Friday June 2, 19.7mi/31.7km

Cottonwood Campground (649.1/4060ft) to North Rim near Milk Creek (662.3/8280ft) (AZ) +4.8mi Old BA Trail alternate, +1.7mi General Store

I left my little campsite just after 7am, it was a nice spot, and the only one I’ve had (on this trail) with a picnic table. The first mile was easy, hiking on the North Kaibab Trail.

At the Manzanita rest area, I left the Kaibab Trail and turned onto the Old Bright Angel trail. The Kaibab Trail was closed for construction, and there weren’t many other ways to get to the North rim. I could see the ranger station below me along with the helicopter landing area.

It’s an old trail that hasn’t been maintained in years, but it still was reasonably easy to follow if you were paying attention.

This was a unique view that almost nobody else will ever see, since nobody takes this old trail.

I contoured above the Bright Angel creek for a half mile.

And then I came to the crossing of the creek itself. It was running very strongly with all the snowmelt, and it took me quite a while to find an optimal spot to cross it.

The crossing spot I chose was just flowing quickly, but the depth was just below my knees so it was manageable. Once I was on the other side, I took a nice long snack break in the sun and dried out my shoes. Of course, less than a mile later, but had another creek crossing. I could hear in the distance and see the little waterfall nearby.

It was a very easy crossing, only ankle deep, but I still had wet feet.

I had hiked in the Grand Canyon a few times in the past, but never had this unique view before. Looking back behind me, down the canyon:

Occasionally the trail was a little brushy and overgrown with manzanita bushes and scrub oak.

The trail slowly climbed higher and higher, and pretty soon I was at the layer of rock known as redwall.

I was getting close to the top of the climb, I could see the layer of white rock which meant I was almost on the north rim.

The last mile was extremely brushy and overgrown, and it took 45 minutes to push through all the thorny scratchy bushes. I stubbornly kept hiking in my shorts and managed to only give a little blood by the time I was done. I was very happy to see the trail junction!

From the junction, I had about an hour of hiking on the Ken Patrick Trail to reconnect to the original Hayduke route at the North Kaibab Trailhead. It was a nice little trail through a ponderosa pine forest.

At the Trailhead, I met a ranger who was stationed there to enforce the trail closure that I had just detoured around.

I like that they are doing more to acknowledge the ancestral lands of the native people. Signs like this were extremely common in Australia and New Zealand, and I’m just beginning to see them here in the US.

From the North Kaibab Trailhead, It was a short walk to the ranger station.

I asked the backcountry ranger about the upcoming section, specifically the Tapeats Creek. She said she was certain it would still be in flood stage and to avoid it. So I’ll be hiking a detour around that in a couple of days. Next, I walked the 10 minutes down to the general store and got myself some snacks.

Today was opening day for the North rim, and the general store was still getting organized. I talked with the store manager who was very friendly, and whom I may have met previously on the PCT, when she was managing the store in the little town of Stehekin WA. Small world! After I finished my microwave pizza, ice cream, and chocolate milk, it was time to hike on a few more miles. The next 30 miles of the Hayduke are on old dirt roads, nice easy hiking.

At one point the forest opened up into a prairie, it was such unexpected scenery for the North rim.

I was very surprised to see a herd of bison. I had heard that they lived up here but that they were very difficult to encounter.

I hiked on for another hour and then set up camp at a random spot in the forest. It gets cold in the evenings up here at 8,000 ft elevation so I got in my tent pretty quickly after dinner. What a tiring day.

Thursday June 1, 14.7mi/23.7km

South Kaibab Trailhead (639.9/7175ft) to Cottonwood Campground (649.1/4060ft) (AZ) + 4.4mi South Kaibab Trail, +1.1mi GPS correction

I spent the morning getting ready for the next section, which should take 7 days. I took a shower, ate breakfast at the cafe again, and went to the general store and bought some more food. I had met a few Arizona trail hikers, and one of them wanted to hike with me for the next day across the canyon. I waited for an hour at our meeting spot, but she never showed up, so I eventually got on the shuttle bus to the trailhead. I started on the south Kaibab Trail at 2pm, and reversed what I had hiked up yesterday morning.

