Grand Canyon Dayhiking, 2001

The South Kaibab Trail to Skeleton Point

Life is Good! On April 3, 2001, the Wyants embarked on a dayhike down the South Kaibab trail to Skeleton Point and back. Family members included Ralph (age 75) and Millie Wyant (age 74), first-timers Greg, Maggi, and Sara Wyant (age 12), and Arizonans Cindy and Dave Wyant. The route to Skeleton Point and back encompasses 6 trail miles (round-trip) and 2000' of elevation change, a considerable feat for the visiting Indiana flatlanders. All did well on the trail and all had a good time.

Click on any image to enlarge.

April, 2001

Our Canyon adventure began with a sightseeing evening on the South Rim, that included several visits to the village gift shops and a stroll along the rim trail in the vicinity of Bright Angel Lodge. We spent our first of two nights at the Canyon in Yavapai Lodge. On Tuesday, we awoke at a reasonable hour, ate in the cafeteria, and did some final packing for the hike. We walked 1/4 mile to the new Canyon View Information Plaza where we caught the free shuttle bus to the Kaibab trailhead. At 10:00am, we started down the trail.
The "before" picture
Upper Kaibab
The upper Kaibab Trail

It is always good to be back in the Canyon and this day was no exception. Our descent was slow and was interrupted by numerous photography stops.... completely expected for first-time Canyon hikers. But it was of no matter, as we had all day to walk 6 miles. And with packs containing flashlights and plenty of water, it would even be acceptable to finish after dark. The slow descent was enjoyed by all.
Dad walks the edge.
Photo time
Mom captures the moment.
Sara enjoys the trail.
Mule riders at Cedar Ridge
"Wild" life
On our way again.

We arrived at Cedar Ridge in 1:15 hours and paused for a leisurely snack break and restroom stop. The chill of the cooler temperatures and stiff breeze upon the rim had subsided to a pleasant and comfortable temperature. Numerous clouds roamed the sky, but this added character to our photos. In a half hour, we were on our feet again and ambling down the trail toward our destination of Skeleton Point, which is at the end of a plateau above the Kaibab switchbacks. Along the way, a ranger pointed out the flowing Cheyava Falls, far across the Canyon. This waterfall flows only for a month or two in the spring and is fed by snowmelt and spring runoff. It was clearly visible, but almost unnoticeable until the ranger pointed it out.
Onward down the trail.
More mules.
Far away Cheyava Falls.

After 3 hours, we arrived at Skeleton Point and stopped for lunch and to enjoy our inner-Canyon vista. The muddy-brown Colorado river was now visible below, as was the greenery of Bright Angel campground and the edge of Phantom Ranch. We rejoiced in the Canyon beauty and the pleasure of all being together in such a special place.
Skeleton Point
Our destination: Skeleton Point
Happy hikers.
A rest stop with a view.

After a 45 minute rest break, we left our scenic viewpoint and began the 2000' climb back toward the rim. The mood was festive, but the walking was now more laborious and purposeful than before. Nevertheless, the good mood prevailed and all climbed well and with good cheer. Within an hour, we arrived again at Cedar Ridge and paused for a last rest break before tackling the remaining 1100' ascent.

The remaining climb to the rim was again purposeful, but also carefully paced. All did well and we happily exited the Canyon in the late afternoon, feeling well and happy. We caught the shuttle bus back to the Canyon View Information Plaza, walked to our lodge, showered and enjoyed a pleasant "victory" dinner at Bright Angel Lodge before heading for our rooms and a much-deserved sleep. A successful trip, all vowed to return for future Grand Canyon adventures.
Climbing above Cedar Ridge
Maggi and Sara
Maggi and Sara
Out!   The "after" picture.

Check out Ralph and Millie Wyant's account of their visit.

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