April 2006 Grand Canyon Hikes

Preface: This year I am planning on hiking a large portion of the Tonto Trail.  I will join Richard, Art, and Tom on a Grandview-Bright Angel hike starting on April 1, 2006, for five nights, six days of hiking.  After a day of rest on the rim, I will meet up with my friend Betty, co worker, Nicole and her cousin and backpacking partner, Steve, for a seven night, eight day hike from South Bass to Hermitís Rest via the Boucher Trail.  Betty joined me for a Tapeats-Deer Creek trip a few falls ago. Nicole and Steve are new to the Canyon backpacking, but are young and compete in adventure sport races.  Iím confident we will have a good hiking group.
     My April adventure actually started on March 30th.  After months of planning and packing, I finally left Glenwood at 12:30pm.  I drove through some snow near Monticello, UT, and in Monument Valley, Kayenta, and Tuba City, AZ.  I finally arrived at the Cameron Trading Post and Motel around 10:30pm; just as the gift shop and motel were closing up.  I get my room key but it takes me twenty minutes to find my room, the clerk was much more interested in getting home than giving me directions to my room.
     A five am wake up call gets me driving to the Canyon as the sun comes up. I stop at Navajo point to take in the views and drink my coffee. Iím meeting Richard at nine to do a Dripping Springs-Waldron Basin day hike. I arrive at the deli at 9am, pick up Richard, and we head out to the trailhead. I have hiked to Dripping Springs before, but never from the Dripping Springs trailhead. Iím looking forward to the hike.
     The drive to the Waldron Basin trailhead was interesting in the early morning after the previous nightís snow. We slip and slide our way through muddy slop for about an hour. We park at a wide spot in the road, very close to the trailhead and start off down the 4wd road towards Dripping Springs. It is pleasant hiking in the morning, but the road is muddy. After one little off-trail detour, we reach the Dripping Springs trailhead and start down into the Canyon. It is fun and easy hiking with only a daypack, although my daypack is heavy with water and lunch I will cache for the last day of my Bass-Boucher hike next week.
     Dripping Springs is as lovely as I remembered, even if the catch basin beneath the springs isnít as full as the other time I was here. Richard and I meet up with a young big horn on the trail past the springs. I came around a corner face to face with an almost full curled ram. Richard had already passed by him, so I backed up to look for a place to get off the narrow trail. I found a suitable place, but the big horn couldnít see where I had gone, so he wouldnít come up the trail. I finally had to go back to the trail, get his attention, and step off the trail again. As soon as I did this, the big horn ambled on by. At the Boucher Trail junction, we head down to stash the food and water at the first wide place on the trail.
     We meet up with the Hermit trail and follow it to the Waldron junction.  Going up the Waldron was fun and easy and we reached my Jeep around 4pm. This was an awesome day hike in the Canyon and a great prep for two weeks of Tonto Plateau hiking.
     Friday I have the day to myself, and I spend it visiting several overlooks. It was fun listening to peopleís reactions to the Canyon. Going down to the watchtower a large family group was walking up toward the parking lot. Someone yelled, ďwatch out for Aunt Bessie, you know she will get into any car up there.Ē Cracked me up and made me wonder if some of my relatives were visiting the Canyon unbeknownst to me. Back at the Maswik lodge, I fine tune the details of my pack and get ready for the next dayís hike down the Grandview trail to Horseshoe Mesa.

Day 1: Grandview Trailhead to Horseshoe Mesa.  Sat, April 1, April fools day, 2006.  Iím up at 5:30 to check out and grab breakfast at 6, to meet Richard, Art and Tom at 7 at the Backcountry office.  I get there a bit early and drink my coffee and eat my bagel. The boys show up in Tomís big pick up.  We load Richardís and my packs into the truck and head for Grandview Point.  A trailhead picture and we drop down toward the Mesa, 3.8 miles away.  The boys quickly outdistance me, but I like my pace, my body is adjusting to the pack, and I donít have far to go today.  I enjoy the early morning hiking temperature, and stop occasionally to take pictures.
     I reach the Mesa and the junction with the minerís spring trail.  I walk up it a ways to check it out.  Coming back to the Mesa, I meet up with Richard who seems to be worried about me.  He has been on the Mesa for a while now.  I follow him to camp and we all eat some lunch.  The boys set off for the Cave of the Domes.  I wander around the Mesa top, going past the Cave turn off and walking until the trail started heading down to meet the Tonto.  I turn around and go back toward camp, then out toward Minerís spring.  I have no need to hike down, but spend a very pleasant time listening to the wind song in the Canyon.  There is plenty to listen to as a front seems to be blowing through.  Back at camp we all meet up and add layers of clothes to keep up with the wind and dropping temperatures.  I retreat to the vestibule of my tent to heat water for dinner.  Richard, Art and Tom go to the old cookís cabin remains and heat water in its shelter.  Seems very appropriate, but Iím comfy in my tent.  The wind keeps up as the sun goes down and after dinner I zip into my nylon shelter and burrow down in my sleeping bag to ward off near freezing temperatures in the night.  Sleep comes easily, but I wake up at midnight for a quick trip to the Horseshoe Mesa facilities.  Back in my bag, I toss and turn for a bit before falling back to sleep.

