GC hiking icon returns to trail after surgery<br>

GC VILLAGE — For those heading down from the South Rim on the Bright Angel Trail, don’t be surprised to see an older hiker on oxygen.

Larry 'BikerHiker' Fitzpatrick is back on the Bright Angel Trail after quintuple bypass surgery.

Trail crew workers, mule drivers and National Park Service rangers were glad to see Larry Fitzpatrick returning to the Bright Angel Trail. Locals might know Fitzpatrick better by his nickname, "BikerHiker."

Fitzpatrick returned to the trail May 26 in time for the rush of Memorial Day weekend hikers. Wearing a portable oxygen unit and showing no fear, the 68-year-old hiker explained his absence as "quintuple bypasses last month done in Phoenix; had the old pump rebuilt; sure feels good to be back on the trail."

Fitzpatrick is known for his helpfulness to hikers on the trail along with his humorous stories. "BikerHiker" has become a familiar sight among local hikers and frequent visitors with his walking stick with the big crystal and T-shirts with fun quotes. His wife, Ellen, is a National Park Service ranger.

Fitzpatrick rises every morning at 4 and gets ready for his sunrise trek down the Bright Angel Trail. He’s also a gifted musician who has performed street dances and benefit concerts throughout Arizona over the years.

A well-known radio and television personality in Needles, Calif., during the 1950s, Fitzpatrick also played with big bands in Las Vegas.

Those who are frequent drivers up and down State Route 64 may have noticed he and his wife’s Adopt-a-Highway area, which runs from miles 229-231.

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