Hwy 89a/Kanab(610.7)-E Side of Kaibab Plateau
It was another great day at Trish’s house as we prepared for our big 8-9 day leg into the Grand Canyon. I stayed up til 12:30am getting things done and was up at 7am. Gavin pretty much did the same. It just seems like we are almost done and this was our last good town day with resources, phone reception, and Internet for possibly the rest of the hike. There are only three legs left. This upcoming 9 day leg and then a 10 day leg back to back through the epic Grand Canyon. After that will be a 4 day leg through Zion. Still three weeks, but it seems like it’s so close to being done when it’s laid out in just three legs. Point being, we both had a lot of loose ends and things to wrap up, so it was planned that we’d pretty much double nero with few miles yesterday and today. The plan was to leave at 2:30pm so we’d have time to get things done. As always happens in town, things always seem to take longer and other unexpected things always arise. I was finally ahead of the game a bit and got most everything important done today and even got an episode of Greys Anatomy in. I think I’m one episode away from the big one I’ve been trying to avoid hearing about, but pretty much know what happens. Now I might not see it til after the hike ahh!
This morning, Gavin’s timing got thrown off a bit when he was planning to use my car to run his errands, but got a late start since Tumbleweed used it to take Wyoming back to trail. We ended up leaving an hour late and didn’t start hiking til 5pm with very heavy packs. Each with 8.5 days of food and 5-6L of water just to be careful with a big climb and high heat. I was not a happy camper and have a low tolerance for untimeliness. Gavin and I definitely march to a different drum in hiking styles and it has been a team effort to combine the two…when I say that, I mean we pretty much do things on my schedule, ha! No seriously, I know I need to improve in that area of flexibility when hiking with others and Gavin has patiently tolerated my venting when things don’t happen on the schedule I’d prefer. I was not the most understanding today and by the end of the night, realized I need to be willing to bend a bit more and be less rigid with timing. I’m getting there, but it ain’t easy! Here’s Gavin’s strategy of packing each day’s portions in Ziplocs. He’s doing his part to keep Ziploc in business…
We ended up hiking in 5mi up the east side of the Kaibab Plateau. Our packs were heavy and mine felt like the heaviest it’s been all trip. I was dragging and ended up being very happy with this more relaxed approach we’re taking to this leg. It could be done a half day faster or more to get us to the S Rim of the Grand Canyon a day earlier, but there were many concerns there and reasons, why we chose the more relaxed approach. Last leg was physically challenging and these next two legs will be too. If we wanted to push, we would have had to leave earlier today and that would have been a more stressful turnaround with less time in town and quite a haul up onto the plateau in pretty hot temps today(87 F at 5pm when we started hiking). So we had about 5mi walk up onto the plateau.
The next 14mi are pretty much dirt and gravel road walking and then we are back on the official Hayduke (where it also overlaps with the Arizona Trail) after our 5 day Paria/Buckskin bonus alternate. With our subway sandwiches in hand, it was three miles of flat and then two miles at a very steep grade. This is probably the heaviest pack I’ve ever carried and it was slow going…I just keep telling myself it will be much better in a couple days once I eat some of the food in there.
We stopped about 7pm and it was warm with some wind gusts, which are predicted this week. We chose a well protected spot and it’s great to hear the wind gusting and not have it hitting the tent. There is also a great view of the Vermillion Cliffs we hiked up and over last leg. Since we have a relaxed couple days here to set us up for timing the Grand Canyon ups and downs, we are going to sleep in tomorrow. I might actually get used to this more chillaxed hiking thing…
I was determined to not leave anything at Tumbleweed’s and tried to focus and be very methodical in my packing…it wasn’t until I was in my tent preparing for bed that I found out what I left behind…my Smartwool long sleeve pajama top, DAMMIT!!! I was wearing it under my town shirt before we left, and when I changed into my hike clothes, I put my town clothes back in my bounce. I absentmindedly took both shirts off as one and packed the Smartwool into the bounce. Classic. I won’t see my bounce again until after the hike when Tumbleweed brings my car to Zion. I was able to text her and she’s going to send it to the S Rim. THANK YOU TUMBLEWEED! So I don’t have a pajama shirt for the next 9 nights, ugh. I really have set some kind of record, even for myself! Again, thanks a ton to Tumbleweed and Lori for taking such great care of us (and the other hikers too) during our time in Kanab!