Twig Adventures

AZT Day 3: North Rim of the Grand Canyon

October 9th, 2019

Mm 60.1 to North Rim Grand Canyon mm 76.2

Distance in miles: 16.1 plus about 4 miles walking around, being a tourist


I have a hard time warming my sleeping bag but once I do, I sleep pretty well. I wake around 2:30 am feeling pretty hungry, so I decide to try to get down the rest of my dinner. I manage it, followed by a chocolate bar. Then I go back to sleep until my usual time. I don’t know what was wrong with me the night before but I seem to be back to normal.

We have a pleasant morning, beginning with meeting a few SOBOs. They are just packing, so we stop to chat. We then come to a fire tower that reaches way up into the sky. I count 11 flights of stairs to the top. The wind is blowing hard and I can feel the structure swaying. We go all the way up anyway and admire the views. We can’t quite make out the canyon but all the golden aspen scattered about the landscape are worth the climb. So far, this is this is the highpoint of the AZT at almost 9200′.

We walk some more cruiser trail, making our way down towards the North Rim. We hope to be able to score permits to camp at the bottom of the canyon tonight…it’s a long shot since campsites sell out months in advance. But we’ve heard rumor that they sometimes accommodate thru-hikers with spots around the stock camp.

When we get to the ranger station, we find we’re SOL. We’ll have to camp here tonight and just walk the whole canyon in one day tomorrow. I feel a little dejected until I get to the lodge and find that there is a lunch buffet…bring it on! The night before I could barely eat and today I mow through 3 plates, 2 bowls of chili, and several cookies. My food baby (what I call my grossly distended belly when I binge eat) comes back and I spend the afternoon waddling around, checking out the sights. Stellar takes a picture of Food Baby and threatens to post it on IG, calling on followers to come up with a name for it. It’s so fun being a tourist while thru-hiking.

Our sightseeing pays off, too. We meet a nice couple, Chris and Steve, who invite us to camp at their site. This is a huge relief to us since we heard the campground was full. There is in fact an area reserved for walk/bike-ins but it’s close to the rim and on this day, is probably getting blasted by the cold wind. The site that Chris and Steve have is more protected.

We go to the visitor center and get some beta on the trails. I also take note of the weather forecast…lows are going down into the 20’s the next few nights. Ouch, that’s going to hurt. This night is only supposed to be 32…only. Almost out of spite, we get ice cream cones at the deli. This makes my food baby even more restless and I struggle through the mile walk back to the campground.

There we find Chris and Steve, both from Montana, with their other friends from Alaska. It’s a great group and shortly we are handed beers and invited to join in on fajita dinner. I. Just. Cannot! My stomach is so full from lunch still. I go take a hot shower for $1.50 instead, doing some pampering of my feet and clothes. Food Baby settles down a little by this time and I’m able to cram in some more delicious, good stuff.

As soon as it starts to get dark, everyone heads for their respective shelters. The temperature drops quickly and I dive into my sleeping bag. I hope I’ll be warm enough.

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