Day 2: Horseshoe Mesa to Grapevine Canyon.  I awake as the sky starts to lighten.  It is cold.  I should have put on an extra layer when I woke up in the middle of the night.  A hot cup of coffee is just the ticket.  Add in a cliff bar and instant breakfast.  Camp is packed up and we head down the Cottonwood spur trail by 8:40.  The trail into Cottonwood is not hard, rather pleasant actually.  The boys again outdistance me and I settle into my pace.  I can almost always see them up ahead.  I see them hit the creek and I assume they have stopped to pump water.  I reach the creek and they are not there.  Iím ready for a break anyway, so I dig in my pack for filter and extra water bottles.
     I pump enough water to get me to Grapevine, seven miles away.  I eat a pb&j and pack up.  I head downstream and in a bit run in to Richard who has come looking for me.  They didnít stop until they were ready to hike up and away from the creek.  They didnít want to carry the water one step further than they absolutely had to.  We head up and out of Cottonwood and start the long journey over to Grapevine.  I take my time, again falling into an easy pace.  When I am tired, I take a break.  When I am hungry, I eat.  I drink water and enjoy the most incredible views I have ever encountered.  I arrive at camp in the back of Grapevine at 3:30.
     Grapevine is a delight, water running for background noise and as the shadows fill the canyon, the frogs start singing.  A raven is tormenting Art, picking at his stuff every chance he gets.  After an eight mile day, we are all tired and bed feels so good.  Its warmer down here, we are at a much lower elevation than on Horseshoe Mesa.  We discuss tomorrowís hike as we eat dinner.  The permit says we should stay at Boulder Canyon.  There may or may not be water there.  We could go another mile and have a dry camp with an easy, early morning, two mile walk to water at Lonetree Canyon.  Or we could continue on to Lonetree and camp off permit at water.  A wet camp is just too enticing to pass up.  This will add three miles to our hike though, a seven mile day.  An early start is in order.

Day 3: Grapevine Canyon to Lonetree Canyon.  At dawn, people start moving in camp.  We eat and pack up and get started hiking up and out of Grapevine.  The western end of Grapevine seems easier going up than yesterdayís late afternoon hike in on the eastern side.  Perhaps itís just the fresh legs.  Somewhere near noon I drop into Boulder Canyon.  The boys have been there a while and found the spring up the draw.  I go up to pump water.  It is getting pretty warm.  I decide to hang out here until 3, let the sun start to slide down the western sky, creating a few shadows to rest in if necessary.  The boys take off around two-thirty.  I am visited by a beautiful butterfly at the spring.  It is white with blue dots on the edges of its wings.  I want to look closer at it, thinking it may make a nice tattoo.  But the butterfly flits away and I never do get a good look at her.
     I pack up and leave, with at least three and a half hours of light to make three miles in.  Iím doing well.  Coming out of Boulder Canyon, I Zen out a bit while walking and when I look up, the trail has disappeared.  I look around but donít see it anywhere.  I think about panicking for a minute or two and decide that really wouldnít be helpful.  So I sit down, put on my reading glasses, pull out the map and compass and figure out just where I am and where the trail is in relation to my present location.  I leave my pack on a hill and go down to scout out the side canyon the trail had been heading for.  I think I see the trail on the other side of the canyon and just have to work my way back to its crossing.  I find my way back and stumble upon the trail again coming out the other side.  I get into Lonetree in full shadow, enough time to roll out my pad and bag, boil some water, eat and crawl into my bag.  Tommy offers to help me set up my tent, but the skies are clear and I have no desire to deal with the tent now or in the morning.  The tent makes a great pillow though, as long as you get the poles out of the way.  The frogs start their nightly song.  Sleep comes easily.

