Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Day 2: Backpacking in the Grand Canyon

April 23, 2024:

So...after taking down my rain fly because it was too hot to sleep, I spent a decently comfortable night with the white noise of the creek, the crazy-bright light of the moon, and nothing covering me until halfway through the night when I pulled my sleeping bag half over me.  

I got up early (for me), but not at the crack of dawn, and took a nice walk along the River Trail on the south side of the river between the two bridges.  It's blasted out of solid rock on a lot of its course, with some rather sheer drop-offs, and I'd never walked it.  I'm glad I did.  Very nice trail.  I read that they were going to name it after the first person who died working to build it.'s called the River Trail.  :)  A story with a happy ending. 

And here's a view of muddy Bright Angel Creek joining the comparatively bluer waters of the Colorado River.  Bright Angel Creek was what we used for our drinking water.  Relatively pure, but full of sediment.  I filtered through my scarf and then used purification tablets because I don't have a filter.  But that's next on my buying list.  :)

Then I set off for Havasupai Gardens so I could get above the Devil's Corkscrew (a series of switchbacks totally exposed to the sun) before it got really hot.  Here's a view of some of the equipment they have sitting on the beach for their work on the new waterline project.  For a bit of size perspective, take a look at the person walking past those spools.  I wondered how on Earth they got that there, along with the backhoe up a bit on the hill.  Later I talked to a ranger and found the answer:  military-grade helicopters.  

And here are some pretty flowers on the Devil's Corkscrew (prickly pear blossoms and brittlebush):  

This is the graphic warning about the folly of trying to go to the river and back in one day (unless you've really trained, you're carrying enough food and water, and you're going before summer really sets in or after it's cooled off in the fall).  If you want to see my posts from when I did it in one day, check these out:  Rim to River to Rim 2022 and Rim to River to Rim 2023 :)) 

After I arrived at Havasupai Gardens and claimed my camping spot, I "cooked" lunch.  This is my delicious-to-me recipe of dehydrated refried beans, instant rice, dehydrated bell peppers, and taco seasoning.  I planned to cold-soak it, but this nice metal squirrel-foiling device on the bag-hanging bars was nice and toasty, so my lunch came out warm.  

Not a bad view from my campsite:

Pictures from my little old camera don't do this justice, but this was the beginnings of sunset from the big rock on the Tonto Plateau where I sat with two cool guys and watched the sunset.  

Then we watched the moon light up distant cliffs, then the moonshadow moving across the plateau, and finally the full moon rising in all its glory and turning the canyon into an eerie almost-daylight.  It was a little surreal, and so much fun sharing it with new friends.  I don't have pictures of the moon, because my camera was inadequate to capture such beauty, but hopefully my moon-watching friend will send me one.  We sat there talking, enjoying the gorgeous evening, and didn't drag into camp until about 10:15, which is really, really late in the backpacking world.  I got ready for bed as quietly as possible, enjoying the peace, the quiet, the cliffs lit up by nature's floodlight, and the breeze in the cottonwoods.


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