Trip Report Pt4: Arizona National Scenic Trail

Utah Bound

Awaking a little later then usual there is no real rush as I only have to do something like 15mi(24km) to climb out of the canyon and get to the north rim campsite. I have a little visitor bothering me though, a small squirrel had found someone's ramen packet during the night and had been throwing pieces of dry ramen over me as I slept.

Grand Canyon Grand Canyon Grand Canyon

Eventually heading out with Ricky Bobby the sights continue to stun. The morning is spent winding through a narrow valley at the bottom of the canyon which gradually opens up. We take a side trip to Ribbon Falls, getting our feet wet to ford a river. After some time we reach the other side of the canyon and there is nothing to do but to go up. The cliffs loom over head in silence as we wind back and forth on switchbacks to scale the sheer walls.

Grand Canyon Grand Canyon Grand Canyon Grand Canyon Grand Canyon

We summit and reach the campground in the late afternoon to set up our shelters in the now familiar gusting winds. We walk around the empty grounds of the north rim lodge and cabins and take a moment to follow the tourist path out onto the bright angel plateau. There was not a soul there besides Ricky Bobby and I, one can only imagine how packed this would be on a normal day. Back at camp Disco and Albatross catch up and everyone settles in for the night.

Grand Canyon

Ricky Bobby and I leave at 0600h, saying our goodbyes to the canyon and now directly focused on the Utah border. The north Kaibab Plateau is fairly cold and there is still a lot of snow everywhere. The trail is still roughly 80% covered in snow which is manageable in the morning when it's hard but as the sun rises it quickly becomes soft and untenable. After checking out a watch tower we decide to bushwhack back to the paved highway to skip walking slowly on snow all day.

Deer on road Be Happy

After the jaw-dropping variation of the canyon, the trail and road before us are droll in comparison. No elevation and just pine forest stretching off to the horizon quickly all meld into the same view. To pass the time we played Animal, Vegetable, Mineral? for a few hours and magically the miles melted away. After spending most of the day walking on pavement we rejoined the trail for a handful of miles to camp 10mi(16km) from Jacob Lake. Ricky Bobby chases down a gopher that was scurrying around camp and then we go to sleep.

Burn area

It's quite cold as we wake up and start to hike. We branch off the trail to take the highway straight into Jacob Lake where we meet up again with Mush. He tells us Star Lord finished yesterday night by doing a 57mi(91km) day! We spend the morning eating at the lodge's restaurant. I order a breakfast burrito, two pancakes, two eggs, hash browns and sausage. I begin to chug a bunch of water and buy twelve cookies from the local shop and instantly eating four. As expected I suddenly feel extremely ill in the stomach. After feeling some acute pain I head over to the bathroom to purge and I immediately feel better again enough to order a small sandwich for lunch since they don't serve salad in the off-season.

Burn area

After buying two days of snacks we head out just before 1300h. Back onto trail this time we are surrounded by burnt landscapes and blackened trees. We take a custom detour around a closed section of trail and we pass Mush again. Not only is the landscape flat but now there aren't even trees to look at. The day passes slowly as we occupy the time by chatting. The day ends 10mi(16km) from the finish line.

Burn area

I wake early and blast to the end. I leave Ricky Bobby behind but I stop to wait for him a few miles before the end. We had been hiking together now for almost half the trip so I figured it'd be nice to finish at the same time. Sure enough we get there and take our completion photos with the northern terminus!

Southern Terminus Southern Terminus

It feels a bit anti-climatic due to the scenery but the views into Utah are absolutely stunning. We are peppered by huge gusts of wind and sand as we hike to a near by trailhead to find a hitch. Under Ricky Bobby's advice we spend the day hiking into Buckskin Gulch (photos) which is spectacular before hitching to Kanab and then to St. George. After a night in a motel I begin to fly out back to Canada and Ricky Bobby heads to Las Vegas to meet his girlfriend. The end of an era and another thruhike for the year!

If you are interested in my post trip retrospective of what went well and what went wrong the click down below to read on.

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