Hayduke trail day 49: up to the South Rim

May 5
Mileage: 9
650 miles hiked

It’s amazing what a body can do when one simply keeps taking steps, even very slowly. Even when you feel like you’re getting nowhere at all.

We’re at the top of the south rim of the Grand Canyon, looking down. We just climbed up all of that. From the murky green Colorado river, up to Hance Creek with its secret groves of cottonwoods and riotous nighttime frog noise, to the old mineshaft in the cliffs above it, to Horseshoe mesa like an island between high canyon walls, and now here. We’re sitting in the cool pine shade on the south rim, listening to the birds, safe from the heat. I have never worked so hard in a section of the Hayduke, as this last one. I have never had such long miles. I have never sweated so hard- I smell like a dead animal that’s been pulled from the sea and left to roast in the sun. I love the Grand Canyon. I love it!

And now we get to take a day off. And then, back into the canyon for another week, wherein we’ll hike the hardest section of the entire trail.

I want to take a moment to thank Mike Coronella and Joe Mitchell, the creators of this route. I’m not out here wandering on some unnamed route I made up myself, happening upon things by chance. I’m standing on the shoulders of giants- every part of this hike is made possible by the beta (so generously) shared by those who’ve gone before. They didn’t need to share this beta, I am not entitled to it- but they did, and that is how all of this has been possible. I feel like I’m on a super-challenging curated tour of every secret magic corner of this enchanted, canyonated country. Wonder and excitement, unfolding as if by magic. And it’s all thanks to Mike and Joe. Their love of this land is apparent in every step of this route. And my hike has also been made easier by those who’ve blogged before- Wired, Buck-30, and Katherine Cook. The information they’ve contributed has been vital beyond words. Also the mapmakers and track makers and alternate conceptualizers- Andrew Skurka and Li Brannfors and Nic Barth. Essentially, a hike of the Hayduke is possible because of the beta contributions of a great number of people, and I want to give credit where credit is due. I cannot take credit for any of this except the walking part. So thank you!

As soon as we reach the parking area at the top of the Grand View trail, I have reception- there are three voicemails from my bank. Apparently, my debit card number has been stolen- someone tried to buy $800 worth of stuff from WalMart in New York with it and now the card is frozen. I knew our overly-eager young mormon server in Jacob Lake was up to something! Ha ha, just kidding. It probs wasn’t the mormons. Or was it… Luckily, this is the future, so I call my bank and within 20 minutes they’re sending me a new card, general delivery to my next town stop. I mean, capitalism is a soul-crusher, but when it works, it really works!

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is overwhelming. Swarms of people who walk in umpredictable ways, clutching unblemished manufactured goods, looking as though they live in a constant state of grooming from which they take occasional five minute breaks. Maybe I’m just jealous, though- I really want a shower. The overwhelming places are where the food is, tho, so that’s alright. We get right down to eating, then pick up our boxes from the post office in an overstuffed haze. We decide to get a room for the night, expensive as it may be. Yolo, fuck it, whatever. The campground is full and It’ll feel so good to get out of the crowds and lay in a bed. Bert has a campsite for tomorrow night, and he’s generously offered to share it with us. But for now, clean sheets, a shower and a way to charge my things.

The rest of the day is spent eating and working on my blog. I’ve started putting pictures in these posts, and now they take an insane amount of time to upload. Yay! At dinner we score half a pepperoni pizza left behind by another table and I eat some, giving myself a stomache ache. Was it worth it? I think so. We stay up too late flipping between nature-themed reality TV shows. There’s a really soothing one set in the Alaskan bush, where ppl pull whitefish from holes in the frozen river without drama or happily cook porcupine over an open fire. All the rest of the shows are terrible.

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