Phantom Canyon 2008 – Day 7

Synopsis: Return to Bright Angel Campground (4.4 miles). March 13.

Today, we’d pack up and hike up-and-over Utah Flats, back to Phantom Ranch. We got tired just thinking about it.


Ready to leave Overhang Camp. L-R: Chris, Sara, Kev, Reid, Erin, Charles.

Photo by Charles Yeamans.
medium (171k), large (445k), full size (694k)

Charles adds: While taking down our pack-hanging line, I discovered some good advice for Reid on getting married. Take your wedding ring off before wedging your hand deep in a rock crack while climbing on shaky footing. If you slip, the ring can get caught in the crack and your entire weight will spike on the second-smallest digit in your hand. I’m not sure how my wife would feel if I had come back minus both my ring and ring finger. Luckily, my feet caught enough of a hold on the way down lessen the impact on my finger to the point where it just left a circular bruise and two deep gouges in the ring. Also, go with the matte finish on the ring.


Heading down Phantom Canyon. Yes, this is the trail, and yes, it’s the best way to go.

Photo by Charles Yeamans.
medium (239k), large (628k), full size (709k)


The ascent slope and Cheops Pyramid.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (199k), large (565k), full size (2150k)

We were able to take a slight short-cut as Reid had seen a fork up the slope a bit when we’d passed by on our waterfall day, so we didn’t have to go all the way to Disappointment Camp before starting up.


Chris on the slope.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (222k), large (609k), full size (2236k)


A collared lizard by the trail.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (177k), large (453k), full size (1632k)


Erin and Chris approaching the top of the ascent. Here is where the trail forks; right goes down to Phantom Canyon while left goes up and over the Cheops-Isis saddle and down to Trinity Creek.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (225k), large (626k), full size (2328k)


View back into Phantom Canyon from Knoll 4414.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (131k), large (377k), full size (1519k)


Kev taking a breather at Knoll 4414, with Zoroaster Temple in the background.

Photo by Sara Tatge McCarty.
medium (99k), large (262k), full size (1138k)


BONUS photo of Charles peeing!

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (186k), large (551k), full size (2168k)


Panoramic view from Knoll 4414, centered looking roughly eastward.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (744k), large (2173k), full size (6462k)


Chris climbed to the top of Knoll 4414.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (135k), large (368k), full size (1423k)


Cactus minefield on the slopes of Cactus Hill. On this return trip, we found a trail through the worst of it. This made the going quite a bit easier through this section; we’d missed it going the other way.

Photo by Erin Tatge.
medium (147k), large (408k), full size (1506k)


Chris enjoying the view on Utah Flats.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (127k), large (344k), full size (1354k)


Hopefully we won’t end up like this guy...

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (187k), large (498k), full size (1825k)


Again, lunchtime at the top of the slope down to Phantom Ranch.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (165k), large (456k), full size (1742k)

Charles adds: At lunch, I discovered the greatest addition to my already-favorite backpacking sandwich ever, courtesy of Erin and Reid. My basic backpacking sandwich is salami, cream cheese, generous quantities of dark spicy mustard, on a tortilla. The addition is commercial cheese-flavor-flavored French fried onions, likely crushed by this point in the trip.


Making our way through upper Piano Alley.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (203k), large (545k), full size (1987k)


Piano Alley.

Photo by Erin Tatge.
medium (104k), large (265k), full size (1562k)


Reid making his way down to the saddle which divides Bright Angel Canyon (on the left) from Piano Alley (not visible).

Photo by Erin Tatge.
medium (128k), large (334k), full size (1964k)


The lower slopes of Zoroaster Temple from the Piano Alley saddle. You can see the constructed Clear Creek Trail ascending the far wall of Bright Angel Canyon.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (129k), large (356k), full size (1412k)


Charles resting at the saddle.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (138k), large (373k), full size (1435k)


Reid and Erin.

Photo by Sara Tatge McCarty.
medium (96k), large (246k), full size (941k)


Chris descending, about halfway down to the bottom from Piano Alley saddle. This section is steeper than it looks in this shot.

Photo by Erin Tatge.
medium (135k), large (370k), full size (2276k)


Sara descending.

Photo by Erin Tatge.
medium (133k), large (346k), full size (2005k)


Cottonwoods at Phantom Ranch have leafed out significantly since we left.

Photo by Erin Tatge.
medium (123k), large (326k), full size (1981k)

Finally, we were at the bottom. It was strange to be around people. Again, we mocked the campers here who hadn’t left the metaphorical parking lot, who looked clean and rested and had bananas.

Earlier, Charles had told us that he thought the Phantom Ranch canteen sold ice cream, which was enough to keep Erin and Chris going. Once at the bottom, they raced to the canteen, arriving with just five minutes to spare – at which point it was already closed to prepare for supper, and when they knocked on the window, they were mocked for believing there might be ice cream.

Charles adds: I had been fairly sure about the ice cream thing. Upon further recollection, I think it was actually a fuzzy memory from a Grand Canyon river trip in my childhood, where my mom had convinced the kids that the Phantom Ranch canteen sold ice cream. Upon arrival, we were mocked for believing there was ice cream.


Chris’s insoles. I suggest prompt replacement.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (197k), large (513k), full size (1915k)


The freckles on Sara’s nose form a circle with a slash through it, the universal “no” sign.

Photo by Erin Tatge.
medium (98k), large (251k), full size (969k)

Ranger Paul and one of the rangers we’d seen in Phantom Canyon came around to check us in. The answered most of our other questions but were evasive when asked what had been going on in Haunted Canyon. Pot-smoking, clearly.

Charles made us veggie chili.

Please continue reading on Day 8.

Copyright © 1999-2013 Reid Priedhorsky and Erin Tatge. Last modified: 2010-01-24 19:03 CST. Disclaimer.