Mile 668, Grandview Fire Tower

Left the Grand Canyon behind today, although perhaps I should have stayed another day. I have time. I could have found some contemplative spot along the rim away from the madness.

But I never really considered it. I like to hike, to keep moving. Even on cold mornings I’m up at first light, anxious to get going. Or rather, too excited about hiking to lay in bed.

And so it was this morning as I hopped on down to Tusayan to get my resupply box at the Nat Geo IMAX center. I got a Spam and egg burrito at the attached Pizza Hut and spread my stuff over a couple of tables getting it organized.

 No one stared overtly at me. 80% of the clientele were Asian and may have found the sight of an apparent homeless man spreading bits of junk and food over Pizza Hut tables to be far from the most unusual social practice they have seen in the US. They were probably relieved that I was not waving a gun around and were happy to let it go at that.

As always, I felt like an alien, walking into a town that is organized (as all are) to serve the needs of motorized humanity.

But worse than feeling like an alien was the discovery that the town has no proper auto parts or hardware store, and thus no fuel alcohol. I had to settle for 70% isopropanol, which will be very difficult to light on cold mornings and will leave soot on my pot. Just one more thing to increase the grime level of this hike.

I could use my stove in wood burning mode, but the forest is covered with dry flammable duff. Starting a forest fire would be a much worse start to my day than cooking with substandard fuel.

I made my goal the Grandview Tower, a functioning (but currently unstaffed) 80 ft fire lookout tower. Had a good look at the east end of the Canyon to the north, and the San Francisco Peaks to the south. A good reprieve from walking a little-changing forest floor all day.

It was indeed a Grand View from the tower