Day 50, 15 miles, Cottonwood campground
I have some coffee with Ben or ‘Cheetah’ a fellow Hayduker. He sets off down the canyon while I take care of my resupply. I’m pretty sure I’m buying too much food but it all looks so good.
When I’m in my tent organizing my food bag, the Hungarian hiker I met yesterday stops by and says he couldn’t get any permits until Friday. I invite him to come with me to Cottonwood since I have a permit for two people still (I was hoping someone would join me for this stretch). He looks pretty fit and I ask him if he thinks he can do the mileage. He thinks so and we make a plan to meet in about an hour and then head down the canyon.
I make some phone calls, pack up and we’re at the south Kaibab trailhead around 12:30pm. It’s a nice temperature at the rim with a sweet breeze and the down hill hike isn’t too bad. My backpack is very heavy again because of all the food but this stretch might take 8 days. Who knows?
Loads of tourists are hiking down and up. The up does not look pleasant. Some mule trains pass us going up as well.
The views are obviously awesome again and Jan (I’m shortening my Hungarian friend’s name here because I don’t know the actual spelling) gets to see the Colorado River for the first time. We snap a few pictures and continue on. He wants to hike a section of the PCT this spring and we talk about what it’s like. Yes, the trail will be easier than this trail. Haha.
We make it to Bright Angel Campground around 3:30 and do a late lunch in the shade. I love this place!
The Bright Angel creek is rushing, I haven’t seen it this wild before. All the snowmelt from the north rim must be feeding it.
We both enjoy the last seven miles in the shady canyon towards Cottonwood camp and to my surprise Cheetah is there. I thought he would have hiked on to the north rim already. And there’s more! I’ve finally caught up to Brenna and Nicole! I’ve been seeing their footsteps since day 1. It’s so fun to meet them and exchange experiences. They had a rough one at it in the Bull Valley Gorge as well. It even started raining on them. And the day I stayed in my tent all day they were getting snowed on in Bryce. Ugh.
We all talk about the stretch coming up and are worried about Tapeats Creek. Two of my phone calls this morning were with my friend Sirena and her friend. Both very knowledgeable about the Grand Canyon. The confirm my concern about hiking Tapeats creek and Saddle canyon. Saddle canyon might be doable but both will have lots of water and might not be safe. Sirena suggests a road walk around and that sounds like a good idea to me. I
tell the other Haydukers about my plan to road walk around the dangerous section and they had been thinking along similar lines.
It’s too bad I have to cut the chatting short since I have to get up really early tomorrow morning. There is a work crew out on the north Kaibab trail during the day and the trail will be closed during that time. We can pass through if we make it to Supai tunnel before 8am. That means getting up before daylight. Sigh.