By Michael Lanza

In the Grand Canyon, where vistas reaching for miles tend to make you feel very, very small, hiking an inordinately long distance in a day sometimes seems like the only way to get a sense that you’re making any progress. (Think hard enough and you can rationalize any crazy endeavor.) On a 25-mile dayhike from Hermits Rest to the Bright Angel Trailhead—on a day when clouds and sprinkles granted us blessed relief from the usual searing heat of mid-May—I got this shot of my friend David Ports as we passed through the shattered canyon of Monument Creek, just beyond the fragile-looking spire that inspired the creek’s name.

David and I, with two other friends, had just finished backpacking the canyon’s remote and rugged Royal Arch Loop the day before, and the two of us had added another day onto our trip in order to squeeze in a big dayhike. I had backpacked Hermits Rest to Bright Angel in four days some years ago, but my memory of that trip didn’t do justice to the almost jarring beauty of this hike—the surprises around every bend, and the variety of terrain and views between the South Rim and the Tonto Plateau.

I’ll write about this big dayhike (with advice on doing it as a backpacking trip, enjoying some five-star campsites along the way), and share many more photos from it, later at The Big Outside. Meanwhile, see menus of all of my stories about Grand Canyon National Park, national park adventures, and ultra-hiking.

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