Hayduke Route 44th day: 17.3 miles/ 685 total. Getting my ass kicked in Grand Canyon. Kwagunt to LCR to Tanner Beach.

The Grand Canyon is kicking my ass. I never really got sore muscles since I started the Hayduke Route, but ever since hiking in the Canyon, my muscles are soar and tired. I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if we were just doing 10-12 mile days. But we are over the 15-16 mile range. 

We were up by 5am, knowing that we had to be at the ferry spot sometime before 11am, as  discussed with the private river guide yesterday. We knew these next 4-6.5 miles would be brutal and that it would take about 4 hours, as we were expecting a 1.5 mph pace. There was no trail. We were essentially just hiking along the river, looking for the path of least resistance. Sometimes that path was a game trail, sometimes a walk on a beach, sometimes a bushwhack, and sometimes boulder hopping. Either way, it was a slog. 

We just barely made it to the ferry point. Pete and Cuban B arrived before me, and I arrived just as the rafting party was pulling in. They were expecting us. It was three rafts with 3 persons per raft. They were quite the nice group, kind, considerate, and happy to ferry us across. They, of course, were curious about our trek and even offered us beer and snacks. Once over to the other side, we landed near the Confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado River (LCR). The LCR was flowing turquoise blue just as I expected, as it wasn’t a high snowpack year. This Confluence is a hotly debated area, as developers have been trying to buy out the Navajo’s in order to build a resort at the confluence and a gondola at the rim to bring tourists down. This part of the Grand Canyon is part of the Navajo Reservation and not the GCNP. The issue is that the Navajo’s and especially the Hopis consider this place sacred. The Hopi’s creation story is centered at the Confluence. About 2 miles up river from the confluence along the LCR exist what is known as the Sipapu, a mound with a hole in the center, resembling a geyser. It is from this spot that the Hopis claim they emerged from to inhabit the 4th world that we live in now.  Save the Confluence. Respect Native American holy lands. 

After about a 1.5 hour lunch and swim at the Confluence, we forded the LCR and hopped onto the Beamer Trail for the next 11 tedious miles in order to make it to Tanner Beach and rapids. Despite the fact that we were on a trail, the miles still did not come easy. These GC trails are non main corridor trails. In other words, these were not the fufu trails for novices. These trails require a little bit more grit, time, ambition, and patience. By the time we arrived to Tanner Beach at around 5:20 pm, I was ready to be done. Tomorrow will be another long one, heck, maybe an 18 miler. 

 

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