August 1, 2011 in Minimalist Summer Vacation 2011
(this is the start of the trail, all geared up and ready to go)
By far the highlight of the trip! I can barely move and I am eating everything in sight. Yesterday we hiked down to Indian Garden Campground, ¾ of the way down the canyon. It is 4.6 miles down with an elevation drop of 3300. We left at about 3:30 in the afternoon to avoid of the direct sun and heat. It was between 90 and 100 temperatures depending on how deep in the canyon we got… and that was in the shade. We got to our campsite right at sunset and got set up before it became pitch black. Because of the heat we started our hike back up at about 6:30 am this morning and made it to the top by 12:30. So cool doesn’t come close to describing it!
The canyon is beautiful! Really, it is hard to put into words, but I will say that hiking in it is 100 times better than just looking over the edge. Experiencing it, touching it, climbing over all the different layers of cliffs is just incredible. From the top so much of it isn’t visible, and it is all so far away. The first 1.5 miles was through a white/yellow rock, then the next section was red rock (like PEI sand) and the last section we hiked down was more black. Each section and type had its own texture and patterns. We saw lizards, ground squirrels, a snake, and mule deer.
This time of year hiking is pretty dangerous. In the sun, the bottom of the canyon can get to 130. It was well over 100 in the sun when we hiked yesterday. They rescue over 350 people a summer along the trail and warnings are everywhere. Surprisingly, it is the healthy, young males that they seem to rescue the most. Timing, water, and food is really important! We took tones of sugary and salty stuff and ate way more than I expected.
We almost decided not to try the hike. The heat was crazy, I had a bad tension headache, Bryon had some kind of food poisoning, Lily had been stuffed up for days and Ian… is 4. We ate and rested most of yesterday and took it all slow. I still have the headache (it lasts for days no matter what I do), Bryon is tired but doing much better, Lily is much better and Ian walked almost all of it! Definitely coming back, maybe next fall, to do a much longer hike all the way to the bottom. Awesome trails, amazing view!
I wish I could hike this stuff as a job. Experienced EMT’s seem to get the jobs… for good reason, so I don’t know how good my chances would be with a business degree.
There were 2 of these archways in the top part of the walk. This was the first one. They have to have signs for people who try and climb out on it and fall. I think this one is a 150′ drop right beside the trail.
This is our campsite at Indian Garden. It was a beautiful, flat site with a nice shaded area. Way better than Kings Canyon and this one is 4.6 miles down with no roads. We took this shot quick after we had packed up in the morning just before we headed up.
This was part way up. I just loved the shot down the valley.
Lily and me hiking up the trail.
Ian on the trail goofing off. He was walking so good!
More of Ian goofing off. There is more pictures of Ian because he was walking with Bryon. I carried the pack and tried to keep up with Lily (who was practically running up the trail), while Bryon slowly coaxed Ian up the hill giving him ‘skittle power’ at each switch back. We were planning on having to carry him at least half way up but he did great…. we will have to remember the skittles on future hikes
Lily saw in some brochures that these were called ‘Long Eared Taxies’. She thought this was so funny that she talked about it constantly. …. so we had to get a picture.
This was the second arch down from the top and we took the picture as we came up. Just moments after this we discovered that we left the kids water bottle down the trail a ways. Bryon took all the stuff and I ran back to find it. Thankfully a ranger had found it and I only had to go back about a 1/4 mile. It was getting hot and the sun was coming out.
Made it back to the top! About 12:30. I seriously had expected not to make it out till after dark with the kids walking slow and the heat, but they did great! We planned on sitting out the hot part of the day 10-4 at the 1.5 mile rest house with water and shade, but when we got there there was still cloud cover and we decided to trek on up.