, on day three. We hadn’t counted on not being able to move on day three, so I am glad we saw the trailhead and walked down a little way while we were there

Absolutely formidable looking path!

As well as the amazing views, there was always a squirrel on hand to entertain!

I miss my buddy! Looking forward to when they come to visit us so we can hang out again and do some more crazy hiking.

Getting towards the end of the day, we took one of the buses back to the main area and got into a spot to enjoy the sun going down over the Canyon.

The afternoon light gives it a whole new beauty

Everyone was set up to enjoy the moment!

Some positions looked a wee bit precarious!


Every time I turned to look, the light was different!

And then it was goodnight

It was a fantastic first day – we walked forever and saw so much! But it was time to crawl into our sleeping bags as we planned to be out early the next day to do our big hike.
Hope you have enjoyed the images – such a stunning landscape!


Grand Canyon – Day One, Part One

Hello! I am glad I got into Ruby’s garden yesterday, because today was hopeless… rain, sun, rain, sun… cold!
Thought I might torture you will the start of my million Grand Canyon photos!
Honestly… I tried to cull…

After two days of driving (Wendy driving that is!!) We arrived in the dark to our campsite, set up a tent and fell into our sleeping bags.
The next day we got up to the visitors centre & shops and made sure Wendy had her coffee (very important) before following the crowds to the edge

We were on the South Rim. And that first glimpse is gob-smacking! Its so hard to get your head around the sheer scale of it.

Reflecting the vast number of visitors, the Park is beautifully set up to accommodate the constant flow of traffic – both foot and vehicle. The track along the rim is easy – mostly paved and very accessible to one and all. Courtesy buses drive too and fro constantly.

Small detours for those more nimble footed to get closer to the edge

Plenty of sensible lookout points along the entire area

And lots of opportunities for the brave to escape the crowded spots to enjoy a moment of peace with the view (and a photo-op)

Despite the precarious looking perch, getting down there wasn’t tempting death at every step and the outcrop very stable.

The view kept subtly changing as we walked along

Sharing our age!!

The interpretation signs along the path were fantastically done. Really good clear information without overloading you too much.

Supergroup Stromatolite

I especially loved the display of the different rocks along the path.

Bass Limestone, 1,190 million years old!!
Horn Creek Granite. 1,713 million years old!
I failed to get the information on this one, but its a striking piece!

And my favourite –

Folded Vishnu Basement Rock

Lucky they were all firmly attached and too big for my backpack!

There were lots of cool trees about for me to admire (and maybe hug)

The view continued to mesmerise us and every chance we got we ducked into another lookout point to gaze over the folded & layered landscape

Little did we know that what we were looking down on to was where we were going to actually be on the following day!

We might be a little overly proud of our mammoth hike, but it was an amazing experience. The arrow points to the end of the plateau which was the furtherest point of our hike

And just in case you can’t see our trail –

An apt spot for a selfie…

Anyway – moving right along…

Then I had a complete tourist moment. Squirrels. I am deprived of squirrels in everyday life and I find them rather adorable!

Resting squirrel


Wendy assured me that if I patted one I wasn’t allowed back into the tent to sleep. (Snicker)

Non-resting squirrel
Posing-look-I-am-adorable squirrel
Squirrel photo-bombing my tree image

Ok – enough of the squirrels. (They amuse me)

We made it to the Bright Angel Trailhead where we could see where we planned to start our hike from the following day.

The switchbacks looked fairly daunting

The red line indicates where the actual track is! Gulp!
The trail had some cool tunnels cut into the rock

So – thats probably enough for one post, even though we weren’t finished exploring the rim trail. We were eventually driven away by hunger before coming back to finish our days exploring. More on that another day!

Hope you have enjoyed a bit of a look at this most spectacular place!


Petrified Forest National Park – Part One

Hello! Things are a bit slow and (dare I say) slightly boring around Norwich House the last couple of days. Definitely getting things done, but not exciting things!
Happily I have just about finished my post processing on the wedding photos, a few tail ends to tidy up before posting the files back to Texas, so I have made a little start on my actual holiday photos!!

The one request my husband made for me to bring home, was a piece of petrified wood! (ok, and alien bumper stickers from Roswell… haha).
Imagine my delight when, on the drive up to the Grand Canyon, Wendy and I stumbled across an entire petrified forest!!!!

Because this was day two of driving (correction – Wendy driving, me being the moral support and entertainment division) we limited ourselves to 2 hours of exploring.

Four hours later we finally extracted ourselves from this spectacular and unexpected landscape.
It was so beautiful!

The road through was 42km (26 miles) with lots of viewing point stops and the opportunity for a walk or two.

Initially we were greeted with pallets of red, pinks, oranges with smatterings of green.

We made a brief stop off to see ‘Newspaper Rock’
There are around 650 petroglyphs covering a series of rock faces in a small area that you overlook from a viewing platform.

The markings were made by ancestral Puebloan people over a number of generations, between 650 – 2,000 years ago! Amazing!
So many little details cover the rocks.

I like this one – I think of an elderly person with a bad back and a walking stick…

I imagine this is a huge eye broken off from a large statue/painting. Well…actually I couldn’t find much about this so I am just making it up in my head! Its cool though.

So, from warm colours to artwork, then abruptly the landscape changed colour!

Incredible layers of blue, white and rust showing a timeline of events. The red layers (top) show where the rivers ran at that time. The blue and red layers were laid down in the rivers floodplain and the white ash layers record volcanic eruptions and are used to determine the rocks exact age!

We finally found some petrified wood, by the way!! I think in my head when I thought ‘petrified forest’ I had vague images of silently standing stone trees (upright of course)

Clearly that was not the case although I quite liked my romantic notions. (I watch too many fantasy/sci-fi programs!)

But it was fantastic to start seeing more of the ‘trunks’ and pieces of the petrified wood that would have been in river beds a ridiculously long time ago. (We are talking 255 million years ago that these trees were living, if you can wrap your brain around that!!)

We drove on a bit further, played tourist…

Met a crow…

And then took time for a walk down into the Blue Mesa – one mile down to get really among it all

We came across some track workers – would have been hot work but what an office to spend your day in!!

We started coming across various chunks of petrified wood along the pathway

Some were totally backpack sized!! haha (no, of course I didn’t but I did tell Wendy it was like walking through the valley of temptation!)

We really enjoyed our (hot hot hot) walk down here

Close up the surface of the hills are just a baked clay!

So easy to see an ancient waterway where the wood was washed down and buried… now exposed again for us to admire!

Anyway, I will throw some more images your way tomorrow!
Hope you enjoyed the look at this most beautiful place!