Thursday,  March 22,   2001 


We were up at 6:00 am again, anxious to consume needed electrolytes and calories for the journey ahead. Reflecting on our choice of the later 7:30 breakfast we realized it is more important to take advantage of the early morning cooler hiking time rather than get the extra 40 winks of sleep. The folks that ate at 5:30 made a better choice.

Many varieties of spring flowers graced the trail. Today we sighted Portulaca, a blooming Beavertail Cactus, Claretcup Cactus and Yucca and other cacti very near blooming. We are hoping they will show us their blossoms upon our return. Today’s packs weighed in at Terri 43lbs, Pat 40lbs and Anna Marie 35lbs. And the extra weight was all tent and water! In the past 24hrs four people offered Anna Marie money for her knee braces…but no sale!

Terri proved to be a good leader as she successfully scouted out many shady outcroppings which gave us much appreciated shelter from the searing sun. We lovingly called a four foot tall cliff overhang our "Anastazi Inn." As far as we could detirmine the outcropping appeared to be located directly across the canyon from the Yavapai Observation Point on the South Rim. We followed Ranger Pam’s advice by stopping frequently, drinking plenty of water and snacking our way across the Tonto. The exchanging wind in the canyon blew us down the last 550ft of Hakati shale’s steep descent into the waiting arms of a generous cottonwood. We set our packs down at 4:00 pm., 8 hours and 22 minutes after our start. The park service lists the Clear Creek trail as 9.2 miles but many folks including Ranger Pam and Denise Traver who leads the trip for the Grand Canyon Institute…suggested that it might be more like 11 to 12 miles. However long it really may have been, we all agreed that the noonday heat certainly made it seem a lot longer than 9 miles.  We made immediate plans to break up the distance into two separate hikes on the return trip.

Gusting winds challenged our tenting skills but in no time we were splashing in the creek and cooking a satisfying meal. Pat utilized a deadman rigging, utilizing rocks for stability instead of tent stakes. Some light thunder in the distance coupled with a mild sand storm of sorts drove us inside the tent for dinner. When the wind subsided, we strolled over to meet our neighbors Dennis Johnson and Bill Harley, two retired fellows from Sacramento, CA. Plans were made for Terri and Dennis to combine forces for hikes to Chevaya Falls and the Colorado River. This delighted Pat and AM and Bill who immediately planned to rest on Friday. After our last trip to the solar dehydrating potty, which caught our attention for some time, we sat by the tent and Terri’s lantern washed over our campsite as we enjoyed the lighting and stars across the far walls Although we desperately tried to stay awake, sleep over took us at 8:00pm.

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