At a spot called Cedar Ridge, I met these three hikers at a viewpoint. They are from France and we were talking about various hikes to do in Europe, and they gave me a bunch of advice for one of my upcoming trails this summer, the Haute Route Pyrenees. Cool.

(Left to Right) Bastille, Milla, Paul. I continued hiking down into the canyon, and I saw a familiar scene, the Tonto shelf, that we had been hiking for the last 4 days.

I continued further down, and the trail started to make a series of big switchbacks.

I was getting very close to the Colorado River again!

Trail junction with the Black Bridge in the background.

It is one of two pedestrian bridges across the Colorado River in the park.

And to get to the bridge, the trail travels through a blasted tunnel.

It actually wasn’t that dark inside, and it was only a couple hundred feet long.

The bridge itself was much longer, and surprisingly solid, I thought it would be a swingbridge that I could bounce on, ha!

Yep, the Colorado River is just as big as ever.

Now back on the north side of the river, there were a bunch of interpretive displays explaining the history of the area. The bridge was built in 1928 and is a civil engineering landmark.

These old ruins were from a native civilization here about 1000 years ago.

When I got near Phantom Ranch I started seeing more signs of development, like this little farm that housed mules.

Phantom Ranch is a sprawling complex with a campground, cabins, a dining hall, bathrooms, a ranger station, and probably a few more things. They even had a welcome sign!

I stopped by the Ranger station to ask for advice about one of my upcoming river crossings, but no one was there. So I signed the guestbook and browsed through the little library.

The cabins all looked really old, but also really sturdy.

I stopped up at the dining hall briefly, to check it out and buy a snack.

To get a meal requires reservations, but anyone can walk up and buy a drink or snack from the menu at the outside window.

I bought an ice cold lemonade.

I chatted with some of the other hikers there, and several of them commented on my legs, haha. After hiking this trail for over a month, they’re quite tan and muscular, so apparently it was a topic of conversation. I still had 7 miles to go to get to my campsite at Cottonwood Campground, so I hiked on up the North Kaibab Trail.

I followed Bright Angel Creek the entire time, on a trail that looked like it had been built by stonemasons.

A few times, it had to cross the creek on a metal bridge, which I was happy to have since the creek was roaring with snowmelt.

At one spot the canyon was particularly narrow, and it was quite loud with the echoing of the roaring water.

The trail is pretty flat, and climbs only 1000 feet in the 7 mile trek from Phantom Ranch to Cottonwood campground. I arrived to the campground at sunset, and setup my tent on the assigned spot. There was even a locking metal box to keep your food safe from critters!

Mileage-wise, it was a short day but it felt long due to all the elevation change hiking down into the canyon.

Wednesday May 31, 6.7mi/10.8km

Cremation Creek (637.6/3640ft) to South Kaibab Trailhead (639.9/7175ft) (AZ) + 4.4mi South Kaibab Trail

We were awake early once again, and hiking at 6am. There was about an hour of hiking on the Tonto trail, and I watched the sunrise.

The Tonto trail crosses the South Kaibab trail at a junction called the Tipoff, which was quite busy.

There was a group of 15 loud hikers hiking down the Kaibab Trail, which was a little jarring.

The longdrop toilets were a nice feature though.

These signs are always entertaining, showing how much elevation to hike, and the temperatures at each level.

We had a short break at the shade shelter, and then started our 2 hour climb up the South Kaibab Trail.

The view from below Skeleton point:

The Colorado River is way down there somewhere!

It’s fun to look down upon all the switchbacks you just hiked up.

We kept hiking steadily uphill…

…and the views kept coming.

Skeleton point.

Every once in awhile it was neat to look behind us, and see a different perspective.

Near the top, the trail goes into the shade of the ridge.

This little point had a hilarious name. Ooh Aah point!

Just minutes before the top, we met 3 other Haydukers, Peter, Zelzin, and Elina. They are doing a bunch of filming while they hike, and super fun to talk with. I hope to catch up to them later in the next section.

We got to the trailhead, and waited at the bus stop for the next shuttle bus to the Grand Canyon village.

