Thursday, April 29, 2010

Grand Canyon :: Indian Gardens to Plateau Point

This is the third installment, before continuing you might want to read the first and second parts of the story! For whatever reason, most likely just plain tired, I didn't get any pictures of our campsite. Like all of the sites at Indian Gardens it had a picnic table with a shelter over it along with metal boxes in which to store your food and toiletries (the odors will draw the critters). After a brief rest we ate our lunch of pita bread sandwiches, protein bars, and trail mix. For some reason it tasted quite good!

Then it was off to our second destination of the day – Plateau Point, which lies 1.5 miles north over a relatively easy trail. The trail to Plateau Point can be seen in the second photo of the second post in this series.

As we were coming off the last switchback and down into the canyon at Indian Gardens we had noticed a change. More trees, brighter green, and glorious Red Bud trees in full bloom! Just beyond the campground, alongside the stream, there was a grove of Red Buds. Their flowers contrasted brightly against the green of the surrounding trees and the grass growing beneath their branches.

And the little cactus plants literally covered the ground in some spots. And they were nearly ready to burst forth into bloom! On the way out to Plateau Point, we saw just one cactus in bloom with gorgeous deep red flowers, but it was too far off the trail. However, on the way back, Fred spotted another blooming cactus, just a few feet away. I just had to stop and get a few pictures of it. Amazing color. And it wouldn't be long before the desert floor was carpeted with their color. It had to have been an incredible sight.

The view of the Colorado River from Plateau Point, looking east.

Looking west.

We spent several hours at Plateau Point. Much of the time we were alone and it was so peaceful and quiet. People would come and go, make noisy chit-chat, then leave us. For a while we watched a group of six Condors riding the air thermals until they disappeared into the distance. You could occasionally hear the water tumbling over the rapids far below. Ravens soared and swallows flitted over and around us. Sitting on the rocks, on the edge, yet in the middle of the Canyon is indescribable. As the sun lowered in the sky, the air took on a chill, and we reluctantly left Plateau Point.

We thought about staying and watching the sunset, but we didn't have any lights with us. Instead, we went back, got our lights, then walked to a point that provided a decent view. We knew we wouldn't be able to actually see the sun drop below the horizon but thought perhaps it's waning rays would add some color to the Canyon. It wasn't spectacular though it was quite nice. A fitting end to an incredible day. One that started out a little “iffy” but turned out great. We really couldn't have asked for a better day to make the trek into the Canyon. Quite memorable.

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