We pack our gear and head up the trail.  Since I am the slowest uphill hiker, the group places me at the back of the line.  However, I tend to believe the real reason for this placement is they wanted to take advantage of my military background so I could guard our rear flank.  Yeah, that's it!!

Morning view
11-4-2011 @ 7:58
Tom on the trail
11-4-2011 @ 7:59
Looking up Canyon
11-4-2011 @ 8:24

     Maybe my position at the back of the line was a good thing after all.  The chili we had for supper last night did not agree with me, requiring frequent off-trail stops.  Holy Grail Temple is slowly fading into the distance behind me.

Holy Grail Temple
11-4-2011 @ 9:03
Looking up Canyon
11-4-2011 @ 9:29

     I find quite a few blooming flowers today.  I'm not quite sure what makes this area more conducive to flowers than where we were the last few days.

Trailing Four O'clock
11-4-2011 @ 8:02
Fetid Marigold
11-4-2011 @ 8:47
Indian Paintbrush
11-4-2011 @ 12:34
Desert Senna
11-4-2011 @ 12:51
Tansyleaf Aster
11-4-2011 @ 12:52

     As I make my way up Canyon, I see my first pine trees since leaving the rim.

Pine Tree
11-4-2011 @ 9:43
Pine Tree
11-4-2011 @ 9:43

     There are still a lot of the usual desert type plants.

11-4-2011 @ 10:11
Beaver Tail Cactus
11-4-2011 @ 9:47
Hedgehog Cactus
11-4-2011 @ 10:04

     I am almost to the south end of this drainage, where I will loop back around to the north for a while on top some ledges.

  Looking up Canyon
11-4-2011 @ 10:07

     I catch a Plateau Lizard sunning himself.  When I finally reach the south end of the drainage and make the turn to the north, I know camp can't be too far now.

Plateau Lizard
11-4-2011 @ 11:58
Looking down Canyon
11-4-2011 @ 12:03

     As I approach the Esplanade, I come to a series of steps and retaining walls originally built by William Wallace Bass over a century ago to aid in his tourist business and travel down his South Bass Trail.  However, back then there was a spring nearby that he liked so, Bass named the route the Mystic Spring Trail.

Bass built steps
11-4-2011 @ 12:11
Bass built steps
11-4-2011 @ 12:12
Bass built steps
11-4-2011 @ 12:21

     I'm glad to be on top the Esplanade with its easy, level walking trail.  I meet most of the group heading north to do a day hike up Mt. Huethawali.  I'm having none of that and continue walking toward camp.

The Esplanade
11-4-2011 @ 12:24
Mt. Huethawali
11-4-2011 @ 12:37

     I pull into camp shortly and relax a while.  Everyone puts the community kitchen gear they were carrying in one place so the assigned cook can have easy access to it later.  We keep an eye out on top Mt. Huethawali, but never see any of the group up there.

  Kitchen supplies at camp
11-4-2011 @ 3:08

     Two guys come through camp this afternoon headed for the rim.  One has a pistol strapped to his waist.  That's the first time I've ever seen a hiker packing heat.  We speculate that they may have been off-duty Rangers.  Bob and I checked the weather on the internet the day our hike started and it showed completely clear weather this week.  However, dark clouds roll in this afternoon and we see rain in the distance, so prudence dictates that everyone set up their tarps and tents.

Ben setting up his tarp
11-4-2011 @ 3:08
Fred setting up his tent
11-4-2011 @ 3:44

     Just as I get my supper from Jim, it starts to rain, so I retreat to the safety of my tent.  My plan for tomorrow is to get up and leave early, so I won't slow down the rest of the group from getting to Phoenix and catching a late flight.


Copyright Richard M. Perry, 2004-2024.  All rights reserved. This web site, its text, and pictures may not be copied without the express written consent of Richard M. Perry.