While we were waiting, Shadow ran into an old friend of his from the PCT, “Weapons Grade”. It was really cool to see two people slowly recognize each other, ha!

The bus was pretty crowded with all of the dayhikers.

The bus dropped us off, and the first thing we did was get a breakfast burrito. Next we headed over to the backcountry office, to get our permit updated, as we are a few days ahead of schedule.

I love geology, and this cool chart showing all the layers of rock in the Grand Canyon. The mnemonic device for remembering the layers: “know the canyons history, study rocks made by time”. (Kaibab, Toroweap, Coconino, etc).

After the backcountry office, we walked over to the cafe and had a first lunch. Since Shadow has completed that Hayduke, he will be departing and going back to California. I have a seven or eight day section to get to the next town, so I went to the general store and bought a bunch of food. We set up our tents at the hiker/biker site at Mather Campground, and then hung out all day in the cafe charging our various electronics and catching up on online chores. After dinner we hung out with a fun group of three AZT hikers, and stayed up a little too late eating ice cream and joking about hiker culture.

Great day, tomorrow I will go back down into the canyon!

Tuesday May 30, 19.1mi/30.7km

Hance Creek (618.2/3680ft) to Cremation Creek (637.6/3640ft) (AZ) + 1.4mi GPS correction

We’ve been starting out at 6am recently because of the heat, and today was the same. It was a nice cool 60F when we began hiking, which was perfect for our big 1500ft climb up to Horseshoe Mesa.

The trail was pretty steep coming up from Hance Creek, and we decided to skip this water source since there are at least 2 others later today. The tonto shelf is usually pretty dry and we were lucky to have so many water options.

We kept climbing up and up.

Near the top there was some old mining equipment and a mine shaft.

They used to mine copper here around the horseshoe Mesa area. Ignoring claustrophobia, I took a few steps inside to investigate the site.

They were old metal equipment pieces, pipes, barrels, and other various hardware lying around. Neat! We hiked another 10 minutes to the top of horseshoe Mesa and took a break with a great view. Looking back down on what we had just climbed up:

The top of Horseshoe Mesa had several of these signs…weird.

There were some more old mining structures on the top of the mesa.

It was also a popular area for backpackers, with many official campsites scattered around. The long drop toilets were a nice feature too.

After another break in the camping area, we begin our descent down off the Mesa, and into cottonwood Creek.

The hike down Cottonwood Creek was mostly in the dry wash, and it reminded me of previous sections of the Hayduke where this was very common.

We stocked up on a couple liters of water at the creek, to make it to our next source 6 miles away.

Once we left the creekbed, we spent all day hiking on an almost perfectly level trail. The tonto trail contours along the Colorado River for miles and miles. It was really cool to look down at The Colorado River far below us.

Sometimes the trail would travel really close to the edge of the cliff, which definitely got our attention. It was still easy hiking, and I found it quite enjoyable.

We stopped at Grapevine Creek for another water refill and a lunch break. It was nice to stop in the shade, courtesy of the only tree in the area.

After spending almost an hour hanging out in the shade and eating and drinking, we hiked on into the hot afternoon, it was now 90F. These cacti seem to thrive at this elevation and climate, they were pretty big!

The views kept coming all afternoon. It was really nice being high above the river, and getting so many views up and down the canyon.

Our final water stop for the day was at Lone Tree Creek. Most years it doesn’t have water but we were lucky that it did have water this year.

We hiked another 3 miles along the Tonto plateau, to cremation Creek where we planned to camp.

There weren’t any obvious camping spots around, so we just camped in the dry wash. The setting was spectacular.

Surprisingly we hiked 21 miles today, which is pretty far by Grand Canyon standards. But the trail was nice and flat and it felt easy. Tomorrow we will hike up to the South Rim, which is only 7 miles away so it will be a short day.

Monday May 29, 19.1mi/30.7km

Tanner Rapids (602.3/2720ft) to Hance Creek (618.2/3680ft) (AZ) + 2.7mi GPS correction +0.5mi water detours

We started hiking at 6am to avoid the heat, and the morning was nice and cool. The Colorado River was still very loud as we passed by the rest of Tanner Rapids.