Day 4: Lonetree Canyon to west of Cremation Canyon.  My planned early start gets off late when I donít hear my watch alarm.  Oh well.  The distance isnít far today, but I get the feeling it still wonít be easy.  Cremation Canyon has three branches to be crossed, not to mention assorted side drainages that must also be negotiated.  The first two are not too bad, and I convince myself that Iím nearly to camp when I come around a bend and look down into the third branch.  What a heartbreaker.  It drops so far down, then of course, climbs right back up.  Kind of makes you want to scream, but that would take too much energy.  So I rest at the top, rest at the bottom, then drag my tired butt up the other side.  Finally I see a tent pitched in the distance.  I see Artís tent, then Tomís.  Way far down the trail I see Richard has pitched his tent a good quarter mile away.  I guess Richard is serious about not hearing any snoring tonight.  I finally come to the tents and find a great little overhang spot.  The boys are all sitting in the overhang, but I notice they have all pitched their tents.  Guess Iím sleeping in the overhang tonight.  I love not having to pitch my tent, especially when there is weather blowing in.  Winds are whipping up and clouds are rolling in. When the first showers blow through, Richard high tails it to his tent, never to reappear.  Art and Tom retire to weather out the storm in their tents, I settle into the overhang.  Itís quite comfy watching the rain and sky from my snug little cave.

Day 5: East of Cremation to Yaki point.  Itís cool and humid in the morning.  Art, Tom and I pack up for a long day to Indian Garden.  I get on the trail at 7 to see that Richard is already gone.  We had discussed that he would probably get an early start to grab a good site at Indian Garden.  About twenty minutes down the trail, the skies open up.  A cold rain blows in and it feels like it will last all day.  I put my rain gear on and trudge on up to the tip off.  I look around for the continuation of the western Tonto, but do not see it.  I walk down the South Kaibab for a view of the river.  The rain continues harder and colder.  It could snow soon.  I huddle under the porch formed by the stairs to the tip off outhouse.  It is not exactly comfy, but it is dry.  I take my pack off and wait.  A short time later Art and Tom arrive.  They join me in my refuge and put on more clothes, eat, and discuss our options.  Art has gone ultra light this trip, so his sleeping bag is only good to +45.  Itís going to get way colder than that tonight at Indian Garden.  A mule train comes through and we ask if they have any weather reports.  There is a 90% chance of rain all day, snow on the rim in the afternoon, with up to a foot of snow.  HmmmmÖÖÖ
     Tom has had enough hiking, Art doesnít want to freeze, and while I could have fun at Indian Garden in the rain, in my tent, carrying wet gear to the rim the next day is not appealing.  A hot shower, non-dehydrated food, warm motel room, and a hot toddy, all sound pretty good too.  The clincher is that Art and Tom would need a ride to their truck at Grandview Point.  My jeep is at the backcountry info center, a short bus ride from the South Kaibab trailhead.  I simply must head up the South Kaibab with them.  We know Richard is a smart man, and he will figure out what we did.  He took off so early he was past the trail junction when the storms began.  Tom is concerned with hiking up South Kaibab, but I assure him after what he has been doing, this will be easy.  We will have no heat to deal with; it will instead be a matter of staying warm and dry.
     Up we go, through wind, rain, and as we get higher, snow flurries.  I rim out around 2 and hop on a bus back to my jeep.  I stop to check room availability at bright angel.  There is none, I get a place in Tusyan and head out for my jeep at the backcountry office.  Richardís car is there and I wonder what conditions he is facing below.  Itís snowing hard now, starting to stick.  I go check into my room and shower, then go back to pick up Art and Tom and their packs.  We squeeze them all in my jeep and drive through the snow back to Grandview Point.  Not just snow, no visibility blizzard conditions.  I deposit Art and Tom at their truck, tell them I will hang out at the Bright Angel Trailhead and look for Richard in the morning and we say our goodbyes.  I head back to my motel.  Art and Tom head home to Tucson.
     I eat a great and leisurely dinner at the hotel and hit the hay.  I arrive at the backcountry office at 8:45am. Richardís car is gone.  He must have gotten a really early start to be out by now.  There is nothing I can do now, canít check into my room until four so I wander around the rim taking pictures of the snow, then drive out to Grandview to check out the snow there.  Then I head to the laundry mat to do chores.  I check my e-mail as the clothes spin around.  I check into Maswik at four and get my pack organized for the Bass-Boucher hike.  I go to dinner at the cafeteria and retire early.  In the morning I fine tune my pack and check out.  I drive around some more and end up parking at Yavapai Marketplace and hopping on the bus.  I decide to go to Hermitís Rest.  I get off at one stop to go to the port a potty when I hear people shouting my name.  Betty, Nicole and Steve, the folks joining me on the Bass-Boucher trip, were on the trailer of the bus I had just gotten off.  How weird.  We continue on to Hermitís Rest together and by the time we get back into the Village we check into Yavapai Lodge.  We have a quick organizational meeting and Steve heads back towards Hermitís Rest for the sunset tour.  Betty, Nicole and I go to dinner at the cafeteria.  We are meeting at 6 am so it is an early to bed night.

