The Grand Canyon
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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
I feel like a slow day after the Zion Narrows hike and so dawdle around town, re-supplying at a few different places as I go. I drive to within 60 miles of The Grand Canyon and cut into the national forest where I find a beautiful high bluff that looks out over a monster valley, with just enough room for a jeep, small tent & camping chair.
During the sunny afternoon I…
- Dry out all my wet stuff, including my boots.
- Repair a broken tent pole with my last spare piece.
- Work on my tan.
- Read huge amounts of “Travels with Charley” by John Steinbeck, a book I can’t put down.
- Finally work on my dreadlocks – they’ve been pretty ratty lately.
In the morning I am up early, in anticipation of the mighty Canyon that lies ahead. A stop at the visitors center is disappointing when I find it nothing more than a glorified book store – all of my questions are answered with suggestions of books I should buy; “But it’s only $49.95″ I am told eagerly.
Thanks, but no thanks.
Friends said the North Kaibab Trail is the way to go on the North Rim, so I set out down the trail, only really knowing that it’s steep and drops some serious elevation. I think I’ve overdone the rock and canyon formations this week and so am not particularly impressed with the view from the North Rim. When I was about 16 I visited the South Rim and my memories of that are a lot more spectacular than the view I have now. I think it’s because I am a long way from the Colorado River here and ‘the canyon proper’, so it’s not as immense as it can be in other places.
I power downhill as fast as I possibly can, knowing it’s going to be much harder and hotter on the way back up. Every step I take down I can feel the air temperature going up, as it reaches a solid 87 ˚F. Almost everyone that I pass has a huge pack and are planning on spending at least a couple of nights at the canyon floor before hiking up to the South Rim. The trail is wide and dusty, and drops elevation in a serious fashion.
I drop 3215 ft (1000 meters) to Roaring Springs, a quiet shady spot perfect for lunch. I feel like I’ve seen enough and so begin the long walk back to the top. It’s not impossibly hard, but it’s not easy either, and a steady rhythm helps me through the time.
The campground shower is only $1.50, a bargain after another big day of hiking. Before long I find myself back on my little bluff eating huge smokies with ketchup/mustard/relish, my favorite meal on the road. 😀
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