After spending the night at Bright Angel Campground, the next spot on our itinerary was to head up to the Cottonwood Campground. It is about a 7½ hike up the north side of the Grand Canyon.
And we spent it taking precautions against my over-heating.
I should start out mentioning that my bare feet felt quite fine, even after having hiked 6½ miles barefoot the day before. It was my calf muscles that really bothered me. I was just a bit footsore, but nothing too bad.
Here’s Ian shortly after we left the campground.
About a mile up, we enter an area know as “The Box”. The Canyon walls really close in and the trail barely clings to the side. After 1.3 miles I decided to put on moccasins.
That’s what the trail looks like. It wouldn’t have been too bad with just rocks, but these were sharp rocks.
And here is what “The Box” looks like.
We got a very early start (around 5:45am). The Box heats up quickly so we wanted to be well-past it before it heated up. Of course, my son and I also kept a close eye on me and the possibility of over-heating. Supposedly, once it happens it is much more likely to happen again (I imagine it takes the body quite some time to recover and realign its electrolytes). So we made sure to stop every hour and for me to eat. Better safe than sorry, right?
Ian also made sure that when we stopped that he dumped water on me.
Here’s Ian (again, he was in the lead) as we were just about emerging from The Box.
In the foreground you can see an agave; behind it is Sacred Datura. You might be more familiar with it from its more common name: Jimson Weed. It’s a pretty good hallucinagenic, with a heavy load of alkaloids. It can also pretty easily kill you.
By the way, it got its name from the Jamestown settlement—the Native Americans fed some to the English settlers.
The flower blooms overnight, and the bloom we saw was just barely hanging on through daylight.
On the way up we passed Ribbon Falls, a very popular stop. It required, though, a bit of a backtrack, and we just weren’t in the mood for that. But we were quite relieved and taken when we hit this little oasis.
That is Wall Creek (according to the campground Ranger). It was a good place to stop and eat. I totally dunked my shirt.
There was also this little guy hanging around.
It was only a short distance (about half a mile) from Wall Creek to the Cottonwood Campground. Here’s the approach.
That’s Bright Angel Creek on the left, and you can see cottonwood trees rising in the distance, marking the campground.
We got there pretty early (maybe 11:00), so we grabbed a campsite and just hung around all day, taking it easy.