9/20/16 Mile 39 to 53.4 (and then a 5 mile network of long, confusing roads to Oblivion (aka De Motte Campground))

by sedona maniak

At Jacob Lake,  I'd checked the weather.   Sure, I saw the huge fucking storm headed this way.  I even camped on highish ground, out of the wind last night, in expectation.  I put together everything, stuffed it all in waterproof places, and slept.  It rained.  The wind blew.  When I woke up, there was an incessant drizzle.  My huge blisters oozed in response.  I bandaged them and was hiking fairly early in my rain jacket, with my pack cover on, noting the spreading dampness inside my shoes. 

I had camped in the large 10 year old burn just above the north rim.   Funny thing about burns...they provide no cover, no reprieve from the weather.  There were tiny young stands of aspen all around, none large enough to do anything but make you wetter in the search to be dry.  The trail was rocky, and I could hear traffic along SR67 all morning.  If you ever want to test your resolve, hike in increasing rain through a burn, on rocks, with substantial blisters, in soaked-through shoes, with an ever-more enticing road with traffic just a few hundred yards away.

I reached Crane Lake, drew a little water, felt another blister rip open, and continued, even more slowly.   Water was beginning to puddle now, even though the trees had returned, somewhat.  As I crossed a big meadow right next to the road, visions of flooding had taken over my dark mood.  I knew that there was a lodge just off the road a little south, and that the rain was supposed to continue until Wednesday, and that my feet really wouldn't heal in this damp.  So I did the thing.  I took a forest road (213, maybe?), and hitched to the Kaibab Lodge.   I'd already resolved to pay whatever insane price they wanted for a room.  The Minnesotans that I'd hitched with offered to wait in case I didn't manage to get one, but I cockily sent them on to the Canyon.  Yeah.  No rooms.  Nor phone service, Internet, nor whisky, which I would have paid handsomely for at that point. 

My walk, which was now really nothing more than a slowly controlled stumble, to the Forest Service campground next door was both agonizing and demoralizing.   At least I had a burger and pie in my belly when I got here.  I've decided to give myself tomorrow to recover and let the weather ease up. 

Sheer fun.

Sheer fun.