Sunday, April 28th, 2019
Thankfully it was ac quiet night. Once the sun came up, we packed up, reentered the park, then walked to the General Store to grab breakfast at the Canyon Village Deli inside. The manager was kind enough to go out of his way to gives us some ideas for things to do before we hiked out tomorrow.
We met a French hiker named Phoenix who was hiking the Hayduke Trail, a rugged, unmarked trail that goes through a lot of the National Parks in southern Utah and Arizona’s Grand Canyon. A trail we’re hesitant, but interested in hiking some day.
We lounged until lunchtime, bought a whole Supreme Pizza to go, then laid out all of our gear on a patch of grass to dry. A bus of European tourists pulled up and we got some disgusted, nasty looks. We smiled, said hello, and disregarded it. We’re used to being mistaken for homeless vagrants.
Once we inhaled our pizza and after our gear dried our, we waited for the free bus to the visitor center. The doors to the bus opened, no one was exiting, so a girl in front of me, followed by yours truly, began boarding. The bus driver had a meltdown, and stopped us from getting on the bus before he realized no one was exiting. These bus drivers have all been pretty grumpy.
We watched the park movie at the visitor center, then decided to take the bus back out to Tusayan to use McDonald’s fast, free WiFi. During the bus ride, we met AZT hikers Moose, Houston and Knowaguy. They were staying in a hotel out there for the night.
We would regret our decision when we tried to take the bus back. The bus driver needed to see a pass before we could board. Instantly we realized our stupid mistake. We walked there, but since leaving the park, we were required to pay $35 per person for a pass to re-enter. The stickler of an old lady selling the passes showed us no mercy, and so we were about to re-hike the 6 miles back. I was pissed. I felt so stupid.
Before we took the long walk back, we decided to try and hitch. The odds were against us since everyone passing us were paying tourists who took us for freeloaders, but we gave it a shot anyway. We got lucky! Eventually a German named Martin picked us up. He wasn’t so pleased with the price either, although for everyone else driving in, it was $35 per vehicle, not per person.
We took the bus to the El Tovar Hotel and browsed through the shops, then took a bus back to the General Store where we met another Hayduke hiker named Veronica. She was badass! The Hayduke was her first thru hike! She was meeting her boyfriend later who was currently hiking the Arizona Trail.
We resupplied, then headed to the park’s outskirts at 7 pm. We cowboy camped near the frame of an old car and hoped the 8 am rain would stick to schedule in the morning.
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Monday, April 29th, 2019
As we should’ve expected, the rain came earlier than scheduled. We scrambled in the middle of the night to set up the tent, then went back to sleep. At 6:15 am, we returned to the General Store for breakfast where we saw Veronica again, and met her AZT hiker boyfriend, Ohm Boy. He had hiked the Hayduke already, and knew Arash, or Swamprash as we knew him, who was in the park. We met Swamprash while he was attempting an FKT on the Florida Trail earlier this year.
Given the foggy, rainy weather, we debated whether we were going to hike into the canyon or have the date on our camping permits changed. We made a pit stop at the library to use the only semi-functional WiFi in the whole park, and the weather made the decision for us. A nasty thunderstorm blew through with hail. We switched the date at the backcountry office with no issue, and ran back into Coati and Radar in the line behind us, who we hadn’t seen since Oracle. They were going to get a permit for Cottonwood campground for tomorrow too.
We ate lunch at Maswik Lodge, then headed to the rim, which was a complete white out, to browse the shops.
Later that evening, we’d be back in the General Store eating our thawed burritos, and we’d see Swamprash walk by our the window. We chased him down to say hi. We’ve been messaging back and forth, as we continued north at different paces. Back to the stealth site we went. It was a cold and rainy night.
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