The Arizona Trail Day 69: Inside the Canyon

Saturday, May 25, 2013 – 12.4 km

Pops C laughed when I told him yesterday that I been assigned the stock site at Cottonwood Campground. Well, I’ll have you know that I arrived to find no droppings anywhere, just a group of good-looking men working to improve the site. I kid you not. I bet that Pops now wishes he had the stock site (well, maybe not…). Bright Angel CG has the advantage of being beside the Colorado River, but Cottonwood CG is smaller, prettier and the ground was soft enough for stakes. The walk there involved a trek up narrow Bright Angel Canyon, which was stunning with the sun first creeping in.

I left Bright Angel CG around 6:00 AM but trail runners were already coming from the opposite direction. Several warned me that a ruptured pipe had washed out a section of the path ahead, and I got stuck there when trying to cross the rocks between the path and the drop-off. The last few metres looked iffy for completing with my pack, but I didn’t want to go back to the start and take off my boots either. While I was considering what to do, a man who had passed me a few minutes earlier returned and offered to take my pack so I could cross more easily. I guess he was waiting for me to turn the corner, and returned when I didn’t.


Eventually the scenery opened up.


The temperature was hot in the sun and I put up my umbrella, which was a novelty for other hikers and trail runners. Someone even took a picture of how it was attached to my pack (it’s held in place by two elastic loops built into one strap). One guy offered to give me a candy bar for it, and another offered me $5. I said that I would give it to him for $500. He wasn’t so keen on that price.

I reached Cottonwood CG, dumped my pack and headed back to Ribbon Falls, which was amazing! It’s not a huge waterfall, but the water streams down onto a tall rock coated with moss and runs from there into a pretty pool.


You can climb up onto a ledge behind the falls, or duck into a hollow at the base of the rock and look out a hole higher up. A group of zany older folk were going inside one at a time and making weird faces. One woman was lapping at the water like a dog. It was hilarious, but the others advised her not to drink the water since it ought to be treated, and I concur. Kids were splashing around atop the falls, and who knows where they’ve been. The owners of the children were having a bizarre conversation about when they were all going to change their socks, because it had to be done in unison. Also present was a foursome of twenty-somethings who treated the water with iodine tablets. After they had all drank some, they found little worms inside. The joys of chemical water treatment…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s