|Hike Name:||Grand Canyon National Park - Phantom Ranch|
|Trip Date:||December 11, 2002|
|Trail Traffic:||Light to Moderate|
|Trip Temperature:||High: 61-70, Low: 31-40 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Trip Report:||12/11/02 (Wednesday) – It was cool last night and not easy to get out of the bag this morning. The Operator and I didn’t get up to cook breakfast until around 10am, and didn’t pack up and hit the trail until 11:15am. We had about a 4.6 mile hike to the Indian Garden campground where we planned to stop for the night. The first 2-3 miles were fairly easy and took us across the western bridge over the Colorado and along the river. The area made for some nice pictures, and we didn’t pass nearly the number of people today that we did yesterday. The Operator and I hiked for two hours with only one brief two-minute break to explore a mine near the Bright Angel Trail. After 2 1/2 hours, my legs and shoulders were maxed out and I requested a lunch break around 1:45pm. We stopped in a group of Cottonwoods along Garden Creek and noticed two bucks and a doe mule deer feeding across the creek. The gnats were vicious in this area, unfortunately, and it was difficult to enjoy the afternoon sun on the yellow cottonwood trees and the wildlife across the street. The Operator and I spent most of the break moving around to avoid the bugs.
After a turkey and cheese sandwich (on The Operator’s choice Hawaiian bread), we headed up the trail and were surprised to hike into Indian Garden in less than twenty minutes. Both the Operator and I figured we had a 1-1 ½ hour hike ahead of us, but neither of us had looked at the map most of the day and we were much closer than we realized.
At Indian Garden, we quickly found the campground and chose site #14 which sat above the other sites and near the restroom. I blew up the Thermarest and decided to rest up for about thirty minutes, but The Operator still had a lot of energy and decided to do a side hike out to the Plateau Point which was about a three mile round-trip but looked down on the Colorado from a vast Plateau. He took off around 3pm as the sun dropped behind the canyon walls and left our campsite. The temperature dropped quickly as a result and I had to make a move for the fleece before resting on the Thermarest any longer.
I pitched camp around 4pm, and The Operator was back by 5:30pm. It was in the low 40’s by this time, and I suited up in my warm clothing then took a brief stroll up the Bright Angel Trail and around the campsite before dinner. Saw 2-3 more mule deer walk through the lower part of the campground, then headed back to our site and played some checkers with The Operator before dinner. The sun only shines at Indian Garden from around 11am to 3pm in December, but we still had decent light until the sunset around 5:45pm tonight. Cooked dinner around 7:30pm tonight, then played some more checkers and craps until about 10pm when we crashed for the night.