I took the shuttle today from the South Rim of Grand Canyon to Marble Canyon and walked down to the campground at Lee’s Ferry. Still pretty warm during the day, in the mid-90s. Walking down to the campground from Marble Canyon, the road passes by towering red rock cliffs and giant boulders.
This is one of my favorite sunset spots around, and I expect the next few days will be no different. It’s still pretty warm during the days here, getting into the mid-90s, and still feels like summer. But the night is cool, dipping into the 70s. Tomorrow I hope to take a brief wander down to the Colorado River in search of a remote Grand Canyon National Park entry sign that a friend who visited this summer brought to my attention, and stop by the ranger program apparently being held at Lonely Dell Ranch before heading up Paria Canyon into the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness and taking my first steps out on this 850 or so mile journey to Mexico.
I may be out of data range through the next few days so don’t be surprised if posting is intermittent. I apologize in advance.
The low last night was projected to be 12º, the coldest night yet on the trail, and I would say that may well have been accurate. Fortunately I came prepared for such conditions. Today I will be one of the first to walk the full new Happy Jack passage routing south of Shuff Tank.
It is brutally cold this morning, making it hard to even move much before 11. I believe it was around 20 at 9:00. Packing is a slow process in these temperatures. But, I pick up a few things that might make future packings faster in these temperatures, like doing most of it inside the tent at first and having a solid plan in advance to minimize time spent debating with oneself in the cold. Once packed, I head east along the forest road until coming to a trail crossing. There is a problem; the trail crosses on both sides. Clearly I missed a turnoff in the twilight yesterday evening. In both my purist nature and out of curiosity to see just where I made a wrong turn, I take the trail to the right, and it winds through the ponderosas back to Shuff Tank. It is clearly new, so this must be part of the new reroute, which has gone around the road stretch that I walked to get to the junction earlier. Instead of following the road on the north side of the tank, the trail now follows a singletrack around the west and south sides of the tank, then crosses the road on the east.
It’s brutally cold this morning, notably because of the strong wind that whips across the clearing to the west. Not setting up the tent last night was a mistake. I ultimately fill up for the last time at Navajo Spring and run into a few dayhikers who have completed over 300 miles of the trail themselves. Two of them are the Grouper and the Oracle. I continue south, aiming for Gooseberry Springs TH and Passage 29, Happy Jack.