In late November/early December my grandmother, two cousins, and I hiked Bright Angel Trail. We hiked down, stayed two nights, and hiked back up. My cousins did the extra 14-ish miles to and from Ribbon Falls and speak very highly of it (their pictures are amazing). I was unable to go with them, as they were of better physical ability than I, so I did some small adventuring around Phantom Ranch. On the way back up my grandmother quickly took ill. She became dehydrated, couldn't eat, couldn't get up after we had sat for a break at Indian Gardens (half way), and then began vomiting. One cousin stayed with her while the other and I raced to the top to get help. After a long evening of essentially no communication, we ended up having to go back down ourselves to help get the other two out. We got to the point of having to tie a rope around her waist and pull her up the switchbacks ourselves, but even that proved too much. I ran to the emergency phone at the mile and a half house. We waited there against the face of the canyon, she no longer able to move or stand at that point. We waited for about two hours in the near-freezing temperatures with a bright moon shining onto the Canyon below us and the stars gleaming above us. When the EMT arrived he radioed for another ranger to come down to assist in our emergency, and two of us were sent back up to the top while my grandmother and cousin waited for a helicopter to lift her out of the canyon at dawn.

And despite all of this near-tragedy, I can honestly say hiking Bright Angel Trail was one of the greatest experiences of my life.