Sunday, May 26, 2013 – 10.8 km
I started walking at 6:00 AM today. The trail was moderate leaving Cottonwood, and considering that I would have to gain 1268 metres of elevation within eleven kilometres, I kept wondering when the grade would steepen. The grind turned out to be at the very end, and for the first time on the AZT I felt that I had gained fitness. I definitely completed the climb with more ease than I would have before, which was a nice feeling. Passersby kept asking me whether I was doing all right, and I thought it was because my pack looked so large in proportion to my body, but a day hiker I met later at North Rim Campground said that people also kept asking him whether he was all right. Was I rude to not have asked the same of other people…?
The trailhead was pleasantly cool and a cluster of people were resting by the fountain. I met a PCT section hiker with the trail name ‘The Old Guy’. He asked me questions about my hike into the canyon, but kept using Navajo Spring as a reference point and the only Navajo Spring I know is by Mormon Lake, so I don’t know whether he got the information he wanted. After a short rest I hurried to the campground, worried that it would be full because of the long weekend. I was the only walk-in! I recommend staying here since it’s located right at the edge of the rim and has an amazing view. I asked the ranger whether there was an ATM nearby because I needed money for the showers. He said there might be one in the store, but that I looked nice and fresh and like I didn’t need a shower. Someone give this man’s wife a medal, stat. Pops told me to make a dinner reservation at the lodge, but I was only… 60% sure that he would make it up the rim today, so I didn’t. He never showed up and I ended up having potato chips for supper. Tomorrow I’ll treat myself to a huge breakfast.