Today’s weather forecast – is COLD, with an every layer type of morning and lots of wind to make the cold even more biting. Winter up here must be brutal!
I did not leave camp until 6 AM because the lounge, aka pit toilet, slowed me down, but I finally began moving after squeezing my rain jacket over my puffy. I hoped the thin layer would block some wind and hold in a little more body heat. Everything was tight as I waddled out to the road.
Hiking was easy to moderate with very little climbing, yet I had my first blister on my heel. No blisters the whole hike, and now bam! These new shoes I purchased in Phoenix started tearing down and chewing up my feet.
Eventually, the blister became numb, and I cruised through Ponderosas and over grassy vistas before taking a lunch break with a forest service fella named James. He called out a greeting as I hiked passed him, and I about fell off the trail I was so startled. He was tucked into the trees with his mountain bike eating lunch. My feet screamed as I stood talking to him, so I finally sat down on a log and pulled out my own food bag.
A few minutes later, Mission walked up and joined our conversation. Mission was doing big miles and trying to figure out the logistics of a pickup from the terminus. I told him to pick up his speed (if it was possible for him to walk faster) and catch Mango, whose parents were picking her up. Silver Bullet was also chasing Mango. Hopefully, they had a large car.
Mission hiked on, and James and I chatted a little more before I gritted my teeth, stood up, and used every ounce of my determination to walk away without limping. I was not going to start limping at 750 miles, especially not in front of other hikers!
The east side of the Grand Canyon offered a distant view over to the canyon, one of my favorite views. The Grand Canyon looked like a jagged scar in the distance like someone had suddenly ripped the earth open.
A trail led down to a parking area and a picnic table up by the overlook. This would have been an excellent area for camping with all of the nice flat spots scattered through the trees, but the bugs were terrible, and it was still too early.
I passed a couple setting up camp in a small meadow and waved in greeting as I hiked into the trees. It was getting late, and I wanted to find a campsite before dark, so I did not linger to chat. About a half hour later, I found a good camp spot under the ponderosas and stopped for the night. The Elk watched me set up camp but scattered when I sat down to eat dinner. I was asleep 15 minutes after finishing eating.