I was up late last night. Now is the time to finalize my Grand Canyon permit, to know with certainty which date I will drop into the canyon and my pacing through it. I was up late, looking at map PDFs on my phone because the post office closed before I arrived in town yesterday and I couldn’t pick up my box with physical maps until today. I decided on a plan, each day accounted for between now and May 15th when I exit the canyon, and this morning I called the Grand Canyon permit office (it took an hour of retrying through busy signals) and made the changes. I’ve heard that Grand Canyon rangers are the meanest of the mean (and I’ve met some very mean park rangers before, all respect to them), but I’ve had very encouraging interactions with them so far. Changing my permit was essentially hassle-free, except for the difficulty of actually reaching them.
Back when I was planning this hike I worked in an alternate I’ve been very excited about. The Hayduke Trail, as conceived in the guidebook, briefly goes through Buckskin Gulch before detouring away because permits are practically impossible to get for the slot canyon. It’s very long, perhaps the longest slot canyon in the world, and runs southeast to the Paria River. I have a plan that allows me to pass through without a permit, but it involves some rather bizarre days to manage camping out of the permit area. I should be able to make it through, but just in case something happens I wanted to wait a day to make the trip during the week, when use in the canyon is likely to be lower. It all works out anyway because tomorrow and through the evening this area, Kanab and environs, is set to get an honest rain. I’ll be waiting it out in town, one more day in my cheapest and sweetest motel room, before heading out on Sunday and getting to the slot canyon on Monday.
But I have been so productive with this time off. I decided to shop for the remainder of the trip, the next three resupplies after this one (and there are only three more), and my room is covered in wrappers and crumbs and food heaps and empty grocery sacks. I may even have a tentative finish date, though I’m not committed enough to buy a plane ticket home yet. Tomorrow morning I’ll get empty boxes from the Post Office then bring them back full, probably in multiple trips because I can’t possibly carry this ridiculous amount of food, and ship them all off to wait for future me. I’ll think of them sitting on dusty shelves under fluorescent lights, settled and dull until I crack them open weeks from now and the contents suddenly glisten in the sun before my eyes. The meaning is imbued by the use–this is hiker existentialism.
I’m glad to have the extra day tomorrow to finish destroying my motel room, and then reverse the process as I pack everything up. This is only my second rest day of the trip, tomorrow will be my third, and then I anticipate leaving refreshed and eager to slap my feet down on that good earth yet again.