Day 8

April 10, 2013

Clear Creek to Bright Angel Creek and Phantom Ranch


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Today's route stats: 

    Distance:  9.2 miles

    Elevation Gain:  700 feet

    Elevation Loss:  1200 feet

We expected a pretty easy day today.  Except for the first half mile, all of it was on a very good trail.  So we got a pretty leisurely start -- about 6:45 am.  Last year I got to Phantom Ranch at 4:15, 15 minutes too late to get a beer or lemonade.  I was determined to get there before then this time.  Tom and Ethan left a little earlier, planning to get to Bright Angel Campground early enough to snag a campsite large enough for all of us. 

While hiking up Clear Creek we passed through one occupied campsite, but saw no one.  I filled up with 3 quarts of water and started up the trail leading to the Tonto platform above the Tapeats.  Most of the Clear Creek Trail travels along this level, with some minor ups and downs.  We ran into several groups heading for Clear Creek.  These were the first people we encountered so far on this hike (in over a week).

View of S Rim from Clear Creek Trail. Me, Bert, and Ben. Black and Silver Bridges.

I arrived at Phantom Creek around noon.  Marcey, Bert, Jim, Ben and I stopped at the creek to wash up.  It was pretty warm in the sun.  After about 45 minutes we continued on to Phantom Ranch.  Tom and Ethan were inside the Cantina and called for me to join them.  I started out with a lemonade (the best in the world), then followed it up with a beer.  I ran into Richard Perry in the cantina.  Small world.  After about an hour I sauntered down to our campsite.  The very last campsite is designated for groups of 7 or more, so we had a pretty large space. 

Panorama (Taken With iPhone) Along Clear Creek Trail.

Before the hike I had arranged for both dinner and breakfast at Phantom Ranch.  No one else in my group wanted to eat there.  I'm not sure why -- the food is wonderful, especially after backpacking for 8 days.  I returned to the cantina at 5 pm for a steak dinner.  Richard and his two companions were also having the steak dinner, so I ate with them.  It was a great dinner:  Steak, salad, vegetables, baked potato, and chocolate cake for dessert.

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