The Big Ditch: Day 2

We awoke on day 2 with clear skies, warm temperatures and achy muscles.  All the stoves were fired up to get some coffee going and some breakfast so we could get outta camp and explore.  But we were all having such a good time just hanging out in our little back yard that we didn’t do much exploring till later in the morning.  Our first expedition was about 30 feet away at the canteen where we ordered more coffee, played a game of No Thanks (Joe picked up a hat trick with his win on this game) and sent off some postcards.  We finally got up enough oomph to head out of camp on a little walk (we decided there would be no hiking today, just walks).

Coffee talk

Our first walk was on up the canyon to the Phantom Canyon Overlook.  We didn’t actually go to the proper overlook but turned around once we were able to overlook the ranch.  Then we continued up the canyon along the North Kaibab trail in search of The Phantom. A lady we saw the previous day told us about this spot just past the confluence of 2 creeks where if you look back down the canyon you can see The Phantom.  I was having a ton of fun trying to capture on film all the little nooks and crannies and vistas and creeks and plants and artifacts we encountered along the trail.  We did find the confluence but we were unable to find anything that could be construed as The Phantom.  We headed back empty handed but did eventually see a figure on a rock face further down that looked like a sort of phantom head…so we considered that the phantom.


Back at the ranch we had a light lunch and some drinks at the canteen before heading out for another walk down by the Colorado River.  Todd stayed back at the ranch to do some reading while the other 4 of use made a loop down at the river crossing the two different bridges they have there.  We first crossed the Silver Bridge to get to the south side of the river.  This bridge has a steel grate floor which allows you to see the rushing water below you.  Apparently the mules will not take this bridge and instead have to go up river a ways to cross on the wooden floored Black Bridge.  We followed the trail along the south side of the river and connected back up with the bottom of the South Kaibab trail that we had hiked down the day before.  Through the tunnel and across Black Bridge we went but this time we took some time to enjoy the beach along the banks of the river.  It is a really nice sandy beach along a portion of the river where the water moves seemingly very slow.  The sun was getting low in the sky which gave a very different look to the canyon than it had just an hour earlier when we started our hike…..I mean walk.

Relaxing on the beach

We had dinner reservations at the canteen at 6:30 so we hustled back to the cabin and then to the shower house to take hot showers before our feast.  It was a great shower house complete with towels and a nifty little sand timer to keep your shower reasonably short.  At first I thought, “wow, I need to get these at my house so the boys know when their shower is too long.”  However, despite the amount of filth that had collected on my body from 2 days of sweating and hiking in the desert I was clean and ready to get out of the shower long before the sand ran out of the timer. Perhaps they come in shorter durations?

All cleaned up we headed over to the canteen for our stew dinner served by Eddie who was celebrating his birthday (a passing staff member mentioned it to the gathered dinner crowd as we were being welcomed in by Eddie).  The meal was quite pricey (I think $27 per person) but it was really good and super filling.  There was stew of course, but also vegetarian chili, cornbread, salad and cake for dessert.  The whole dining hall sang happy birthday to Eddie.  We wondered if it really was Eddie’s birthday or if this was a normal “prank” that gets pulled by the staff.  “Hey Sally, let’s do the birthday thing to Eddie tonight.”

Our second day of the trip was just as great if not better than the first.  But we were pooped and wanted to get to bed early for our 5:30am breakfast that would fuel us on our way back out of the canyon.  Below you can find a small selection of our photos from the day.  But, if you would like to see ALL of the photos you can see them as well as some videos at the album here.

Morning sun



Coffee talk



Uncle Rick


Morning on the trail

Mule train

Mail bag

Lost already


Phantom Ranch Overlook



Telephone poles

Uncle Rick and Joe

Rushing water




Silver Bridge


Pano of river

Joe at Silver Bridge

Silver Bridge


Black bridge beach

Relaxing on the beach

Sand pattern


Night hike


No moon

Big dipper


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *