Thursday, May 23, 2013
Another morning at the backcountry office. The ranger gravely informed me that Cottonwood Campground wasn’t available for my requested day and might not be doable at all because the North Rim permit office has first dibs on its walk-in sites. I told him that I wanted Cottonwood because I was hiking the AZT and had to cross the canyon. Instantly his demeanor changed and he offered me the stock site. I wasn’t entirely enthused about that, but he assured me that it’s little used and doesn’t contain lots of droppings. Okay, a stock site is better than only getting to spend one night in the canyon. We chatted for a few minutes about the trail and my gear; he said that hexamine (my stove fuel) is a creepy word. Hey, the hotels in Grand Canyon Village are run by a company called Xanterra, and Xanterra sounds like the name of an environmentally friendly alien overlord. In fact, there’s a Xanterra office building beside the library, and two of the parking spots are labelled ‘Controller’ and ‘Assistant Controller’. Mighty suspicious, if you ask me.
Since I’m heading into the canyon tomorrow I had to actually get things accomplished today, like fetching my resupply package and completing that process akin to teeth-pulling that we call ‘sending international mail’. I also slackpacked the section of trail from the Mather Campground junction to South Kaibab trailhead, visited the nearby geology museum and attended a presentation along the Walk of Time. I’ll be sad to leave this tourist paradise.