Wednesday, May 1st, 2019
We’d catch one last glimpse of the South Rim before making our way up the North.
We’d pass rock slides, over foot bridges and see rock formations that reminded me of Zion.
We’d be surprised to see Beans early in the morning who had camped all the way back at Bright Angel. He was slackpacking and left really early, which made us feel a little better about our own progress.
We began the climb up switchbacks and and along rocky ridges. The North is definitely different than the South, but it was still impressive.
We hiked most of the way up with Beans and passed by a former AT hiker who was finishing a ‘rim to rim to rim’ hike. We also passed a large hiking group that left at 4 am from the Cottonwood campground.
We had a lunch break with Beans at Coconino Overlook, which was almost at the top of the North Rim. You could see Mount Humphreys in the distance.
Frisbee was stoked to get a bag of jerky from him. Lately we’ve been underestimating our appetites while resupplying, and he was running a little low.
We made the last brisk stretch to the top into the pines and passed a group of trail maintainers. After thanking them, we met Moose and Hudson at the top who were waiting on Moose’s cousin, Knowaguy. Beans would follow, and hang out with us for a while before returning to Bright Angel.
We discussed the trail ahead. There was a snow report on the Guthook guide posted four days prior from a guy wearing snowshoes. We only heard of about three AZT hikers who followed the snow covered trail. Everyone else was road walking to avoid a 30 mile stretch of possible post holing. We were still debating our decision. We talked to a couple of Hayduke hikers at the General Store, and they told us it wasn’t too bad.
We walked over patches of snow and downed trees in the Kaibab forest. We had several miles until we had to make our decision.
We went for it. I stared at the road, our only bailout, as we got further and further away from it. So far it wasn’t too bad. It was a winter wonderland and we were staying on top of the snow most of the hike.
As we progressed, we hit some slippery areas which turned my trail-runners into cross country skis.
After catching some fresh snow melt, we’d sink in some sections and hit slush which soaked our feet. It soon became frustrating. My legs were fatigued from the lack of stability and I felt like we weren’t moving forward. My usual quick pace was drastically slowed down.
I would feel relief as the snow turned into patches, and then became less frequent. I felt accomplished. Not only did we go for it, we were rewarded with a view of the East Rim as the sun was starting to set.
We had planned on night hiking, but after the view stopped us in our tracks, we decided to pitch our tent beneath the pines at mile mark 731.4.
26.2 miles (42.2 km)