Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Start: Indian Garden Campground
End: Bright Angel trailhead, South Rim
Miles: 4.5 (+3.0 for Plateau Point)
Elevation gain: 3300′
After a very cold and windy night huddling in the tent (though we were warm enough in our sleeping bags, provided we wore wool base layers, 2 pairs of socks, beanies, and Buff wraps across our faces), we woke up around 6am. While wearing every stitch of our clothing, we packed up, ate breakfast, and attempted to make it to Plateau Point for sunrise at 7:15. We also had packed too little food, given the cold, so we slept hungry last night and our first breakfast wasn’t enough food. But we ate it after packing up our bags in the below freezing pre-dawn temperature; we also had some hot tea which helped warm us up. We headed out for the Point around 6:50am, and made it there by around 7:20am. We took a lot of pictures, enjoying the view, loving that we had the Point to ourselves.
We then doubled back, passing by the campground as we started our ascent of the Canyon. We consistently made good time, arriving 1.5 miles beyond Indian Garden within an hour of leaving and then at the 1.5 mile rest house within 45 minutes of leaving the 3.0 mile rest house. Book time for this climb in the Whites would have been 3.5 hours. We arrived at the top of the South Rim within 2.5 hours, including 3 breaks. The last few miles had snow and ice on the trail (and tons of tourists) and the sun only made contact with us for maybe the last 15-20 minutes, so it was cold hiking out. The Rim had a low of 12 degrees last night, with a forecast high of 40, so it stayed around the same temperature as we hiked up. We also lucked out, since it looks like a large 4-8 inch snow storm is supposed to hit the Grand Canyon tomorrow and close down most of the rim until they can clear it.
Once we made the Rim, we wanted to grab food but the food court at Bright Angel lodge wasn’t open, so instead we visited the gift shop and then headed back to our car. And on our way out of the park and back to Vegas, we stopped at the huge supermarket for pizza, car snacks, and drinks.