The first hour of hiking was easy and flat along the river, and slowly the sun started to creep down the cliffs.

We stopped at Cardenas rapids to get more water, which of course was ice cold. Yesterday the ranger told us the water was 46F/8C.

Most of today was on the Escalante Trail. Unlike the Beamer Trail, this one wandered all over the valley, and seldom stayed near the Colorado River. Pretty soon we were high about the river.

The Colorado River did a huge 180° turn, and we had a neat perspective looking straight down the river.

I started seeing cacti that had both green and purple lobes… weird.

We hiked towards this cliff for a long time, I knew we were not going up the cliff, but I was curious where the trail was going to go.

At the last minute it did a hairpin turn and we were back out in the sunshine. Looking back on the Colorado River:

Looking ahead:

I found another lizard that was posing for me!

Eventually the trail descended back down to the Colorado River, and we got more water. Seventyfive Mile rapids looked pretty huge.

Then we hiked uphill again, and dropped into the canyon for Seventyfive Mile Creek. Shadow coming down one of the steep parts:

This flower was huge!

The canyon immediately became a narrows and it was really fun to walk through.

It was nice and cool inside.

At one point it got really skinny!

We arrived back out to the Colorado River, and there was a short section that was blocked by water.

We discussed swimming the short distance, but the back current was a little too strong for comfort. So we had to scramble up and over the cliff instead.

That chimney was not the correct way, but eventually we found an easier way that was steep but possible. Up on top of the cacti were huge.

The descent back to the river was down a loose steep gully of talus. Gross.

At least the view was pretty good.

It took us half an hour to get down the gully without knocking rocks on each other.

Then we had a nice flat mile long walk right along the Colorado river.

It was even in the shade!

At this point, the Escalante route ended, and we picked up a new trail called the Tonto trail. We departed the Colorado River for good this time, and climbed high above towards the plateau.

We surprised a huge pack of animals, and they made a ton of noise as they ran away.

After 2 hours of slowly climbing uphill 1500feet, we arrived at our planned campsite at Hance Creek. It was beautiful!

We made dinner while we listened to the birds and frogs all around us. Amazing! Tomorrow is supposed to be another hot day so we will start early again, to avoid the heat!

Sunday May 28, 19.6mi/31.5km

Nankoweap Beach (584.1/2800ft) to Tanner Rapids (602.3/2720ft) (AZ) +1.1mi Nankoweap Granaries, + 0.3mi GPS correction

I was awake at 7am, knowing it would be a late start today. The rafting group that is camping on this beach with us agreed to give us a ride down the river tomorrow, but they aren’t leaving until 9:30am. So I decided to explore the local area and hiked a half mile up to some ancient ruins called the granaries.

They were pretty neat, but to me the best part was the view from up there. I could see pretty far down the river and where we were going to be going today.

I hiked the half-mile back to camp and made sure I was packed up and ready to go. Pretty soon a boat pulled up on the shore, which isn’t uncommon here. Then I realized it was the Park service boat, And the rangers were making sure everyone had the right safety information.

They were surprised to see hikers here, and we chatted for a few minutes about the Hayduke route, also they checked our permits. After they left, one of the kids in the rafting group showed me how to build a sand drip castle. Fun!

Eventually we all boarded the rafts and headed down river.

This family trip was a group of 10 people on 4 rafts, they were all super friendly and we kept changing the lead throughout the day.

The Canyon was pretty wide here.

There were some little riffles, and one big set of rapids that we had to go over. I was able to get a photo of one of the riffles, for the big Kwangunt Rapids I had to put away my phone and hang on to the raft.

Around 2pm we pulled up to the Little Colorado River. The family would be continuing on down the river but this was our exit point. That was a very easy way to do nine miles!

The water in the Little Colorado is a bright blue, and it was amazing to watch it mix with the brown water of the big Colorado River.

We said goodbye, and the rafting group departed. I waded across the little Colorado which was mid-thigh deep.

I met up with shadow on the opposite shore, And we had lunch under the shade of a bush. After lunch we hiked the Beamer Trail all afternoon. It was great! It travels a couple hundred feet above the Colorado River with amazing views.

