|A moody day in the canyon.|
At six in the morning, I rode the shuttle to the trailhead, accompanied by two other hikers, who were heading for Monument and who asked me my name. My first impulse was to say my trail name, so I did. I guess I'm still on the PCT in spirit...
Disaster! I hobbled around a bit. Should I hike back up the trail or continue? The shame of a helicopter rescue flashed through my mind. Never! Well, I can walk on it, I reasoned. Might as well keep going! This approach, while probably not the wisest, has served me well over the years and kept me relatively doctor free.
The rain and wind materialized as I hiked over to Granite Rapids. Fifty mile gusts lashed my belongings, throwing sand into the tent. It was clear: I'd have to trudge the mile and a half back to Monument and camp with All The People. You know the ones: Old schoolers, with all the gear, the loud talking, the little ziplock bags of toilet paper, headlamps blazing when it is perfectly light out. The snoring! (I know, this sounds really judgmental. At least they are out there! But guys! Why do you take so long in the communal toilet? What can possibly....oh never mind.
It wasn't too bad, though. Everyone seemed a bit subdued by the weather, trooping around in rain gear. "Hi, Monkey Bars!" the hikers chorused, and we talked for awhile until rain forced us into our respective tents.
Stealth camping proved successful and I backtracked towards Hermit Creek the next day under passing clouds. The people I saw there would be the last I'd see for an entire day.
|The lovely Tonto.|
I decided to put a dent in the trail anyway and headed up. In most of my travels trails never live up to the hype other people give them. They are never as scary or as hard. But it didn't take long to discover that this trail definitely lived up to the hype. It was a route in places, marked by a few cairns, hand over hand climbing, boulder choked gullies. I had to stop and consult the landscape to see where the trail went next. This was not a place to traverse cross country. You would never be found again. In the old days, Mr. Boucher used to bring a string of mules down the "trail." It was hard to imagine. Finally I found a small campsite and settled in for the night.
|View from campsite.|
|Lovely windy plateau.|
|I was pretty happy to see the end of the Boucher!|