I can’t think of a more enjoyable and challenging way to spend my 29th Birthday then a trip to the Grand Canyon and a trek down into the Grand Canyon on Bright Angel Trail. With 12.2 miles covered and 3500 ft of elevation change, this hike took every last bit of energy and determination that I had to hike the last 6 miles BACK UP.
That is the part of this hike that was so incredibly difficult, because unlike a lot of hikes in which you hike UP a mountain, this hike was 6+ miles down into the canyon, our final destination being Plateau Point to stop for lunch and the breathtaking views.
The second part of the hike back UP however was much more daunting, but definitely worth the accomplished feeling at the end! The trail wasn’t super crowded once we made our way past Indian Garden to Plateau Point. The river was muddy and brown, unlike a lot of the photos I’d seen of the Colorado River, and the color is attributed to the high volume of water and winter runoff of rain and snow.
We stayed at Mather Campground which had great campsites, but due to the very unexpected weather for the time of year, most of our neighbors were under prepared for the chilly nights and less than quiet to say the least. The first night we were there temps dropped down to 23° F at night and people were running their generators, sleeping in their cars, and staying up very late out by the fire keeping warm. (this made for little sleep before our hike!) Night two was a low of 29° and honestly felt even colder in my opinion, but we survived 🙂
The temperature change from the Rim to the Canyon Below where we stopped at Plateau Point was really interesting. There was a 30 degree temperature change with the 3500 feet of descent, and although chilly at the top, my personal pack mule, Adam, was hauling all of our layers back up the canyon once the temp hit the 70’s in the afternoon. (benefits of being the birthday girl is that you don’t carry your own backpack)
After the hike we decided to trek into town for dinner and with few options to choose from, I obviously chose the one with the cheesiest name… Yippee-Ei-O! Steakhouse and was it ever a Yippee-Ei-O! time. To sum that up quickly I got a Spaghetti and Steak Combo platter, called the Rodeo Special or something like that, and our server was dressed as a cowboy, and the place was decked wall to wall in cowboyish decor!
My 29th birthday ended with a campfire and some amazing champagne. An amazing kick-off to my last year in my 20’s!