Day 1: Sat, April 8, 2006. Bass Trailhead to Bass Beach (whereís the beach?)  We meet at 6am in the cafeteria to check out and pick up breakfast to go.  We have to meet our shuttle at the backcountry office at 6:15.  They will drive us to the South Bass Trailhead where we will head down and across the Tonto to the east this time.  We pull into the parking lot to find our Shuttle waiting for us.  We transfer our packs and gear to the shuttle companyís suburban, pile in, and take off.  Winding through the back streets around the Maswik Lodge, I notice I donít have my camera, Gatorade or binoculars.  Back we go to pick up forgotten gear.  Nicoleís hiking poles are sitting by my stuff, so it was a good thing we went back.  With all our gear we are off again through a pleasant morning.  We pass the turn off Richard and I used to go to the Waldron trailhead and continue west toward Pasture Wash.  I am very happy we decided to be shuttled down this road.  It is good to just sit back and enjoy the scenery, including the deer and elk grazing in the early light.
     We arrive at South Bass trailhead at half past eight.  Trailhead pictures are taken and we are off.  The upper stretches of trail are nice and fairly easy.  We make good time going down, looking for the ruins along the trail.  It soon becomes obvious that Nicole and Steve are going to keep up a pace Betty and I are incapable of.  Ah, the benefits fifteen years of youth will buy you.
     We explore the ruins and continue on down the trail.  Nicole and Steve disappear down the trail and we agree to just meet in camp.  No sense holding them back and I canít possibly keep up their pace.  Betty and I hike well together and we fall into an easy pace.  When we are tired we rest, hungry we eat.  In the early afternoon it gets hot and we hide out in the shade for an hour.  We hop scotch with a group headed to the Bass/Tonto junction.  Finally we pass their camp and head on towards the river.  We still have a mile and a half to go.  We take a shade break when we are getting tired.  But we are so close.  Finally we round the bend and hit the shortcut trail to the beach above Bass rapid.  Itís steep and nasty, even nastier when we get off the ďtrailĒ.  At the bottom we are very disappointed to see only a muddy sliver of sand.  We are so tired and canít believe we came all this way for nothing, but in our exhausted state we donít even think to walk upstream to see what we find.  Nope, we head back uphill, to the top and head downriver.  As we approach the ruins of the cabin, we hear Steven shouting at us.  He has run up the trail behind us.  Apparently we were very close to them at the bottom, but with the noise of the rapid, he couldnít get our attention.  Back down the nasty trail we go again.  I am way beyond tired by now.  When I finally hit the beach, I drop my stuff at the first site I come to and sit.  I am so happy I have no where to go in the morning.  A rest day is defiantly in order.  I feel better after dinner and we stretch out drinking Gatorade and gin.

Day 2: Bass Beach layover day.  We sleep late in the morning as the day is ours.  We lounge in the sun or shade as temperatures dictate.  As the morning grows late, we all retire to the shaded grotto.  There is always shade up there and the sound of water.  We leave the grotto to watch some rafts run Bass.  I rig up a sun shelter in my camp and stretch out on my mat for an afternoon rest.  When shadows finally hit the beach we gather at a common area for gin and Gatorade.  Then dinner and plans for the next day.
     We have nine miles to go to Ruby.  We will have to haul some water.  There is water in Serpentine, but we have been warned by hikers going up Bass that it made some of their group sick.  We know the kids can make it to a wet camp at Ruby, but Betty and I are unsure if we can make the miles carrying so much water.  We tell them to keep going for the wet camp and we will do our best to get there.  If it gets too late, or we get too tired, we will just have a dry camp on the Tonto, and meet up with them at Ruby in the morning.  We go to bed and arise before dawn.

