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Day 160: 12/31/17  A day of rest and plans forming

Miles: 5 Steps: 9,484 Vertical gain: 0 Liquid consumed: 140 oz. Wildlife: Very close Elk in the laundry area, some deer, ravens milling around the campground in serious quantity! Faith in Humanity: Kenia and Rodrigo were so amazing to me, thank you, it was a pleasure meeting you, you are great people, I hope our paths cross again Foreshadow: I didn’t make it until midnight! I woke up pretty early and was unsure what to do: should I stay in camp and wait for the others to wake up or just leave? It was cold and I had absolutely nothing going on: so I just left. I headed down to the General Store which I thought for sure would be open, but I was surprised it didn’t open until 8. I hung out outside for a few minutes to wait. Upon entering I slowly looked at nearly every item in the store, haha. Oh the things you’ll do on rest days! I eventually made it to the small cafe and found an outlet to charge my phone and had a surprisingly generously sized bagel breakfast sandwich and began a long relaxation. This is what you do as a hiker on a day off: find somewhere, ideally with food and electrical outlets and heat and indoor plumbing, and hang out as long as is comfortable (typically much longer than you would in normal life). For example: I hung out at that table for easily an hour and a half or more I think! But there was no shortage of tables and no one was giving weird looks or anything, so why not? The awesome Brazilian family came in and saw me and sat with me for quite a while. I’ve learned that Brazilian culture is similar to a howler on a day off: many times they love to hang out for a LONG time, eating a meal, for instance. I like this, it’s fun! Eventually, they went to go on a hike and I went to the backcountry office to pick up my bicycle. I dreaded this a bit as I’ve been dealing with the only injury of the trip so far: my knees from cycling... and the fact that I kind of dislike cycle touring in general, but I promise: I want to love it so badly! The backcountry office was amazing! The two ladies working the front desks were super helpful, friendly, and chatted with me for quite a long time about a variety of topics. Thanks, that was great! I’m adding that to the list of potential jobs in this area: I’m sure the pay isn’t tons, but you do get paid to go backpacking as part of the job sometimes and that’s just ridiculous and amazing! I rode my bike and my knees hurt. I adjusted the saddle more and my knees hurt. I made my way to the rim and hung out for a bit. Fun to people watch. I chatted up a few people and that was quite nice! Eventually I made my way to the laundromat/Showers area and there were some nice picnic tables outside with power outlets, aka the ideal location to go through all of my things. I went through everything, and a cool guy approached asking right away if I wanted a ride to Flagstaff! I did, but didn’t want to have to rush a ton and make them wait so I declined the ride. Bummer, but another solution will present itself! I lazily headed baby to the campground and read for quite a while. The amazing family came by around 4 and asked if I wanted to go to Tusayan? Do I ever! Awesome, thank you! I hopped in and we went to Pizza Hut and hung out for a while and ate. They even bought me dinner! That’s amazing, thank you!!!! Afterwards we went to the general store and listened to some cool Brazilian music before hearing back to the campsite around 7:30. We had s’mores, and chatted by the fire, which was quite nice! Thank you so much for the good conversation Rodrigo, and thanks so much for letting me hang out with your family. It was super fun to get to know everyone! I stayed up for a little bit in my tent, debated for a minute going to one of the bars or something, but opted to just relax and sleep.

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