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mini location map2009-07-25
30 by photographer avatarAl_HikesAZ
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North Kaibab TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Jul 25 2009
Backpack18.50 Miles 4,900 AEG
Backpack18.50 Miles2 Days         
4,900 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I headed to the North Rim for a long weekend.

I stopped by the Back Country Office and made some changes to my permit with Ranger Robin Roberts. Then I proceeded to the Lodge where I was able to get a dinner reservation. I drove to Point Imperial and the Ken Patrick Trail. Monsoons were threatening. I hiked north on the Ken Patrick Trail to the Saddle Mountain TH. Then back to Point Imperial and south on the Ken Patrick Trail for a ways. I cut it short so that I could get to Cape Royal and still make my dinner reservation at the Lodge. I had a very nice dinner of Utah Ruby Trout and a Cactus Cosmo - prickly pear vodka and cranberry juice. After dinner I hiked around the Lodge area and out to Bright Angel Point. I wish I had brought my tripod to get some great lightning strikes on the San Francisco Peaks. I drove back to Point Imperial. No camping is allowed at Point Imperial but there are permitted areas surrounding it. I hiked a few hundred yards into the Thompson Canyon use area and pitched my Copper Spur UL2. Shortly after sundown the gentle thunderstorm lulled me to sleep.

I got up for the sunrise at Point Imperial. Not particularly spectacular today. I used my Granite Gear lightweight pack setup today. I was going to take my OR Bug Bivy (16oz) and Integral Designs siltarp (8oz) but because of the monsoon threat I took my MSR Hubba (3lbs 6oz). I took my Esbit stove (4oz with fuel) instead of my Jetboil (1 lb 3oz with fuel). I headed to the North Kaibab TH and hiked leisurely to Cottonwood Campground. The campground was empty. I set up in campground 10 because it has the best shade and is close to the water spigot and toilets. The plan was to head to Upper Ribbon Falls and the granary ruins. I headed on my way. Halfway across the bridge my better judgement kicked in. It was about 102° and getting hotter. So instead of turning right and heading up the steep hill and the couple of miles to Upper Ribbon and the granary, I turned left and hiked the 1/2 mile to Ribbon Falls. I spent a couple of hours just chillin' and reading and headed back to camp. At 1600 I was still the only party at Cottonwood. I explored a little and found the special pool in Bright Angel Creek just west of the Ranger House. I relaxed in the pool for a while then headed back to my campground. An NPS volunteer came by to check permits and we had a nice talk. I thought he said his name was Clyis. He had been a teacher in Mesa but his contract wasn't renewed. So he had moved back to the Grand Canyon where he had grown up. He was hoping to get a position with the Park Service. I didn't realize it at the time but I was speaking to a legend. He headed back to the Aiken house. Around 1730 a commercial group of 4 backpackers Lawrence from Pigmy Guides arrived. I don't think these 4 had ever backpacked before. I helped them set up and learned some cooking tips from Lawrence. Around 1800 a group of 5 Aggies showed up. I went back to my camp to make dinner. Between my camp and the water I saw a pink buzzworm (Crotalus abyssus) crossing the trail. Just about the most docile buzzworm I have ever seen. I fashioned a sophisticated Flintstone windbreak for my Esbit and enjoyed dinner. A German couple showed up about 1830. So only these 4 groups for the 11 campsites at Cottonwood. No rain.

I slept in a little. I started my climb back to the North Rim. I made great time up to the Supai Tunnel. The mule train was ready to head out so I rested to put some distance between us. The thermometer at Supai Tunnel already was reading over 90°. At 7,200' with about a mile and 800' to go I started bonking. I would walk for a couple of hundred steps then find some shade to rest in while I caught my breath. I could tell I was getting close because of all of the tourons (a special breed of moronic tourists) on the trail. I got to my truck, set up my chair and savored the accomplishment.
I drove to the Visitor Center to buy a Bruce Aiken book of paintings. I found out that Clyis was Silas Aiken, Bruce's son and the lemonade stand kid. I wandered around the North Rim and Jacob Lake savoring every last second before heading home to the heat.
Named place
Named place
Cottonwood Creek
Anybody can make a hike harder. The real skill comes in making the hike easier.
life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes. Andy Rooney
HAZ Member
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