Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bright Angel

You that have been to the Canyon may remember that Bright Angel is the name of this trail, the one that I descended to some depths on. It is also the name of a song performed by Paul Winter on an album he and his group actually recorded in the Canyon some years ago. They rafted down the Colorado, stopped here and there to record various pieces. It is one of my favorite albums and now that I have been there, it really does capture the feeling of the place. If you enjoy soulful, instrumental earth-type music you may enjoy it also. Check it out.

This is also the trail that the mules use but did not pass any coming or going. After I came back to the rim I did see a mule train below. I was slightly surprised at the size of the mules. I had in my mind the smaller slim breeds that I remembered from childhood but these are the larger, stocky mules that come from crossing with a Belgian horse. You can tell partially by their coloring and their very striking Roman nose, in addition to the size. They still have a 200 lb. weight limit on who can ride the mules though. I thought this was interesting. I wish I had gotten some pictures of the mules when we passed by the barns. As we crossed through that area I looked up to see a tall man approaching. He had a white beard with a cowboy hat pulled down slightly over his eyes. Very handsome in a rough kinda way. I thought to myself, 'that's the mule handler'. Turns out I was right, as I later saw him organizing the mules for the trip.

Another thing that I thought was interesting was that anytime we were out on the rim trails, where you had to do a lot of walking, you rarely heard English being spoken, only foreign languages. And many, many different ones at that. However, whenever we passed by the eating establishments, or when I was down in the Canyon on the trail, you heard English. That was interesting also. And not to say there were never any foreign visitors near the restaurants but the Americans seemed to flock there.
This was on the way down Bright Angel. There were a couple of these pass-through rocks. I was also surprised, although I'm not sure why, at how close to the edge of the canyon you could get. Of course, they can't block everything but you know how sue-happy people are and afraid of everything these days. But you could just walk right out on the edges and if you slipped just a little...well, nice knowing you. They actually had a sign up that said very few people fall over the edge but there has been about 600 people die in the Canyon since it became a tourist destination. They have actually published a book about it although most of the incidences are quite grisly.
If you look close to the lower center of the pic you my see some hikers who were coming up the trail as I went down. You can see how close I am to the edge and how far it is but there were only a few times that I felt uncomfortable and that was on the rim above, not on the trail.

Well, we are still in Flagstaff just enjoying a day of rest and milling around town. We are also planning where to go next. Probably Mesa Verde or somewhere similar.


HermitJim said...

Another round of beautiful pictures! Like you say, I'll bet the pictures just don't do this place justice!

I certainly do appreciate you sharing all these pictures with us!

Ed said...

I've hiked a ways down the bright angel and then up a ways from the river but have never completed the entire thing. I have done enough to know that if I do the entire thing, it will be on a breezy day. The smell of donkey piss was quite overwhelming at times.

edifice rex said...

Hey Jim! no, they don't; if fact, no 2-D image ever, can even come close. thanks!

Hey Ed! ha! yeah, i guess so! there was lots of poop on the trail but the smell was no overwhelming or maybe I'm still used to it from my younger days.

Gin said...

The real danger isn't falling, it's making stupid decisions. I did a rim-to-rim a few years ago and I was floored at how many people seemingly on the spur of the moment decided to hike to the river. I met them on my way out. Many of them had on flip-flops and none carried water. Some of them were in pretty bad shape and were still heading downward. It didn't seem to occur to them that they were doing the easy part...going down.

edifice rex said...

Hey Gin! yes, you are exactly right and I saw my share of those people too. How do people think like that? (I guess they are not thinking) I knew I was just going to do a short hike but I still carried plenty of water and even a little food and wore good hiking gear.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Enjoyed this series, Annie, and already Grenville and I know that seeing the Grand Canyon and parts west is on our "bucket list" of things to see. Interesting comment about the different nationalities on the trails and the Americans in the restaurants, seems to tel us something, ya think?