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The Arizona Trail on Unicycle: Day 26, Just 7 Miles of Hiking


April 25, 2017

The seven miles down may have been harder than this day’s seven miles of slightly uphill. My calves were still sore from the hike down, and the heavy backpack wasn’t helping. We left the Bright Angel campsite and did a quick stop off at Phantom Ranch around 9 or 9:30AM. Not only does the ranch sell beer, but they also have some postcards you can buy. Does that mean the mailman will do a daily hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon? Well, not quite: the post cards are carried out by mule, and you get a cool “official” stamp that says “Delivered by Mule” on them. I mailed one off to my nephew in Florida to brighten his day with some mail. I also got a snickers bar, mainly because they were stored in the fridge and it sounded like a good post-oatmeal morning snack.

The hike was an easy moderate uphill, made pleasant by the fantastic scenery. We were following a small river up a large canyon — not grand, but still really large and amazing. We were starting to leave some of the warmer climate, and it was getting slightly cooler. The rocks close to the water had some moss growing on them that sort made it look like the canyon had a green goatee.

Lexi and I hit the Cottonwood Camp a bit after 1PM. We had trudged ahead of the others, and started scouting out campsites. There were far less people on this side of the canyon, probably since the North Rim road was closed, and it was a bit more relaxing and quieter. However, there weren’t many campsites that would accommodate all six of us, and the group site said seven or more people were required, and there was only one. We decided to squat in the first group site and wait for the others in the group to arrive to figure out what we should do. The group site was the perfect camping area: small individual areas for each of us to put our tents, with some slight terracing in between to sort of separate them. Lots of busy trees nearby; mainly some types of oak tree, and of course cottonwoods, the campsite area’s namesake. There was also a large rock right in the center: perfect for relaxing on in the sun and reading a book or working on our tan. Once everyone arrived we all agreed that the group site was the best option, and we took it!

We all just relaxed and lazed around in the afternoon sun. Well, everyone except Lexi, who did a few bonus hours of hiking to explore further up the trail. She was planning to hike out the next day, and she wouldn’t get a chance to go further up the trail, so it was her opportunity to see what lied ahead.

Luckily, no large groups showed up that evening, and the next morning we realized that not all the sites were even used. It was a good thing we took the best site; someone had better enjoy it!

 

Stats:

Today: 8.0 miles
Total: 578.1 miles  

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/960809142

 

 

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(c) 2008-2017 Corbin Dunn

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