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June 02, 2013
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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.

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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