Up at 2:30AM. There's no telling how long it will take us to walk out, and in the Grand Canyon you always avoid the hot afternoon when you can. Surprisingly, our regular slave driver Andrew is the last one up.
We eat and break camp and pack, and we're ready to hit the trail a bit before 5AM.
Our first rest stop, an hour later, finds us at the trail junction where we exit Monument Creek, still in darkness.
It gets light, but sunrise has not yet touched the rim. Just before we leave it, we can look down Monument Creek at our idyll of the previous day, one more time.
Sunrise is a very fine time to be in the Grand Canyon. As a morning person, I just love it.
The Cathedral Stairs go up this rock formation. You can't actually see them.
PeterG, Jody and I have been going ahead so we can stop wherever we want for pictures. We hit a good pace and decide we'll keep going until the top of the Cathedral Stairs. Wrong. Remember how this place is much bigger than it looks. Boy, does a Power Bar ever taste good right here.
Up we go...
We're at the top, and in sunlight for the first time. Some other hikers take our picture.
We wait for the others to catch up. We still have lots of energy, so we go climbing around on the knife edge rock formation visible to the right of the Cathedral Stairs in a previous picture.
Back to the long horizontal slog between the cliffs. In the shade at this time in the morning it is very nice here.
Some images of the rock falls we have to clamber over...
While we rest at Santa Maria Spring (none of us actually need to take on water) I eat quite a bit of my food, and suddenly find that I'm out of energy. I should have probably eaten and drunk more evenly. Anyway, the rest of the way out is a slog. I'm almost out of space in the camera too. Just one picture of the nice trailwork again...
And so we've done it. The last hour was awful, but even so we managed to beat our hike-in time by a few minutes.
We stop at Pima Point to get the tourist view of our hike and campsite.
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