Monday, October 1
Miles: 6.3 ish
Camp elevation: 7028 ft
Even with my uncomfortable sleeping pad I slept so well. I wake around 7 am. I do some writing and have a lazy morning slowly cooking breakfast and charging my stuff at the laundry and shower building. This morning it’s rehydrated dehydrated grits with beans and cheese – an unexpected but surprisingly good texture and really tasty. I pack up and check out of the campground at 10. Swing by the post office to mail some things, get some stamps, and make sure my packages didn’t land here (apparently this happens with USPS mail). They did not which means they should be in Tusayan. I hit the “trail” – a paved path to the next town. I pass a herem of elk. A few people on bikes. Helicopters whiz by. It’s mostly cloudy but not currently raining or threatening to. 8 miles to Tusayan.
At 12:30 I arrive and go straight to the Grand Canyon National Geographic Visitors Center. My resupply box is there, but not the backup battery…hmm. I head to RP’s Stage Stop for food (salad, cinnamon roll) and WiFi. Jared tells me that the package arrives tomorrow. Damn. I’m briefly annoyed by the delay, but come around to the bright side – it means time to sort out a few more things, organise my resupply, wait out any flash floods, rest and recoup, eat my extra food, etc. I do the internet things and charge the things. Scope out the market. Tusayan is definitely a tourist spot, but there seem to be lots of WiFi options, which is helpful because there is no service here or north of here. Get an overpriced can of sparkling juice water at Starbucks. All the tourists here are demanding and the service workers disgruntled, or so it appears.
Hotel tonight? A cozy bed sounds nice. Nah too pricey in this Grand Canyon tourists town. I buy a park pass to ride the free shuttle bus back to the Mather Campground instead. Purple line to blue line. At the market stop (next to the CG), the bus driver mentions camping supplies. Camping supplies? Maybe an inflatable sleeping pad? They have one! Slightly heavier than I’m looking for… but if it means real sleep and fewer nights in hotels, I can absolutely justify the expense. I also pick up a beer, cheese, and earplugs. (Btw the market here has an amazing selection of pretty much everything – maybe slightly pricey, but compared to Seattle it’s pretty comparable, even less expensive).
When I reregister with the host ranger, she recognizes me, and I feel like a regular. Computer system is down, free camping tonight! (I think it’s only $6 anyway.) Set up camp, organise resupply, plan water ahead. Kill time. Dinner of snacks, cheese, olives, beer. I chat with my fellow camp mates from the Netherlands, who just finished biking the Great Divide Trail – longest bike trail in the world apparently. It’s dark so early. I cozy up on my new and amazing sleeping pad (Thermarest Trekker). Read. Sleep.