September 5, 2008
I planned a backpacking trip from the Grandview Trail to the South Kaibab Trail, via the Tonto.
Since the only reliable water along this stretch of the Tonto Trail is Grapevine Creek, I thought it would be prudent to place a water cache to see me through the 3rd day of the hike.
So one day after work, I hiked down the South Kaibab Trail in the afternoon to place the cache. It was my first time experiencing this trail in the evening light, as opposed to the morning or midday.
As I write up these notes 14 years later, it also strikes me how I had the energy after a 6am shift to knock out these 9 miles after work, only to be followed by another 6am shift the next day.
I didn’t get started until 5pm, and I placed 2 gallons near the junction of the South Kaibab Trail and the Tonto Trail, aka the Tipoff.
I’d never needed (or gone to the trouble) to place a cache of any sort for any of my hikes before, so this little mission was a fun and novel activity.
I had some fun taking photos of my shadow as I descended from Skeleton Point.
Longtime visitors of this website might notice that this image look familiar. It’s the silhouette from this photo that I’ve used for many years as Down The Trail’s logo.
I reached The Tipoff just as the sun sank over the rim, and was greeted by a small group of desert bighorn sheep.
It was a great experience to see them so deep in the canyon, at a place that’s usually somewhat crowded with hikers. I had not seen anybody since the far upper reaches of the trail, and felt like I had the Canyon all to myself.
Most of the return hike to the rim was in the dark. The transition from dusk to starlight – on the move in the Grand Canyon – was something to be marveled at, as always.
I was concerned about catching the last shuttle bus home from the trailhead, and made the 4.5 miles from the Tipoff to the rim in one and a half hours!