Day 3: Bass Beach to Ruby, or as close as we can get.  We pack up and are on the trail a little later than desired.  It just took longer to fit the water in our packs.  Itís cool as we hike up, but later than Iíd hoped.  It takes a half hour to get up to the Bass Trail junction and then we head up Bass Canyon.  We have a lot of shade and cool temps, but our loads are heavy.  We move slowly.  Nicole and Steve approach us as we near the Tonto east junction.  We take some pictures and they disappear up the trail.  The last we see of them is coming out the other side of Serpentine Canyon.  Betty and I take a break at the back of Serpentine and pump a couple of liters of water for back up.  We figure bad water in the desert is better than no water in the desert and we are feeling a dry camp coming up.  We plug on and on, we wait out the sun and move on.  We still have a side canyon to go down and climb out of before hitting Ruby.  We have an hour of light left, but Betty and I just donít have it in us tonight.  We find a flat spot on the plateau and set up camp.  The wind is a pain in the butt and we hide behind rocks to heat water for dinner.  I have split my nylon hiking pants on a sharp rock.  They need to be sewn, but I donít have the energy so duct tape provides a temporary and effective fix.  I stuff my sleeping bag and ground pads in my bivey sack to help ward off a cold wind.  It works well and I get a great nightís sleep.

Day 4: West of Ruby to Turquoise.  We told the kids not to be worried if we didnít make it to Ruby, but they could start to worry if we donít show up by nine am.  We get up early and break camp, on the trail by six forty am.  Fresh legs carry us into and out of Quartz Canyon and we drop into Ruby by eight am.  Steve sees us coming and shouts, ďYouíre early!Ē  They were just starting to get up.  We took a break and pumped some water for the next dry stretch.  We left Steve and Nicole packing up and continued on.  Our goal for the day is six more miles to Turquoise.  My butt is really dragging today for some reason.  Iím half way through the hike now, maybe it is just the cold beer Iím missing.  Finally did get to Turquoise canyon around 4:30.  We all enjoyed a pleasant evening listening to frogs and eating gourmet freeze dried fare.  The evening cocktail was vodka and Gatorade.
     Tomorrow will be a long day, 9.3 miles to Slate Canyon.  I had hoped to do a side trip down to Crystal rapids, but my energy just isnít there.  I know I will be doing well to get to Slate by nightfall.  We have been pretty lucky with the weather, cool mornings and some afternoon cloud cover and breeze have all be very nice.  We will get an early start out of Turquoise in the morning.  Its just under three miles to the next water, so our loads will be lighter as we leave in the morning.

Day 5: Turquoise to Slate.  Betty and I are on the trail at 6:30 am, yelling a wake up call to Steve and Nicole as we go.  They catch up with us at Sapphire and we enjoy a break together, pumping water and munching on gorp.  Steve and Nicole take off; we hope to meet up with them at Slate this evening.  After our break, Betty and I hike up out of Sapphire.  Itís not bad, but when we turn the corner and step up on the Plateau, we are hit with the full force of an afternoon sun.  The thermometer on my pack soon registers 100*.  A couple of large rocks just off the trail provide some shade, which we enhance with a couple of tarps to make a comfy shaded rest area.  We end up staying there until 4pm when the sun finally goes down enough to make hiking more comfortable.  We had a few hot stretches of trail but when we made the turn up into Slate, it was all in shade!  We reach camp with Steve and Nicole at 6pm.
     Another pleasant evening is spent stretching out after a long hike.  The frogs sing us to sleep as a nearly full moon rises.  We have only five miles to go to Boucher Creek tomorrow.  Betty and I have abandoned any ideas of hiking down Slate to the river, and are OK with an early morning hike and early camp at Boucher.  Steve and Nicole will try for a side trip to the rapid.  We agree to meet up at camp again.