The confluence of the Little Colorado flowing into the big Colorado River.

The trail contoured around on the edge of a cliff for miles.

I could see the rapids far below on the river.

The Beamer Trail kept going….

And going….

The weather was ridiculously hot and we kept taking breaks every 30 minutes. I loved the Beamer trail, but perhaps doing it in the cooler hours of the morning would have been better. Near the end of the Beamer Trail, I ran into a hiker named Griggs.

The name sounded familiar but I couldn’t place it. We chatted for a few minutes about upcoming water sources and other trails we’ve hiked, It was so random to run into him in the middle of nowhere! I continued down the rest of the Beamer Trail where it met up with the Colorado River again.

I refilled my empty water bottles, It was so hot I drank two liters in six miles. Yikes. It was now 6pm and cooler weather, and shadow and I hiked on a few more miles. The trail stayed next to the river which was nice, but the soft sand was not so nice.

Some of the rapids looked bigger up close. And loud!

Just before our planned camp spot at the Tanner Rapids, the trail climbed back up on a bench for the last mile. It was in the shade so I didn’t mind the climb, and the views were spectacular.

Looking down on the serpentine Colorado River:

The sun’s rays filtering through a side canyon:

We got to our camp spot at 7:30pm, which is definitely later than usual. The miles came slowly in the heat this afternoon, and we had a late start this morning, so it was expected. We set up camp a little ways back from the river, as the rapids were quite loud here.

After the usual routine of dinner and planning tomorrow, I went into my tent and instantly fell asleep. A very tiring day!

Saturday May 27, 13.4mi/21.6km

Nankoweap Trailhead (572.8/8840ft) to Nankoweap Beach (584.1/2800ft) (AZ) +2.1mi GPS correction

I was awake early, because I wanted to see the sunrise over the Canyon at 6am. It did not disappoint.

I walked back to the tents, Shadow was just waking up.

We walked by where Enigma was camping and said goodbye, and hit the trail at 7am. Right away we entered the Saddle Mountain wilderness, I love seeing these wilderness signs.

First we had to hike up Saddle Mountain, where the views only got better.

It was a very short climb, maybe only a few hundred feet, And then we started our very long descent to the Colorado River.

After two miles we came to a trail junction, and took a break.

The sign had fallen down, but it said we just entered Grand Canyon National Park!

And this little sign about elevation was a little eye-opening. We were descending 6,000 vertical feet to the Colorado River! (Sorry knees!)

The trail dropped down a little bit to a shelf on the side of the cliff.

We contoured around the cliffs on this very narrow trail for a few miles. Some parts of it were only one shoe wide, so we made sure to focus on every footstep.

After more than an hour of that mentally taxing hiking, we came to Marion Point, and took a break.

Apparently a small team of cave researchers had set up camp here for the week to explore the caves nearby. Neat! We enjoyed our snacks and drinks in the shade, and eventually continued on the narrow trail.

The Nankoweap trail is described as the park’s most difficult trail, and not suitable for people with a fear of heights. I think that description is very accurate.

Shadow hiking on the trail behind me.

Finally, the trail rounded a corner and I saw the end of the cliff section.

We walked on the top of the wide ridge for a short while, and then descended down one side of it. The exit point from the ridge was pretty clearly marked, I love it.

We switchbacked down the side of the ridge, getting new views at every turn.

We had descended low enough to start seeing a completely different plant community. And the prickly pear cactus were blooming everywhere!

These flowers were pretty fancy looking too.

Finally we had descended all the way down to Nankoweap Creek.

Even though it was after lunch time, I was so excited about getting cold water, I completely forgot to eat lunch. Oops. We hiked down the creek for a couple of miles.

Some of these desert plants had really tall things growing out of their center.

I thought this cliff looked like a castle.

We kept walking along Nankoweap Creek all the way down to the Colorado River.

Down along the shores of the river, the prickly pear cactuses were everywhere.

We had to hike along the shores of the Colorado for a half mile to a designated camping area. Many rafting parties use these campsites as well, and we met a private group from Idaho who had just pulled up as well. They gave us cold drinks!

We offer to help them unload their boats, but no help was needed they seemed to have their routine very practiced.

