The Downhill Hike
Day 10 Log for April 5, 2005:
We Learned Our Lesson, Less Brutal Hikes For Us
This is the day of another big hike; Sasha had talked to one of the campground managers regarding getting a lift to the top trailhead, so that we would be going downhill the entire way for this hike. He agreed to do it which was nice, as we had tried a couple of other commercial places and they would not do it. I guess it is too early in the season for them to be carting people to the top of trailheads.
So Sasha got him to do it.
We started early – he had asked us to meet him at his trailer at 8 am. We had a hearty breakfast of oatmeal with all the fixings. We then started off, he in his truck following us to the bottom of the trail where we would deposit our truck and then got into his truck.
Side note-we forgot our walking sticks and remembered them half way up, but at that point we did not think we would need them, I’ll discuss why later.)
He drove us to the top, where the trailhead was and stated that if he did not see us by 5 pm that evening, he d get the park service out to check up on us. Very nice gesture on his part, we thought.
We took over 75 pictures this day and will try to post the highlights here. There were so many vistas and views to take in so that we could make even an attempt to display what we were seeing. All of the pictures shown were taken on April 5th.
[Future Laura – We got all the pictures in, because of the gallery shots now.]
The Log of Day 10 Cont.
Great Pictures, Beautiful Blue Day, Meeting People on the trail
This was an awesome hike and probably the highlight of our vacation!! Words cannot really describe what a beautiful place this is. We started out by talking our Campground Manager into shuttling us to the top. We dropped our truck off at the bottom trail head and Dan kindly drove us to the top and dropped us off. This wasn’t too much trouble from him as the Campground was just down the road from the park and conveniently situated to both trail heads.
Here is Sasha maybe a 1/4 mile down from the summit. The trail splits off for a short dog leg (small walk) to the Coke Ovens overlook, which we of course took. Sasha standing at the Coke Ovens overlook. The opposing rock formation has about a 600′ vertical sheer face. Straight down. You can see the last switchback at the bottom left of the wall. It is amazing that a trail was even built in this place. Furthermore, compared to the trail in Rattlesnake Canyon, this trail was extremely well maintained and marked, making for some really fun hiking.
The decent here is very similar to the Bright Angel trail coming off the top of the Grand Canyon.
Laura at the same trail junction just off the top trail head, after we returned from the Coke Ovens.
Going down the switchbacks, getting warmer. I took off my vest.
Profile view of Coke Ovens with overlook at top right. That area is the ending point of the dog leg trail.
View from the trail via wide angle lens.
Laura again. The Monument Canyon Trail comes directly down the area over Laura’s left shoulder, although the switchbacks aren’t too visible. The road can be made out in the top left.
Coke Ovens via telephoto. Observation area gate can be seen on top right.
Laura and Coke Ovens.
Sasha at a mud flow.
Laura at cairn at bottom of switch backs. We are now in a different environmental zone.
View of valley below.
Amazing! But we can’t remember which view this is – I think Cleopatra’s Couch but I’m not sure. Each time you look up at these rocks you need to make sure to steady yourself, otherwise you would fall over backwards. All the rocks are so tall and you feel so small in comparison. Great for those on a diet.
We come up to the rocks and can walk right underneath their beauty.
Laura underneath the Monument
This monument is called the Kissing Couple. And you can see the Independence Monument in the distance. We are going to get there soon.
The Independence Monument in the distance
Laura and Sasha with the Kissing Couple to the right. We ran into another pair of hikers that day, Rob and Attila. Rob was kind enough to take our photo.
Close up of kissing couple
Sasha and I keep seeing “the Monument” but haven’t quite gotten there.
These were the two guys we met on the trail. That one picture (above) has both Sasha and I at the Kissing Couple, well, either Rob or Attila took that for us. It was nice to have company on the trail, as there was NO ONE else there.
This was the view as we were leaving. Rob and Attila went back.
just wanted to show you all the trail, hopefully you can see that blue arrow and the word TRAIL. That was were we walked. Right underneath the monuments.
Sasha with the Frog. A couple of rocks had fallen from above and someone was cute enough to put these rocks to make a face. You can see the monuments to the upper right of the picture. That is how far we walked (but only shows half of the journey.)
There was this guard rail so that big rocks and other stuff would not go into the valley below. This really was not the true bottom, we had to go along a fence and expensive homes first and then we landed at the parking lot.
This hike took us about 6 hours but that was with picture taking and talking to Rob and Attila on the trail as well as just enjoying the trip. We had enough water this time around and could really enjoy the scenery more than the other trail.
We went back to the campground immediately so that we could wash up and enjoy the evening.
Check out the Signage that we did to the truck and about our evening with Larry and Kathy, our next camper neighbors at the campground with the next post.