Day 6: Slate to Boucher.  Betty and I are on the trail at 7am.  It takes two hours to hike out of Slate and we drop into Boucher by 10:45.  Betty and I have an easy time into Boucher, but it is hot as we drop into our camp for the night.  I had remembered the camp at Boucher creek as an oasis, lush, green and good water.  Well, the water was there, but the lushness was gone.  Seems some good group had done a tamarisk eradication project here.  Iím all for getting the tammies out of the Canyon, but this did present more of a shade challenge for us.
     Nicole and Steve arrived shortly after we did; the first time of the trip we ever beat them anywhere.  They had tried a few routes to the river at Slate, with no luck, so decided to come on to Boucher.  They decide to hike down the creek to Boucher Rapid, Betty and I continue up the creek to camp and settle in.  We managed to find shade and haul enough water away from the creek to wash up.  It feels glorious to have my last clean shirt on.  Nicole and Steve join us in the late afternoon, having enjoyed the afternoon at the river.
     After dinner I realize I have lost part of my first aid kit. I had dug into my pack when we dropped into Boucher Creek and wonder if I left it down the creek where we ate.  I walk downstream in the early evening.  Itís not dark yet, and I have a great time trying to find the frogs when they croak in the water.  When I reach our lunch spot, there is my first aid kit, sitting right where I had rested.  I turned back toward camp and continued looking for frogs on my way upstream.
     When I get back to camp I find Steve going over the map.  We talk about the hike out tomorrow, half way up the Boucher to Yuma Point.  I tell him how long and steep the trail was when I hiked it down, but I also know the way my friends have been hiking, they could easily make it to the rim the next day.  Betty and I might be able to make the rim, but there would be no fun involved and since I do this for fun, I nixed the idea for us.  Besides, Iím looking forward to the last night at Yuma point. Steve and Nicole decide to decide in the morning.   They are really attracted to the idea of hot showers, cold beer, and lighter water loads.

Day 7: Boucher Creek to Yuma Point.  Friday morning Betty and I are on the trail at first light.  It takes us about three hours to get to the top near Whites Butte.  Nicole and Steve pass us on this section and shout down at us that they are going for the rim.  We wave goodbye and they disappear up the trail.  Betty and I take a long break at Whiteís butte.  Itís cool and cloudy and a storm seems to be blowing up.  It makes for good hiking weather.  We take our time and it is afternoon before we get to Yuma point.  We pass a boy scout troop going to the river.  They are pretty far up the trail to be getting to the river tonight and seem really disappointed to hear how long we have been hiking up.  They have just come through the nasty Supai descent and are not pleased to know they have 3 more miles of down to get to the river.  Later at our perch on Yuma point, we see the boy scouts setting up camp near Whites Butte.  We settle into an overhang protected from the wind and rain, with a great view of the inner canyon, north rim, flying condors, and potholes full of water.  We watch several storms blow through and are treated to a rainbow.  We eat dinner and get ready for bed between storms.  The rains fall all night long.  We have no tents, but bivey sacks, tarps and overhangs keep us comfortable.

Day 8: Yuma Point to Hermitís Rest.  Saturday morning dawns cold.  There is fresh snow on the north rim and it looks like it may be stormy all day.  Betty and I sit in sleeping bags drinking coffee, too snug to venture out.  We eat a leisurely breakfast and when the helicopters fail to arrive at their appointed 9am start time, we figure the weather has grounded them and we look forward to quiet hiking this morning.  We pack up and are on the trail by 10.  We only have 3 miles to go, we are in no hurry.  This portion of the Boucher wanders in and out of several side drainages on its way to the Dripping Springs junction.  We stop at this junction and Betty hikes up to the springs while I go back to retrieve my water and lunch stash.  I had not recognized the cache on the way up, but had no trouble locating it when I went back for it.  The lunch and water cache present a slight problem. We have more than enough water to hike out on and donít want to carry the weight.  Luckily, the Boy Scout troop arrives on cue and they are happy to have the water.  We have a nice lunch stop as the boy scouts pass by us.  They tell us they camped at Whites butte and then day hiked to the river and back up to sleep.
     We break again at the Waldron junction preparing for the final push up to Hermitís Rest.  We reach our destination at 3:45, get in line for a bus and head for our motel room at the Yavapai.  After unloading packs and cleaning up we were too tired to drive the whole 7 miles to Tusayan to meet other hikers as I had planned. It was all we could do to keep our eyes open through dinner at the cafeteria.  Bedtime came early yet again.  Easter morning would head back home to real life.
     This was an awesome two weeks in the Canyon.  I have just a few short stretches of the Tonto trail now left to complete.  Iíll be headed to Phantom Ranch the first weekend of May, the first time I have ever stayed there.  Iím also thinking about a fall hike down North Bass, if my life allows me the time off.