Grand Canyon to Zion – Day 12: Hitching through cultures and following cougar tracks

May 29th 2016: Jacob Lake – hitch to Colorado City – Broad Hollow

grandcanyontozion484I sleep awful. Kids or whatever play basketball real loud till 12 at night and even back in the woods we wake up from it. Who the fuck plays basketball at midnight? (Alright I gotta be fair, I ain’t got nothing against basketball at midnight but I got something against people being loud.)

We get up early to get a hitch out of Jacob Lake. Most people drive south though. Still after 20 minutes a car pulls over. It’s a belgian!!! Mwuhahahaha such a small world. He’s from the same area I grew up in and so we speak the same dialect (in Flanders almost every town has its own dialect). That makes it much easier for me. After living in Germany for almost 14 years now I sometimes find it hard to speak Flemish. But it’s easier when I can speak the dialect I grew up with. He takes us till Fredonia and there the hitch is much tougher.

Not a soul pulls over. After 45 minutes (guess I’m not very patient) a white truck stops. Praise the lord. A Navajo man rolls down the window and says: “I can only take you to Pipe Springs. I’m looking for my 14year old daughter. She ran away last night.” Poor man. He’s been driving all through the area since 3 am this morning. 14 year olds. He tells us he’s been living here for 47 years already, didn’t go to study, learned from the land instead. “That’s a treasure,” I say and all three we know it is true in this crazy world we live in today. Learning from the land is the biggest gift we can give to ourselves and our children. He drops us of at Pipe Springs, looks for his kid at the gas station and drives off again. Searching. I tell him we will pray and we send him good energy while he disappears out of sight. Continue reading

Grand Canyon to Zion – Day 11: Cruising on the AZT

May 28th 2016: Crystal Spring – Jacob Lake, 11 miles and a hitch

IMG_3923I sleep like shit. My hip hurts. My ass freezes off. And my irrational fear of mountain lions keeps me awake. I’ve been sleeping like a baby during most nights of this trip. No so much last night. When we wake up the inside of the tent is covered in ice. No wonder I’m freezing my ass off. It must have been well below zero.

It’s still freezing when we have breakfast, even when the sun is out already. Frikkin cold on the Kaibab Plateau! Luckily the sun warms me when we get going, although the meadow is still glowing and glittering with ice crystals. It’s beautiful. We see lots of deer and birds. Ah transition zones! Meadows – forests – springs. So much life!

We cruise again and have a last view of the east rim. Bye Grand Canyon.

How easy the walking is when there’s a trail, in and out of meadows and forests. Somehow though (I know we are just terrible) we both get bored and when after 11 miles the trail goes right next to the road 67 we put up our thumbs.

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Grand Canyon to Zion – Day 8: Back up – North Kaibab Trail

May 25th 2016: East Tonto – Colorado River – Cottonwood Ranch – North Kaibab Trailhead, ca. 17 ml

IMG_3850I sleep well on the Tonto shelf. The winds sleeps too and so it’s quiet. Ah! The alarm rings at 4:30 am and by 5 am we get going. That’s the earliest we managed so far :cP We just have a Snickers for breakfast and head the last 400m /1200 ft down to the Colorado River. It’s so smooth and easy this trail.

We cross the bridge and have our decent breakfast on a bench near Phantom Ranch. HQ goes inside to fill up water and some kind people give him pancake and 2 pieces of bacon. Yesss!

In no time we hike the 7 miles till Cottonwood Ranch. It’s incredible how fast one can go when there’s a trail that isn’t steep up- or downhill- We have a 30 minute break and the next 7 miles are a lot slower and harder and it’s hot! BUT we have the magic umbrella and every fuckin dayhiker we meet has something to say about it. O folks common! Some go down in black jeans, no water, no cap, no sunscreen. How stupid can one be?  Continue reading

Grand Canyon to Zion – Day 2: Thornwhacking on the Ken Patrick Trail

May 19th 2016: Ken Patrick Trail – Point imperial – Nankoweap TH, ca. 10 ml

IMG_3302At 6:30 we get going and first thing I do is kiss the ground. In return I get a bloody knee. Not the last blood of the day ’cause as it turns out the Ken Patrick Trail is zero maintained and thorns are growing ALL OVER the trail. I leave enough blood on this trail to save another persons life with! Damn! Fallen trees, thorns,… This isn’t bushwhacking, this is thornwhacking!

By 10:15 we’ve whacked 6 miles and we have a very early lunch at Point Imperial because I’m so damn hungry. Fuck, I didn’t bring enough food! I freeze my ass off so we get going and by 2 pm we set up camp (that’ll be the last time that we set up camp so early, that’s for sure)  just a mile past the Nankoweap Trailhead. Better not to overdo it the first couple days. I sleep and rest and enjoy the view. And I worry about the 5600 ft/ 1700 meters of downhill tomorrow. Will my hips play along?

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