Day 153: 12/24/17  Christmas Eve in Kaibab National Forest

Miles: 23 Steps: 44,253 Vertical gain: Strava Knows!!! Liquid consumed: 85 oz. Wildlife: Not much today, a couple birds and I think that’s it, lots of tracks though. Faith in Humanity: Some of the cars that passed on the closed road waved, so that’s nice! I thought today would be easy: it wasn’t! I woke up and struggled to get out of the luxury of the warm sleeping bag, and didn’t hit the trail until a little after 8am. I walked the paved road almost the entire day today as it was mostly snow free and I only saw 5 cars on the road all day. The day started out like I was a survivor in a post-apocalypse world. A nicely paved road with zero cars and all of the trees for the first few miles were completely burnt, with lots that had already fallen over. Kind of creepy, but also kind of cool. My pack is so heavy! With tons of water and tons of food it makes for some challenging hiking. My shoulders are gaining strength so there’s a positive I suppose. The terrain is relatively boring as well. Slightly rolling, forested, with some big fields. It must have been absolutely insane if you were an explorer or traveler approaching the Grand Canyon, the terrain mellow and unassuming. It’s crazy to think of how much the terrain is likely to change tomorrow! I reached a point where they stopped plowing the road. There had been some traffic though, so I could follow the melted off tire ruts on the road. One funny thing: 3 cars almost sprayed me with snow and slush as they passed! How rude! The first car didn’t slow down so I kind of ran off the road and out of spray distance, once I was taking a break and was getting easy to hike so used my 6 foot long sleeping pad as a shield. The 3rd I also kind of ran off the road. Are these people being inconsiderate or really don’t notice that there Car is flinging tons of slush the whole drive? Haha, usually on a Road like this (closed, snowy, and in the middle of nowhere, and Xmas ever) someone would stop and wish me a merry Christmas or something... Not today! Oh well, it’s all good, I continued along my way. I took several breaks and was so relieved to take the weight off my back and sit down. Felt so nice! Eventually towards the end of the day I turned off the main road and onto a snow covered dirt road that will take me to the Nankoweap Trail in the morning! What do I want for Christmas?? A passable trail! I’m still a bit worried that snow and wet ground may turn me around, but there’s only one way to find out, and that’ll be tomorrow!

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