Weather: 73°, sunny
Total time: 6.5 hours, from Bright Angel trailhead to Colorado River and back
About this hike: I have been wanting to do this one for a while. Warnings not to hike to the river abound. I consider myself in decent shape and went for it anyway. I know plenty of Canyon runners who go much further in a day than I did.
That said, it got tough right before I reached the river. Inf fact, hiking along Bright Angel Creek I thought maybe that was the Colorado River due to drought. I reached a stone shelter and was about to think about turning back...I went under the shelter and just a little ways ahead I could see the raging turquoise-blue Colorado. I continued on and put my feet in her icy waters.
While at the river I chatted with a couple who were also day hikers and they told me all about heading back up along South Kaibab trail. I was very tempted. However, water spigots were said to be in-operable on the Kaibab and my car was parked at Bright Angel. I could just see myself getting to the top after shuttles were done running for the night. Not to mention I didn't have a shuttle schedule on me, meaning I'd be guessing in the dark which bus to hop on. I opted to return along Bright Angel. Good choice too as I filled up my water tank at Indian Gardens and was dry when I reached the trailhead.
My only regret is that out of an abundance of caution I started the trek back up after just a short stay at the river. I wish I would've gone a little further on the river trail and seen one of the suspension bridges. After a grueling hike up and a long rest at Indian Gardens, I was back at the Bright Angel trailhead by a little after 5. Definitely enough time and daylight to have done the bridge.
Hikers in the Canyon and generally very friendly and will gladly share their adventures and war stories with you. This has been a long-awaited trip that I can't wait to make again. Perhaps next time I'll give South Kaibab a try.