June 02, 2013

A couple of weeks ago I took an afternoon hike down into the Grand Canyon.

I initially considered hiking all the way to the Colorado River and back, something I haven’t done since December of 2005 when my dear friend Miriam and I made the trip. That would make a 16 mile hike with 5,000 ft elevation loss followed by 5,000 feet gain. Rangers say don’t do it. I say why not?

I started down the South Kaibab Trail at 3:00pm. The temperature was in the 90s as I dropped into the canyon. Because of the late afternoon start, though, it didn’t take long for it to cool off. When I reached the Tipoff (4 1/2 miles and 3200 vertical feet from where I started), I decided to save the Colorado River for another day and instead head west on the Tonto Trail.

I was glad that I did.

The Tonto Trail runs roughly 95 miles through the length of the Grand Canyon. I was only on it for four miles, but I must say I am intrigued. The sunset that I experienced while hiking towards the junction with the Bright Angel Trail was gorgeous.

Just ask the deer that I met along the way.


Tonto Trail, Grand Canyon, WACphotography

Click on the above image to open it in a new window. Then click on it again to zoom in and explore all the details of the Tonto Platform.

Then, go see it in person! You’ll be glad you did.


The Tonto Trail follows the ins and outs of the canyon. Sometimes you will come to a place where a side canyon cuts off your path. The far side of the canyon is only 30 yards across but you may have to cut in 1/2 mile just to cross over. At one point the trail wandered into a side canyon and I found an oasis. A creek and trees and lush grass. As I neared the creek crossing I heard a sound. It grew louder as I drew closer. I couldn’t place it at first. After a few minutes I realized I was hearing frogs! Frogs in the Grand Canyon. I had no idea.

There were at least 20 that I saw. I sat and listened to them and watched the creek flow from pool to pool before tumbling over the edge of the canyon wall in a small waterfall. I a short recording of the frogs with my phone. Something I never expected to hear in the Grand Canyon.

You can listen to them by pressing the button below if you like.

[sc_embed_player fileurl=”http://wacphotography1.intothedarkroom.me/wp-316SFHN41/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Frogs-in-the-Grand-Canyon.mp3″] <- Frogs in the Grand Canyon

Last of the light and into the night.

The sun dipped below the horizon just as I made my way through the Indian Garden Campground on the Bright Angel Trail. I pulled my headlamp from my pack and hiked until 8:30 before finally turning it on.

When I neared the trailhead I found a rock outcropping to set my tripod up on to capture this image. It is a 20 minute exposure. The cliffs on the left are illuminated by the lights of the South Rim

WACphotography_Grand Canyon Afternoon_24