Arizona Trail – Day 31 (25 miles)
The bad news is that I have to abandon my Hayduke alternative. The good news is that I had an awesome day walking to the confluence where the Little Colorado meets its bigger self.
I will head back and out of the rim tomorrow because I gave away my water carrying capacity to a couple in need. They were wandering around with only 1L of water each which would not be enough to get them out of the canyon with its 5,000ft (1500m) climb. I gave them 3L total, but that left me with only 3L capacity and that would not be anywhere near enough to hike up the Nankoweap and the additional miles 15 miles until the next source.
It was pretty incredible day though. I finished up wandering along the lower plateau on the Tonto Trail and dropped down next to the river for some beach walking mixed with climbing over a few ridges.
Before I dropped down to the beach I experienced this overwhelming feeling of being so small and insignificant in this vast world. I was looking at the river below that I could not reach due to a 1,000ft vertical wall, and then up to the rim that also had an even bigger wall that I could not overcome. It was a weird and wonderful thing.
Towards the end of the day, I left the Tonto Trail behind and had a few scrambles as the established trail disappeared and an unmaintained user trail began.
I was sitting at the confluence of the Little Colorado River, just admiring the soft aqua water of the Little Colorado crash into, mix and disappear into the much larger Colorado River. A rafting crew pulled up for the night nearby. I went over to say hello and ended up spending the evening with them, and even scored a fresh piece of fruit!
They were all wonderful people and I was extremely jealous of their adventure. I will have to come back and raft this river one day!