Grandview to Kaibab

Friday evening the magnificent 7 , met at the Cameron trading post, 56miles east of the GC, on the little Colorado. The group was a mix of fit andexperienced trail hikers, balanced by what turned out to be unfitgreenhorns.Two were last minute substitutes for injured regulars and weresupposed to be in shape and experienced. Two others are graduates of theGrand Canyon field institute expert clas that consists of taking ardous crosscountry canyon trips, ascending major ridges and hiking lengthy waterlessstretches. Their experience came in real handy - the last 20 miles of thistrip yielded little water.We had a great dinner at the trading post; most of the group consumed thefamous navajo tacos. Spent the evening at the Cameron trading post lodgewhich is a great alternative to staying at one of the lodges on the southrim. The Cameron lodge is a bit cheaper and a whole lot nicer.We arrived at the Grandview trailhead at 9:00 A.M. and shuttled a couple ofcars to the Kaibab trailhead. Started hiking about 10:00. The descent wassteep and took quite a bit of time by the inexperienced guys. Three of usreached our Grapevine destination around 3:00. When the others hadn't arrivedby 5:00, I went back looking for them and found them at a spring a couple ofmiles back. Todd, whom is highly excitable was freaking out about not gettingout alive and had the rest of the group spooked, with the exception of Jameswhom was trying to calm the others. Todd was shouting "Ive bitten off morethan I can chew and I am not going to get out alive"The greenhorns were spent and had let their minds get the best of them. Bythis time it was dark. The next day's destination was now 14 miles for them,and they wanted to go back and out over Grandview. I was able to calm Todddown and get them to rationally access their status. After the fear hadsubsided I finally was able to coax them into trying to get a good night'ssleep and getting up extra early for their start on the ole Tonto. Jamesdecided to go with me over to Grapevine in the dark. I felt pretty good andcarried his pack so that he could save his energy.The next A.M. the group showed up in good spirits at 7:00 A.M. and startedhiking with 2 gallons of water each, which was necessary. We broke camp at9:00 and caught them at 1:00 at Lonetree spring which had a little water.They had made great progress, but were really tired. We went on to ourdestination- Creamation and got there around 3:00, and to our delight, therest of the group arrived about an hour later. Spirits were high, now thatthey had the confidence that they could complete the trip. That eveningeveryone was jovial and I read Todd poetry by Gary Snyder to keep himtranquil. Todd is really a great guy; very funny, he just gets real excitedand has big mood swings. I had given him many demerits on this trip and Ibelieve that may have triggered his discontent. He was supposed to bring thebeer and refreshments for the finish and forgot, so he immediately startedout with 5 demerits!The guys started at 7:00 and we left at 8:00 to finish the tonto link andhead up the Kaibab. The Kaibab was steep but does not have the rough rocklike the Grandview , so I thought it was relatively easy going out. Uponexiting, I decided that there was enough time to cop a shower at the lodge,in one of the shared bathrooms. It felt great; however; upon completion Iopened the bathroom door and looked into the eyes of 4 oriental ladiespatiently waiting for me to finish with their bathroom. I bowed and left.Everyone knows that nothing embarasses me.I went back to the trailhead and Todd had arrived so I gave him a chance toredeem himself by bringing him to the store for refreshments. He ended up inthe plus column after buying tons of chips, candy and beer.The rest of the group got out fine and we met at EL CH------ in Flag fordinner and margaritas.Overall it was a pretty good trip. The weather was perfect-high 70s day witha slight breeze and high 40s at night.This stretch of the tonto is often not well defined and was difficult tofollow at times. There are several feral variations of the trail. You had toreally pay attention and look for the cairns and the distant trail,particularly when entering the many washes. This 18 mile section of theTonto sort of tortures you. You are tempted to take shortcuts up and overrather than over and around the meandering basturd. There were three greatviews of the river, but most of it is just hot desert hiking.Todd and the boys must attend GC institute for introductory wildernessstudies and psycological workshops prior to being allowed back in theCanyon.Overall rating B- only because, after all it still is, the Grand Canyon.

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