Despite my own doubts, I actually made it up at 2am, and out of the motel at 2:30am; with the 50 mile drive and the walk from the car-park to the trail-head, I was starting the hike a little later than I wanted at 4am.
It’s quite surreal walking down the canyon at night and apart from the occasionally strong wind, there was so little noise, you could hear the slightest breath in the air. Moving down the path and out of the final glimpse of streetlight, the stars burst into my eyes, in a wonderful spray of light and if I’d had more time, I would have lay down and stared into that scene for hours. For the most part, I had the silence and stars to myself, only to be met by a few of hikers along the way and I must confess, this is the preferred way of visiting the canyon (Later, on the ascent, there would be a lot more traffic starting on their descent.)
I reached the 1.5 miles house as dawn was breaking and exchanged silence, with a younger group coming up. It’s amusing that the seasoned hikers and regulars, are full of joy and always pleasant. The only other group I bumped into, was a couple at Indian Gardens, where I made a very brief stop next, for some walking fuel. I felt amazingly refreshed at this point and of course last time at this stop, I was already feeling tired.