You may remember I was sitting on a large rock at the end of my last installment (All Downhill, June 2nd). As I made notes on my cell phone about the day’s “activities” a nice lady named Maryann introduced herself and announced she had come to take me to my friends. She insisted on carrying my pack and told me our destination was just around “that building over there.” It turned out to be a bit farther than I imagined, but I enjoyed the delusion.
Shayna not only arrived in time for dinner but also was able to check into our cabin and secure meals for Anne and me as well. As tired as we were, the still-warm steak dinner was delicious.
The three of us had a cozy cabin to ourselves. Bunk beds, a toilet, and a cold-water sink filled the compact area. Although the bed was tempting, I opted first for a super-hot shower in the building across the main path. I forgot my phone or trail light and stumbled a bit heading back to the cabin until another resident-hiker lighted my way. It’s amazing how dark the canyon bottom gets when that ol’ sun sets.
On Thursday—our rest day—we had breakfast at 6:30 followed by a self-directed tour of the ranch.
Behind the canteen and the outbound duffel area is a make-shift open-door closet for miscellaneous items that previous hikers have left behind. The shelves are full of shoes and boots (not all paired) but there were other supplies too. I donated my ice/snow crampons to the collection since I never intend to use them again. But the most important find was a pair of “new” boots for Shayna.
When the canteen switched from meal room to convenience store (at 10 am), we returned to purchase picture postcards to send to our friends and families. The “mule-train” which brings the supplies down each day returns with hikers’ duffels, trash, and the postcards.
We also bought tee-shirts, available only at Phantom Ranch (of course) and stocked up on healthy snacks and electrolyte powders.
In addition, the staff member recommended Arnica Muscle Easing Salve™ to sooth our aching muscles. This little 1.75-ounce container holds a magic elixir. The three of us used it generously and thoroughly several times on our off-day and immediately before the next day’s hike.
We ate our sack lunch by Bright Angel Creek with a furry friend who enjoyed our company less than the cranberries I spilled when I opened the bag.
The staff member also suggested that sitting IN Bright Angel Creek might be helpful—think tub of ice.
Due to my hip issue and fear of not being able to return to a standing position, I did not sit in the creek. Anne ventured in first and Shayna moved from feet-dunk to full-sitting before long.
During late supper (6:30 pm) we enjoyed speaking to the other guests some of whom have made the journey multiple times, others were newbies like us. We retired early in preparation for our 5 am breakfast before saying goodbye to Phantom Ranch. Rain was predicted for overnight but sunny and warmer weather was forecast for our hike back to the South Rim in the morning.
More of our adventure soon.