Arizona Trail – Day 33 (27 miles)
Down the South Kaibab Trail to the Colorado I went. I kept on leapfrogging a girl as we would both stop to take photos as the other passed. Eventually we were walking at the same spot and I spent the next hour or so chatting to her as we descended the 5,000ft (1,500m) to the bottom.
I said goodbye to her and headed up the North Kaibab Trail and she headed to Bright Angle. From after I got past Phantom Ranch I saw 1 trail runner for the rest of the day, and he did not even acknowledge my Hello! It was surreal going from a conga line down the south rim to no one.
I took a short break and promptly fell asleep next to the river as I was waiting for my water treatment to work. I woke up to this scratching noise – it was a bloody squirrel! It had eaten through my mesh pocket and was helping itself to my Oreos. I would fight a bear for those delicious cookies, but the squirrel just ran off and chittered (you know the angry sound they make?) at me.
On the way up I made a bit of a detour to Ribbon Falls. It was a oasis in the desert. The waterfall cascaded onto a brilliantly mossy cliff and then ran down the moss for 40ft or so. It was brilliant. There was a trail that lead behind the falls and I headed up there. Standing there I decided to take a shower, so stripped down and jumped under. It was so refreshing but it took 10 minutes until I stopped shivering.
It was then time for the work that I had been putting off. I began climbing and did not stop until I reached the top. I was surprisingly fresh after the 6,000ft (1,800m) climb. I went from taking 5 or even more photos per mile to only 3 in 12 miles. I was rather proud at not getting distracted and keeping to the task at hand.
There were two things I noticed at the top. The first being they had turned the water spigot on and I did not need to lug up all the water I had in my pack… the second was how damn cold the wind was. It was bitter! I decided to keep walking but stop if I managed to find a place out of the wind.
About 30 minutes later I found a nice little ridge blocking the wind completely. It was a bit early to stop but I did anyway. I watched a movie until I was tired