Got up today ready to catch the first shuttle to the Grand Canyon at 8 a.m. First, I got a sandwich for lunch at a local cafe. It was $9. Ouch! A motel employee said everything in town is overpriced because of the GC. He said the local McDonald’s is the third-highest-priced one. In the U.S.? World? Either way, yikes!
Reached the Backcountry Office before 9 a.m. and secured a spot in Cottonwood Campground for tomorrow night. Cottonwood is one of two campgrounds in the park. Campers reserve these spots well in advance, but the park leaves some extras for AZT thru-hikers, since it’s hard to know when we’ll arrive until the last minute. I’m in the stock lot, which is the farthest away and near the animal corral. Lovely.
Playing Tourist at the Grand Canyon
I wanted to rest today, but also see the GC. I took the shuttle to some of the most famous lookout points and gosh, this is one awesome wonder of the world.
After a little sightseeing, I stopped in at the park’s shop. Wow, what a great place! The shop carries all sorts of hiking/camping gear, souvenir items and a really wonderful selection of food. I snagged some potato chips (my sinful indulgence), string cheese and even one of my favorite beers, Old Rasputin.
After that, I took a shuttle to the South Kaibab Trailhead, where I’ll start tomorrow. Then, I hiked southbound from the trailhead back to Tusayan. This way, I won’t have to hike those seven-ish miles tomorrow and can instead jump on the shuttle and get dropped off right at the trailhead. Pretty nifty!
I have to mention Jen and Nathan in the Backcountry Office. They were so helpful and kind, spending a ton of time answering my innumerable questions. I’d actually “met” Nathan a few weeks earlier, when I’d called the office inquiring about how to shuttle my suitcase/laptop over the GC. It proved too complicated, but Nathan was a big help then and now.
So if you’re ever in the GC and at the Backcountry Office, these two are gems. You can tell them Snowshoe says hi.
On the hike back, the trail was terribly marked. I got off-trail a few times right in the GC, which seemed ridiculous since everything for regular visitors is exceptionally well marked. Guess I should have purchased a guidebook!
I was ready to just hike back on the highway when, around Mather Campground, the trail became a blacktop path nearly all the way to Tusayan. There still were almost no markers, but at least this was an obvious path.
8 miles today
643.7 miles to date
156.3 miles to go
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