4:14 am to 7:23 pm (15:09)
51 miles – 672 total miles
Campsite South of Tusayan to Bright Angel Ranger Station
Last night was the coldest night of all. I froze and if Phillip was a real donkey I think he would have froze too! Or we would have spooned for warmth.
To be truly honest the night was miserable. I’m not sure how much sleep I got, but what sleep I did get wasn’t that good. Packing up in the cold wasn’t much better. My hands were numb by the time I got on Phillip and started riding. The sun couldn’t rise fast enough.
On the way into Tusayan I ran into another thru-hiker headed southbound. He was super nice and we chatted a bit. When I got into town I got pizza and resupplied at the small grocery store.
A random guy at the pizza place asked me what I was doing and where I was headed on my bike. When I told him, the look of surprise was written all over his face. I got the impression he thought I was homeless.
I figured out where to get my permit for traversing the Grand Canyon and made my way to the ranger station in the Grand Canyon Village. After obtaining my permit I was convinced I needed more food. After two failed attempts I finally found my way to the grocery store. I wasted a lot unnecessary of time doing so.
When I finally got to the South Kanab trailhead I found out my harness was missing a buckle. It must have fallen off during the trip there. I ended jerry rigging it and hoped it worked out.
I was excited to start the canyon and got quite emotional. I hadn’t seen the Grand Canyon since I was about 10 or 12 years old. I got a lot of stares and comments from those I passed in the first few miles. The further down I went the less people I saw.
The canyon was amazingly beautiful and better than I remembered. It was clear the effort was going to be harder than expected. I started around 4 pm and got to the bottom around 6:30 in the pitch black. I only stopped once to take Phillip off my back. Doing so wasted too much energy and it was easier to just keep him on my back. Despite being incredibly hard, I did get to enjoy an amazing sunset during my descent.
My plan was to camp at Bright Angel. The temperature at the bottom of the canyon was going to be a balmy 57 degrees, where as if I slept on top, it would have been in the high 20’s or low 30’s.
By the time I got to Bright Angel all the rangers were off duty for the night. It took me almost 20 minutes just to find the ranger building. The first ranger simple came to the door and asked what I need through a closed door. Then a second one came out after a few minutes to show me the equine camp where I was staying.
The ranger asked how my carry was going and I told him how I needed more padding for my waste. He mentioned there was a blue foam mat in the hiker box and it was mine if I wanted it. I grabbed it and followed him to camp.
The wind was crazy strong by now and setting up my tent was so much work. As hard as the tent set up was, simply walking around was harder. I was so sore that it was hard just walking around camp. I really needed to stretch, eat and hydrate, but honestly I just wanted to sleep.
I tried to minimize my movements and be efficient to avoid the pain and discomfort of moving. When I finally decided to lay down I carried everything I needed at once so only to have to take one trip to my tent. It was pretty sad but gave me a good laugh at the time.
Once in my tent I started to worry the wind was going to blow it down. So much so that I propped one leg on top of the other and held the tent’s single ridge pole between my big toe and the next one. This didn’t last long as I was so tired and I couldn’t hold the position for long.
The wind kept me up for a while but finally the sand man carried me off to the realization that I just carried my bike down 4707′!