AZT Day 2: On The Kaibab Plateau

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Thursday, September 27
Miles: 19.1 (plus 2.5 bonus miles)
Starting/ending: 27/46.1
Camp elevation: 8570 ft

I wake in the cozy campground at 5:30. It’s cold. I snooze until 7 when the sun is almost out and finally get up. I pack my stuff in partial sun, refill water at the taps, and start walking toward the Inn. A semi retired couple from Alabama with 2 dogs in an RV offers me a lift to save me the almost mile walk. They drop me at the Inn. Thanks!

At the Inn I eat a real breakfast of breakfast casserole, toast, and coffee. I chat with the people next to me – the lady is 73. Her husband – 74 – is hiking rim-to-rim as we speak! Very impressive!

My package is late and ETA unknown, so I pick up enough food to last me the next two days. Cheese, chips, corn nuts, peanuts, and a few other things to supplement my current snacks will get me there. No fuel at the store. I do pick up a longer USB c cord (this dinky one isn’t cutting it) and a double USB wall charger (now I can charge phone and InReach at the same time – amazing).

I hit the road and hike the 2.5+ miles to the trail. Daniel and Mary are there. We chat about the cold night, upcoming fire closure, and the weather. They hike off. I pause for foot care – blister lancing and foot taping. My left heel and ring toes (?) are acting up.

An older duo shows up – more hikers! They’re section hiking to Tusayan. The woman says “you’re not Jean, are you?” That’s me. “I’m Marie!”, she says. (We’ve been in touch on Facebook and she cached some water ahead for me!) Her hiking partner is George. We flip flop for a while. The woods are full of yellow aspen – very pretty. I feel spacey, eat some salty chips, and feel better. Hike on. Pass a guy with a hammock. A while later I see a bunch of hawk feathers. I look back – animal bones. Yikes. Then fresh deer legs. More animal bones. Ah! The killing field for some hungry animal. I get out of there quickly.

Early afternoon. I reach Murray Lake trailhead where Marie cached water. 6L! Seems like so much. It is. I rest, air out my feet, snack. Marie and George get their cache. We look at fire closure maps – our Guthook apps show different things (iPhone vs Android). I decide to take all 6L of water which is heavy. Hike on. We continue to flip flop.

First views of the Grand canyon! High on the Kaibab Plateau. Beautiful stretch. Parallel the highway through here. Tons of aspen. Tons of deer! I count 9 deer that I startle and see bound into the trees. Maybe I can get to Crane Lake – another 5 miles. Maybe Daniel and co are there? I haven’t seen them all day. I hustle to get there at 7:30 (dark). Snacks and skratch (like Gatorade). I don’t have enough skratch so I mix salt with my Arnold Palmer mix and call it good.

At a dirt road crossing I see two pickups and two men work a dog. I get my mace handy. I get closer and I see two women, too. An older couple and a younger couple. They’re the North Rim Country Store people and are super friendly! They offer water or to take something off my back. Very sweet. They’re retrieving a truck from a section hike.

Hike on. Waning light. Hurry! Trail skirts the road. Hustle! I get to Crane Lake (a cow puddle) at last. No Daniel and co. I must have passed them a while back. The “lake” is closer to the road so I tuck back in the woods and find a mediocre spot on a slope. Good enough. Darkness is imminent. Hidden away so neither cars nor hikers can see my tent. I eat a CBD chocolate. Unpack and set up quickly. Clean up, write. I’m sore from 50 miles in 2 days. Crash.

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