Awake at 4:30am with the sky already past twilight. Off to a quick bathroom break before making coffee. We are in site 2 and it is over a 500 foot walk to the bathroom.
Boiled water for coffee and by 6:45am, Mike goes to Phantom Ranch to check about getting a cabin. They didn't get the list yet, so after an hour they told him to come back at 9am. Good since he wanted some breakfast. We did get a cabin. YEA! The cabin was empty the night before so we can use it now instead of waiting until 12:30pm. Wonderful!
Breakfast was freeze-dried Biscuits and Gravy with Sausage. Yes, no kidding. Not bad but the sausage is chewy and the biscuits a bit dry. Love watching the sun light up the canyon walls.
The mule train passed on the far side of the creek. They make this trip at least once a day. Hauling supplies in and trash out.
We pack up camp and go to our cabin. The cabin is one of the original 1922 ones. Wow! The stories these walls could tell! You can see where the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) mudded the big stones in to make the walls. The original stove pipe heater is gone but there is evidence of one and the hanger for the fire poker is there. Originally this was a cabin with porch but that has been enclosed to make more room for bunk beds. Yes, there are lots of bunk beds in the cabin, five to be exact. We would have preferred a queen bet but all the other amenities make up for that. Real beds, our own bathroom and sink, very very nice showers in the bath house, AC/Heater,…
Shawna’s blisters were healing and she wanted to try a short hike. We only packed what we needed then set off for a short 4 hour day hike up North Kaibab trail towards the north rim. Yep, Cottonwood is the campground that we were supposed to camp at tonight.
The "Box" is where the canyon narrows it is beautiful with soaring walls of the canyon far overhead, so many teeny tiny flowers blooming, cactus, and a few lizards.
This is the same trail we would have taken to the north rim but because of damage to the trail and a rushing creak over the trail we can not make all the way.
Just after we passed the second bridge over Bright Angel Creek, we heard a voice call out “My Florida People”. It was Ranger Della. She went to Cottonwood campground to make sure no one was there. She also stopped anyone thinking they could get there. She took pictures so she could print them out to post throughout the Bright Angel Campground and Phantom Ranch to alert everyone how dangerous the Wall Creek crossing the trail was. We let her know we had a cabin so she didn't have to find us a campsite for tonight.
The rock of the walls is ancient and it looks it.
Much of the time, we could see the old power poles installed in the 30’s by the CCC. At one time, the poles brought power and phone service to the Ranch and Rangers station. In many places, the wire is still attached to old glass insulators.
The canyon splits at one point where the Phantom Canyon connects. Normally the creek flowing out and joining Bright Angel Creek is small but to day this is almost a river. The name of the canyon is from the fact that many can pass by the connection and miss noticing it at all.
The trail was built by the CCC and other than recent repairs the original walls protecting the trail from the creek still stand.
Some of the formations were impressive. So was the rock slide.
The hike was hot and tiring. We appreciated the times when the canyon turned and put the trail in the shade. When that happened, a cool breeze from the rushing creek filled with snow melt was very much appreciated.
Shawna’s blisters are worse so even this short hike may not have been a great idea. The canteen sells beer and wine so that helps a little.
After our hike, we took showers, wow, worth the price of a cabin just for that. All the hot water we want soap, shampoo, conditioner, disposable wash cloths,… Fancy!
Back at the cabin, we washed our clothes and socks in our sink. They didn't take long to dry in the sun out on our picnic table. So nice to have clean clothes and clean body after 4 days.
Dinner was freeze-dried Spaghetti and Meat Sauce, and Chili with Macaroni with Beans. Not bad. Better than most of the other meals we have had on this trip. We have been keeping track of which ones we like at those we don’t. On our next hike, we will know what to buy.
Another bonus is that we can throw away our trash as well. We have our own trash can in the cabin. Normally, we would pack out all of our trash. So less weight to pack out.
We relaxed in our air conditioned cabin and got to bed early. Tomorrow morning, we will find out if the cabin is available for another day or if we need to talk to the ranger about sharing a campsite. We are hoping for a cabin.
We are a couple who have started on a new adventure...