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Tonto West

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  Arches National Park
      The Great Alcohol Search
      Devils Garden - Arches
      Devils Garden - Hiking
  Grand Canyon
      The Plunge
      Bright Angel Campground
      Clear Creek Trail
      The Ascent
      Indian Garden Campground
      Tonto West Hike
      The Great Snake Battle
      The Final Ascent
  The Narrows
      Gearing Up
      The Awakening
      The Hike In
      Pee / Poo
      The Hike Out
      Places We Missed
      Meteor Crater
      Airport Mesa
      Thunder Mountain

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The great thing about our rest days, is the two hot drinks with breakfast. Elaine and Robyne had "Two Teas!" (a shout-out to Elaine's Mom), but, I stuck with coffee. In order to get caffine into my system quicker, I grab the nearest water bottle and splashed a little in my coffee to cool it. Sadly, that water bottle contained ERG (an energy drink that tastes lemony). While we leisurely munched on left-overs and chocolate we evaluated the campers preparing to summit. Since we were awake and eating, that made them RLSers (Really Late Starters) - remember, you're supposed to be done hiking by 10 AM.

Our choice of hike for the day was the Tonto West trail. This would take us away from the main corridor and onto the Tonto Plateau. Robyne looked at the map and selected the Horn Creek Campground as a good destination for the day. Elaine and I snatched the map away from her and decided on an earlier returning point. This was our day of rest!! In the end, we decided to PIBE (play it by ear) or PIBÉ if you wanted to sound more snooty. (Did I mention the lack of TV?)

As we headed out of the campsite, we encountered the happiest ranger I have ever met. Life seemed to fill him with glee. We asked him why rangers' sidearms were a bright yellow and he informed us they were Tasers.

  • "I've never seen one work," I said. "Would you taser my friend Robyne?"
  • "I'd like to," he replied, "but it's too much paperwork."
You gotta love his attitude!

Tonto West trailhead Rose on Tonto West trail
Tonto West trailhead Join us on the trail.

In the Grand Canyon, distances can be deceiving. Your destination may appear close, but the trails dip you into the many nooks and crannies that pepper the canyon wall. The scenery had a stark beauty and it was nice to be away from other hikers. After an hour or so, Robyne (in a rare perception of mine and Elaine's preference) asked, "Should we turn around now or maybe hike until 4:30?" 4:30 would mean another fifteen minutes of hiking, then fifteen minutes back on top of the hour we already covered. My legs were still tired from the day before, but I didn't want to turn around if we were close to the Horn Creek Campsite. There was a very small rise ahead, so I went to check the view before deciding. Luckily I did. The campsite was a couple minutes ahead.

Dana Butte Robyne and Elaine holding up rock
Dana Butte (we think) What's a vacation without at least one cheesy picture!
Rose Elaine

The whole of the Horn Creek Campground consisted of two small semi-flattened areas beneath dry scraggly trees and an open poop toilet 100 yards away. You couldn't drink from the creek because of contamination from an old uranium mine. This is where we should have camped! A nice primitive site that would have made us feel truely engulfed by the canyon. The main corridor was a prudent choice for our first forray into the Grand Canyon, but next time we'll choose trails that keep us off the beaten path.

Horn Creek Campground
Horn Creek Campground
Lizard on rock Yellow flower plant
Wildlife! Flowers?

We made it back having covered 4.8 miles in 2 hours and 15 minutes (including our stop at Horn Creek). It may not sound impressive, but remember the heat.

Copyrighted by McDoten Wachowski Enterprises @2008