We sat around and watched the sunset on the Canyon walls.

After Shadow and I ate our dinners, we were invited over to help them finish their leftover food. Amazing!

This was one of the most remote and unusual spots I’ve ever had for trail magic. We sat around for a while after dinner and chatted, they were a fun group to talk to. Eventually the sun set and I walked over to my tent to go to bed.

Even after sunset, the Canyon walls kind of glowed for a while, it was surreal to see.

Even though we didn’t hike that many miles, it was a very long tiring day, more mentally tiring than anything. Tomorrow there is a 9-mile stretch along the Colorado River, which is usually a hike/bushwhack. But with the water running so high this year, we will need to hitchhike in a raft down to our next trail junction. Hopefully we can get a ride quickly!

Friday May 26, 15.0mi/24.0km

Dog Lake (558.3/8785ft) to Nankoweap Trailhead (572.8/8840ft) (AZ) +0.5mi GPS correction

When we woke up at 6am, we both had frost on our stuff! My tent has a little bit of frost on the side that wasn’t under a tree.

Shadow’s sleeping bag was covered in it, since he had cowboy camped.

It was only 28F/-2C, so we waited until the sun came up over the trees to dry our stuff. The sun hit us at 7am and things melted quickly, and by 8am we were hiking out. The water source nearby was Dog Pond, which was very full of water.

Within 10 minutes, we came to East Rim viewpoint.

It was shocking to see all the way down to the plateau below us, and then the Grand Canyon is entrenched thousands of feet within that. Wild!

I love seeing these AZT signs, someday it would be fun to hike the whole thing, all the way to Mexico.

The trail started off nice and dry…

But every time it went into dense shade, or a north-facing slope, there were some residual patches of snow.

For a brief section, the trail was full of meltwater.

Pretty soon though the tiny stream split from the trail.

I caught up to Shadow at Crystal Spring, which had a shockingly deep concrete well.

The next couple of hours were spent hiking on a gradual uphill following small streams. Sometimes the stream was overflowing and it engulfed the trail.

Tiny patches of snow remained alongside the trail all morning, making everything soggy and wet.

I came to a road just before noon, and this is where the Hayduke splits from the Arizona Trail.

The road was nice and dry, and I joined Shadow (who was already there) for lunch and then a short nap.

The nap was rather accidental, but it felt good in the warm sun. At 12:30 we got moving again, we only had 8 more miles to the end of our planned day. The roadwalk was mostly dry.

It was great seeing all the trees so green, usually it’s so dry in the desert.

I arrived to the end of the road, and the end of our day, at 3pm. It’s quite early but there’s no point in continuing, since the next 10 miles are on a slow & rugged trail with limited camping. The views from Nankoweap Trailhead (Saddle Mountain Trailhead?) were unparalleled.

The Grand Canyon is so deep!

Shadow and I sat on the rim and admired the view for a very long time.

Shockingly, we saw a pickup truck drive by, and the man joined us shortly after. It was shocking because the road he drove was the same road we just hiked, and it was covered in dozens of little snow piles and probably 10 fallen trees. He was out for the holiday weekend, and as a fellow Appalachian hiker himself, knew exactly what we were doing on the Hayduke. His trail name was Enigma, and he offered us cold beer and hot food.

We even had a little campfire in his solo stove, those things are great!

He’s originally from Connecticut but now lives in Phoenix, and had lots of interesting stories to share. And also shared some dessert! Thank you Enigma!

We returned to our tents at 8pm shortly before sunset.

It was neat watching the sun set over the canyon, darkness slowly covering each cliff and valley.

It was an easy 15 mile day today, but the next 5 days will be in the Grand Canyon, and also slower and harder miles. Bring it on!

Thursday May 25, 23.9mi/38.5km

AZT at Buffalo Trick Tank (537.5/8400ft) to Dog Lake (558.3/8785ft) (AZ) +3.1mi GPS correction

We left our perfect little camp spot in the trees at 6:45am and hiked thru the morning light.

There wasn’t much exiting or notable today, just heaps of nice scenery. There was a burn area from the 2006 Warm Fire, and the aspens seem to have taken over.

