Arizona Trail – Day 4 (24 miles)
I woke up and analysed myself. I was a little worried how I would feel after a pretty awful day yesterday. I had a great sleep and felt pretty good. However, I felt ok when I got up yesterday as well so I was curious how my day would progress.
I took 3 litres of water with me. With the North Rim closed for the season I was not sure if the spigots would be turned off.
When I dropped into the gully to find the trail, the temperature dropped significantly. Where I slept it was just above freezing, but the gully was frigid. My hand started to become painfully cold, and I had to unpack my bag to get my gloves.
As I walked, I felt surprisingly good this morning. Time flew and I was walking with ease again. Unlike yesterday, my only complaint was a tight hip probably from limping due to my split toe webbing.
Before long I had covered the 16 odd miles to the North Rim. I went straight to the permit office. I had three options.
The first was to follow the Hayduke Trail and head down the Nankoweap Creek and spend 50 miles hiking along the Colorado River back to the South Rim. I could not get a permit for this.
The second was to follow the Arizona Trail and head straight down to the Colorado and camp by the river. The ranger would not issue me this as she would not believe I could make it today.
What I got was my third option to head to a campsite halfway down to the Colorado.
I started down. Unsurprisingly I have to say that this place is incredible, even with the ever-present smell of horse manure. At the start, the trail worked its way down Roaring Spring Canyon. The canyon got deeper, and the cliffs grew to incorporate the renowned different rock layers.
On top of this, the trail was pretty interesting, with some parts being blown straight out of a cliff. It amazes me how many trails were built in the states during the great depression.
Then the trail levelled off as I started following Bright Angel Creek for the last couple of miles to camp. When I arrived at the campground, I performed some needed gear maintenance and patching then went to bed early.
What an excellent afternoon. Tomorrow should be even better!