Mile 685 to 715. 30 miles.
Woke up earlier than usual because I got real cold at night and didn’t feel like trying to sleep. Ate breakfast and was walking on the trail at 6 AM. It was a cold an beautiful walk through ponderosa pines with the moon still bright in the sky. I heard 2 coyotes howling back and forth and was able to catch their conversation on video! The sound of it at least. About 10 minutes later I tried my best coyote impression and they all started howling and calling back!!! I got their return call on video too and they were very close this time. I tried calling back to them again only this time the stopped because the could see me! They noticed I was an imposter. I walked right through their little pack. One coyote on my left and I saw the other two in my right just 100 feet away. They walked a few feet then sat down and watched me. The look on their face wasn’t fearful of me, they looked intrigued, very curious about me as I walked on by. Probably wondering why the hell this tall, two legged pillar like primate was imitating them. One if the coolest moments in my thru hiking career. Coyotes Howling Back and Forth
I made it to the road about 7:45 and immediately saw the Golden Arches of a McDonald’s. I walked over there and text Coughee where I was. As I stood in line he showed up! We ordered some food and caught up on stuff since we last saw each other. We cruised around the Grand Canyon village and I picked up my food from the post office and supplemented it with chips and baked goods from the market. We sat and charged phones for about an hour as I ate a pint of ice cream. We got to talking with the couple next to us who were from Israel. The guy, Abraham said he knows Israel better than anyone and said we should come hike the Israel national trail and give us a call and he will tell us what to visit and help us out. He gives us his business card.
I buy my airline ticket back home from Las Vegas to Cincinnati and it’s only $152! No layovers and on Sunday night. I’ll be home this weekend! Crazy. The line for the shuttle bus is crazy so we try hitching. About 5 minuets later two girls pick us up. We cram in their small car and they offer us cantaloupe. Yum. We get chatting and we ask where their from. Israel again! We tell them about the trail I’m doing the driver says she knows someone who just did the Israel national trail. Apparently it’s littered with trail angels too. Looks like there could be a new trail in my future. They’re super cool and take us right to the south kaibab trailhead.
This is where we start our hike into the grandest canyon of them all. We cruise down passing hundreds of tourists in the first mile or so, taking many stops for pictures. People are loving the shorts as usual. Once we make it about halfway down people become sparse. The views just keep getting crazier though. Near the Colorado River there are only a few people within the last 2 miles. We cross the bridge and head towards phantom ranch for we hear there is beer. Once we make it there we hear we are just in time to get some since the place closes at 4 pm and its 3:30. We get a beer each and relish it. Then we go outside to eat some food and talk to the guy next to us who is long time hiker from British Columbia. He had had a few encounters with bears in his days and even had to pepper spray one that was following him. Crazy! Then we took off for our next 7 miles up the canyon to cottonwood campground. After 5 miles we both start to bonk and get tired. We take a quick break and eat some food then push on to camp. We arrive about 6:30 and throw our bags down. Cowboy camping in the canyon. The low here tonight is 52 degrees! That’s about the high temperatures I’ve been dealing with recently. We eat a big dinner and Coughee even gives me a mountain house to eat. Mmmm cooked warm food. A rare treat on the trail. We get in our sleeping bags and talk about space and deep stuff like that until we get sleepy. 85 miles to go.
Coughee Going down! Climbing snapdragon?
My phone ran out of photo space near the bottom so I have more pictures on my canon that I’ll add to this later.
Heading towards cottonwood camp