April 26, 2021
I set my alarm for 4:00am so I could set up my phone to catch a time-lapse video of the sunrise over the Grand Canyon. Then I went back to my tent, had coffee, did stretches, packed up what I could, and went out with my warm weather gear on and my quilt wrapped around me and sat on my sit pad to watch the sunrise. What I recorded is barely a fraction of how awesome the actual visual was. I’ll never forget it. I was a little surprised no one else got up to watch it. I mean, how often do we get to see the sunrise over the Grand Canyon?? Ah, well. It was cool to watch it alone, too. Almost meditative.
As you probably noticed, I haven’t put any videos on this blog. Most of those go on Instagram: @sarah_trooper_rogers
Ghosthiker was ready to start hiking before I was, so enamored was I with the sunset that I didn’t realize how much time was passing before I went back to my tent and found my hiking partner saddled up and ready to leave! She said she’d take her time at the pit toilet while I got my stuff around, and if I didn’t meet her there, she’d wait for me at the trailhead where the water spigot is. I got my things packed up, talked some logistics with Bass really quickly while I tied my shoes, then threw on my pack and set off after Ghosthiker.
She wasn’t at the pit toilet, so I made for the trailhead, stopping at a bear-proof trash box to get rid of some trash but there were no cans in it! Darn. I guess it makes sense since the campground isn’t officially open for the season, that they wouldn’t have trash service running yet. Unfortunately, I’d mixed my tuna/mayo lunch in my little plastic shaker container so I could get rid of the trash here, so I sure hope there’s a trash can somewhere. Along the main road through the park, I heard a familiar whistle and found Ghosthiker hanging out at a little laundry/shower building just off the main road. It was closed, but there were tables and chairs with working outlets, and she was charging her phone. I charged mine a bit, too, and then we hiked out. We grabbed water at the trailhead spigot (no filtering required!) and then set off.
Most of the day is a blur. We left the Grand Canyon National Park boundary around 12:30pm and it got progressively colder, windier, and snowier as the day wore on. We were hiking at high elevation all day along the Kaibab Plateau Trail 101 and because the whiteout conditions completely obliterated any view of the Canyon from this side, I spent most of the day just powering through the wind and snow, lost in thought. The Kids (Joe Dirt, Sonic, and Tweety) are hiking in the Canyon today. We hope they’re alright in this weather.
Ghosthiker and I only took two breaks today, both of which were short, and we didn’t take our socks off at the first break or even our shoes at the second break. It was just too darn cold. During the second break, we somehow managed to cook something to eat for lunch despite the wind. Our bodies needed warm food, but it was definitely a struggle to get our stoves going. We had to build wind barriers with our bodies and our packs.
We finally got to the dirt road at mile 734.1 around 5:30pm and wandered into some thin tree cover on the other side to see if we could find somewhere relatively flat and sheltered to pitch our tents. We did, and as the night came on the wind mercifully died down to almost nothing. It was still snowing but at least it wasn’t windy. We’re at about 8500’ elevation and we hiked 22.4 miles today, including the trek from the North Rim Campground to the trailhead. After the last two days of hiking, plus the long day today, I am absolutely bone-tired. Goodnight.