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All of us were making excellent progress up the trail. Mike had adopted a policy of slow-and-steady, setting a constant pace and not really stopping for many breaks. We could sense he was anticipating the high of topping out at the rim after sixty-plus kilometres of hiking in the Grand Canyon.
Impressive cliff-cut
Remnants of Winter
Upper Slopes
Up we wound, switchback after switchback, through the upper layers of the Grand Canyon's geology - the Toroweap, the Coconino, the Kaibab formations. In sections the trail is cleverly cut into steep sandstone slopes - even in places through tunnels, up to the rim. I switched on my camera's video mode and filmed the last few steps to the top. Success!
courtesy CPickering
Limestone Tunnel
The final few feet
Bright Angel Trailhead
A happy group we were as we topped out at 1:45pm - fifteen minutes within my mental objective of 2pm. There were many hugs and congratulations all around, as well as a bout of group shots at the rim.

Video from our climb out of the Grand Canyon (click to play)

Video from our climb out of the Grand Canyon (click to play)
Successful Group!
Celebratory Hug
A happy exchange
courtesy PChen
A successful team
Another happy friends shot
The entire gang
Although there was road access almost to the very trailhead here, Jenn and I had parked the cars at the backcountry info center's parking lot, so there was still some distance to cover. Jenn and I offered to walk over to the parking lot and bring the vehicles back here, to which there was no objection. So, leaving our packs behind, we briskly walked across road, track and grassy park to where the vehicles were parked. Soon we were pulling up to the Bright Angel Trailhead, where we stuffed all the packs in and drove the short distance to the Grand Canyon Grocery store, so that everyone could treat themselves to a nice post-hike snack (and so that we could take a bit of time to better pack the vehicles)
Historic Railway
Re-org time
Wow - fresh food!
Freshened up, snacked up, and re-organized, we prepared to set off for Las Vegas. But not before one final stop at a nearby rim lookout. We wanted a final farewell look at the fantastic wonder of nature that had been our home for the last five days.
One final look
The drive back to Las Vegas was notable only for the annoyingly slow traffic through the Hoover Dam area. I was definitely happy to see that another span on the new bypass bridge had been laid while we were away hiking - I won't be sad to see this traffic bottleneck going away.

Once past the Hoover Dam, we cruised into Las Vegas, stopping at an REI to return our spent (and unspent) fuel canisters, then continued on to our motel near the airport. After freshening up, we all met at a nice restaurant in the nearby MGM Grand for a final farewell dinner. We said our goodbyes to Cathy and Mike, who were remaining in Las Vegas for the weekend to relax, and headed back to the motel.
Click to view full-size with photo points
Day 5 - Salt Creek to Bright Angel Trailhead
Start Time: 5:16a.m.
End Time: 1:48p.m.
Duration: 8h31m
Distance: 18.12 km (11.26 mi)
Average Speed: 2.1 km/hr (1.3 mph)
Start Elevation: 3464ft (1056m) *
Max Elevation: 6846ft (2087m) *
Min Elevation: 3401ft (1037m) *
End Elevation: 6846ft (2087m) *
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain: 3790ft (1155m) *
Total Elevation Loss: 402ft (123m) *
 
 
* : +/- 75 feet
Elevation Graph
Backpack Day 5, Elevation over Distance
Backpack Day 5, Elevation over Time
And finally, here's a track-map and elevation profile for the entire 5-day journey. Our total distance was just under 40 miles (63 kilometres) in total, and about 7000 feet of total down and total up.
Interactive trackmap with photo points - Full 5-day backpack track - click map to view
Combined 5-day Backpack - Hike Data
Distance: 63.07 km (39.19 mi)
Average Speed: 0.6 km/hr (0.4 mph)
Time: 101h3m
Start Elevation: 6638ft (2023m) *
Max Elevation: 6846ft (2087m) *
Min Elevation: 2339ft (713m) *
End Elevation: 6846ft (2087m) *
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain: 7125ft (2172m) *
Total Elevation Loss: 6922ft (2110m) *
* : +/- 75 feet
 
 
Elevation Graph
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[ Grand Canyon 2010 home page | Introduction | Death Valley | Backpack Prep | Backpack Day 1 - Boucher Trail | Backpack Day 2 - Boucher Creek & Rapids | Backpack Day 3 - Boucher Creek to Hermit Rapids | Backpack Day 4 - Hermit Rapids to Salt Creek | Backpack Day 5 - Salt Creek to Bright Angel Trailhead | Epilogue | Video Clip Index | Supplemental - Flowers | Supplemental - People | Route Description- The Waldron Trail | Route Description- The Boucher Trail | GPS Data ]


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