The North Rim.

Finally. Here.

I walk up to the registration office.

I’m an Arizona Trail hiker; I’m told there are campsites available for people like me.

“Yes, but the registration system is down, so you can’t pay. I’m just going to let you in”


It’s after October 15th, so everything is closed. No general store, showers, or laundry. All expected.

I was not expecting, however, a sink with running water.


I walk to the hiker/cyclist area, realizing immediately that it is the best campsite, hands down. Right on the edge of the rim, with a full view of the canyon.


Next to my site, there’s a guy trying to start a fire. We’ll call him Joe.

Joe is hiking the canyon tomorrow, rim to rim. 24 miles, up at 4:45, off at 5:45. We talk for a while; he lets me use his stove windshield. We get along, so I invite myself to leave with him.



My left ankle. All the ups and downs have left my front ankle extremely sore. According to google, it’s anterior ankle impingement, possibly due to an unhealed sprain. Throughout the day, I was using my trekking poles to take pressure off, and letting the foot flop back on every step to give it a repetitive stretch. If I stopped that practice, even for only a couple of minutes, it would tighten up.

I limped into the North Rim.

Joe and I share stories as we watch the sun set. As Joe went to bed, I sat in the bathroom, watching my battery pack charge.

Slowly, I might add. Apparently the quick charge capability requires the special AC adapter that I did not bring.

Is my ankle ok to hike the canyon tomorrow? 24 miles, down and up?

I’d like to think so.


But. It’s not worth the risk. Especially not after what I found on le google. I sigh, and resolve myself to staying at the north rim and letting my ankle rest. I have 700 more miles to go. The canyon can wait a day.

The sun sets over the canyon, and it becomes clear that you don’t need artificial light; the moonlight is enough to get around. You can see the lights from the infrastructure of the south rim in the distance, but it doesn’t overshadow the gleam of the moon. Or Mars, which you can also see. Joe says to the right of Mars, you can see Jupiter.

Large swaths of wind move through the canyon. Some escape past the rim, and threaten to blow over my tent. I’m cozy in my quilt, listening to the grandiose sound. I’ve never heard that much wind.

Quiet time starts at 10. But before then, a gaggle of bros walk past the hiker campsites to a little trail.

They bro about, bro’ing as bros do.
I listen to their cackling as I realize my ankle doesn’t want to move at all.