The Arizona Trail Day 64: E Pluribus Unum

Monday, May 20, 2013

Helicopters were flying overhead all day, presumably carrying tourists wanting to view the Grand Canyon from above. They always seemed to appear when I was peeing, and I was paranoid that the occupants could see me. Then the pilots would have a discussion at the end of the day, like ‘Did you see that hiker down there?’ ‘Yeah, she was always peeing. Gross.’

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The trail cut through the forest to Coconino Wash, which was lovely with silvery bushes and healthy, robust ponderosa pines lined with white cliffs. I was feeling unwell with a sore throat and nausea and needed to rest every few kilometres. The distance to Tusayan was twenty flat kilometres, an easy day in the context of a thru-hike, but it felt interminable and I was happy when the town appeared around a bend.

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My phone picked up a cell signal but no data network, so I went to the visitor centre to ask about motels. The employee was friendly and enthusiastic and wanted to tell me everything about Tusayan and Grand Canyon Village and the canyon. When I revealed that I was hiking the AZT, he asked whether I was planning to cross the canyon in one day. That depends, will there be a straitjacket waiting on the other side for my convenience? I left the centre with half a dozen brochures and the vague feeling that I had killed a tree. I was considering staying a day in Tusayan since I’m sick, but the motels are too expensive for me to afford two nights, so I’m going to walk the eleven kilometres to Mather Campground tomorrow.

I dropped an American penny and noticed upon picking it up that it says ‘E pluribus unum’, which means ‘One among many’. So cute! The Canadian penny was recently scrapped because it cost more than its value to produce. Plus it didn’t say anything cute.

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