The wind blew and it rained a lot last night, so I'm glad I was warm and dry inside my tent.  After breakfast, I remove the cover from my pack and shake off the layer of ice that is on it.  I'm tired of this change rattling in my pocket, so I'm leaving a small gift for a future hiker.  The rain seems to have cut down on the dust some.  It's a little cool until the sun comes over the ridge to the east, so we take our time getting ready, but it's quite pleasant once we are on the trail.

Spare change
4-1-2010 @ 9:19
Looking down Canyon
4-1-2010 @ 9:22

     In just a little while, we come to a section of the trail that makes some people nervous.  I have never considered it to have any exposure.

Minor exposure
4-1-2010 @ 9:42
Minor exposure
4-1-2010 @ 9:43
Minor exposure
4-1-2010 @ 9:44

     We are then treated to a great view of the River flowing a muddy brown color.

River view
4-1-2010 @ 9:47
River view
4-1-2010 @ 9:47

     About a half-mile before Tanner Rapids, we decide to take a short-cut and make a left turn down a small drainage.  The going is pretty easy and we only have one pour-off to negotiate.  A little detour on a slanted section, a small down-climb, and then it's easy walking down to the main trail.  That probably saved us a half-hour.

Start of the short-cut
4-1-2010 @ 11:14
Minor pour-off
4-1-2010 @ 11:17
Almost to the trail
4-1-2010 @ 11:22

     There are a lot more flowers at this lower elevation and we see our only blooming cactus of the entire hike.

Common Fiddleneck
4-1-2010 @ 9:31
Indian Paintbrush
4-1-2010 @ 9:59
Beaver Tail Cactus
4-1-2010 @ 11:08
Desert Dandelion
4-1-2010 @ 10:50
Mariposa Lily
4-1-2010 @ 1:32

     We notice that for a short distance only during one section of the trail you can see the Desert View Watchtower.

  Desert View Watchtower
4-1-2010 @ 11:41

     The trail then goes up some man-made steps until reaching a flat area and crosses some ledges before breaking out into the open.

Steps up to the trail
4-1-2010 @ 11:46
Steps up to the trail
4-1-2010 @ 11:47
Colorado River
4-1-2010 @ 11:54

     There are several solar arrays on the sand beach below us.  I assume these are collecting and transmitting meteorological data.  The Basalt Cliffs across the River are stunning.

Solar array
4-1-2010 @ 12:18
Basalt Cliffs
4-1-2010 @ 1:27

     We reach camp at Cardenas Creek before 2:00 and have the place to ourselves.  In a few minutes, nine people in four rafts pulls up.  They are a very friendly group.  We take turns getting each other's picture.

Rafting group
4-1-2010 @ 3:05
Richard & Keith
4-1-2010 @ 3:07

     Most of the rafters have not seen the Hilltop Ruins, so I show them the way to the top.

Hilltop Ruins
4-1-2010 @ 4:06
Hilltop Ruins
4-1-2010 @ 4:07

     Back at camp, another group of rafters stops to chat a while.  One guy is celebrating his birthday and is wearing a party hat this afternoon.  One of his friends took a spill in the River a few minutes ago and is still shivering from the cold.

  A visiting rafter
4-1-2010 @ 4:36

     Keith and I have our tents set up in a very sheltered area.  That should help cut down on the effects of the wind.

Keith's tent at Cardenas Creek
4-1-2010 @ 6:22
Richard's tent at Cardenas Creek
4-1-2010 @ 6:23

     During our talks with the rafters, we learn that they are spending tomorrow night here too.  While discussing the details of our hike with them, we explain the difficulties in getting over the Papago Slide.  They offer to meet us at Papago Creek day after tomorrow morning and give us a ride past the slide.  That means tomorrow will be our longest day as we need to get all the way to Papago Creek.


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