Aspen tunnel!

Shadow and I hiked together for the first hour, and we paused when he heard a loud noise. Deer!

I stopped for a brief break at the Murray trailhead, and Shadow kept going. The bathroom was still locked from the winter, and the bear box was empty (often have water or snacks), so there wasn’t much reason to linger.

After a couple miles, we stopped at our first water source for the day. These are manmade setups that collect water using a big concrete platform, and funnel it into a square pool. Neat!

Spelling errors on signs always amuse me. GNCP? Grand Canyon National Park is GCNP!

I almost stepped on a tiny snake, he was trying to stay warm up here at 8600ft elevation.

Eventually the burn area ended and the green trees returned. The Kaibab plateau is beautiful.

Because of the high elevation, there were still 5 or 6 little patches of snow still lingering. They were super easy to just walk across, but still a little surprising to see.

It’s a green tunnel!

This little lizard posed for me on a log. It didn’t have a long tail like all the other lizards I’ve seen, so it must be a different species.

I crossed paths with the hiker named Malto again, whom we met last week coming out of Bryce. He is completing this section of the Arizona trail, before heading home. We chatted for quite awhile, and eventually I parted ways, I still had a mile to go for our lunch spot. We had lunch at the Telephone Hill trailhead, which had a nice fence to sit against.

It was warm in the sun, but a little chilly when a cloud would pass by. It felt good to sit and relax, but Shadow wanted to do 13 more miles, so off we went. Hiking kept me warm at this high elevation.

For the rest of the day we paralleled a paved highway. It’s a seasonal road (closed for the winter) that leads only to the park entrance, so there were almost no cars on it.

These high elevation meadows were cool to experience.

Our next water source was at an overflowing pond. I think all the water sources up here are running high because of the snowmelt. Shadow was napping on the shoreline when I got there.

I decided to do a bit of the same!

After a nice long break at the pond, we spent the rest of the afternoon hiking through high elevation meadows.

Shadow hikes faster than me, and after a while I could barely see him in the distance.

More alpine meadows! The sunshine made it look warm but it was not….maybe 65F/18C.

I arrived to our planned campsite after 6pm, which also had another one of these cool little water tanks.

Shadow had been there for a while and already set up his tarp in the meadow. It was pretty windy, so I decided to setup my tent in the trees where it was more sheltered.

It was an unexpectedly long day of 24 miles, and my ankle started hurting, but now tomorrow we have a very short day of only 15 miles which will feel very nice!

Wednesday May 24, 3.9mi/6.3km

Jacob Lake (533.6/7745ft) to AZT at Buffalo Trick Tank (537.5/8400ft) (AZ)

It was another relaxing morning, I slept in until 7am and started planning my next hike and downloading maps and info. After a quick breakfast of grapefruit, toast and tea, we went back to town. Shadow had a couple more things to buy, and I wanted to check out the Heritage House.

It’s an old house in Kanab, built in 1894, and home to a couple prominent local families over the years.

It had tons of architectural details that you’d only see on old houses. The stair railing posts were carved into beehives, as Utah was promoted as the beehive state (industrious and teamwork).

The attic windows looked like eyes staring down. The top triangle in the roof is supposed to be the same eye symbol that’s on a $1 bill. Neat!

The inside had fancy colored glass windows and old stone fireplaces.

One of the men who owned the house was a physician, so the desk and bookshelf contained many interesting titles.

There were several bedrooms, most of which had many photos of the man’s large family – he had 6 wives and 42 children.

It’s a national historical building!

After the free hour-long tour, I picked up Shadow from the store, and we went and got ice cream sundaes at the local drugstore’s soda fountain.

Kanab has a nice walkable downtown, only 6 blocks long, and some of the businesses had punny signs.

We drove to the house and finished packing, I got a final shower, and Deena very generously gave us a ride back to the trail, 45 minutes away. We started hiking at 5pm, in the beautiful ponderosa pine forest.

After 4 miles, we stopped to camp for the night near a pond and a water tank.

It felt so good to be camping in a real forest again! Nice soft ground with pine needles, no sand, and no wind… perfect.

Two more days until we enter Grand Canyon National Park!