I had tried to stop earlier, in Sumner Wash, on a picture-perfect ledge below a couple of rare water-filled potholes. But when I set up my tent, the wind bent the poles and pushed the fabric to the ground. I had pressed on, hoping for a windless spot. Now it was time for a Desperation Camp.
I've had a few of these Desperation Camps, a last minute scramble to beat time or weather, sometimes spent holding a tent pole in despair, other times sleeping sideways in the only halfway decent flattish spot around. This one, among the sagebrush and cactus in the Clear Creek use area of the Grand Canyon, hardly qualified as desperate in the end. Parked below Zoraster Temple, looking across the great expanse of the Tonto platform, with the kind of stars you only see in a place where there is complete darkness--even with a little wind, this was not a true Desperation Camp.
|Could be a lot worse|
I was back in the Grand Canyon, because I can't seem to stay away. I asked about ten people to go along, but they all were constrained by obligation or time, so I was doing this one solo. I had never been to Clear Creek, which is an easy climb from Phantom Ranch, and so I had chosen this area for two days. During those two days, I didn't see a single person. In the Grand Canyon! Unbelievable.
|Clear Creek trail|
|The most delightful campsite. The large rockpile, obviously meant to block the wind, gave me pause, but it was calm and warm here.|
|Total solitude in the GC.|
|I can work with this. And look, new fancy boxes to replace those ammo cans that people could never figure out how to open and would bang them around all night long.|
|Nobody is at Boat Beach!|
|The cottonwoods are just starting to turn. Campground on the right.|
|People staring into the canyon at Plateau Point|
|The stark lonesome of the Tonto|