|Wes is always ready before us. So off he goes. Doug and I leave a 7:45. We see Wes on the far side of a draw. We will catch up within an hour. We round the corner and before long see Wes still way ahead. Later, as we make the turn to the west toward Cremation, now we do not see Wes. We look around and see Wes about 100 feet below and 200 yards ahead. We yell, we blow the whistle, Wes continues on. I drop my pack and run down to intercept him. Wes is following a cairn trail, not the right one, but very well marked one. Later, we ask several rangers about this trail. We even search online for other trip logs of this section. Nothing. We never did see where it might have come back to the main trail. Is it a route to the river? Maybe someday we'll go back and take it. If you know, please e-mail us.|
We stay together till we top the west branch of Cremation.
While we descend this last branch, we meet our first hikers since we left Horseshoe Mesa. It turns out to be a young couple who spent the night just to the west. They have bulky and heavy looking packs and are facing some 13+ miles to go to the water at Grapevine. It is late. They'll finish in the dark. Oh well.
|After topping this last branch of Cremation, Doug and I head on and let Wes enjoy the Tonto and the drop to Phantom at his own pace. We reach the tip- off at 11:50 and after a most enjoyable drop to the river, we reach our campsite at just before 1:00.|
Time for beer. Then time to clean up. (Note the priorities) An open bath - probably should have stepped around to the back of the building when it was crotch-washing time. But only a guy comes by. Damn!
Wes joins us and later he heads down to the dining hall where we will join him at dinner time. Doug sits next to the river and listens to our special canyon music on our joint tape player. I nap, read, just think.
|Dinner (stew at the catina), is always enjoyable for we meet fellow travelers, trade stories and all in all feel very good about ourselves.|
|Wes heads on back to the campground without a light, a fun walk, and Doug and I go to hear a ranger tell about Powell and the Colorado. We had planned to have another beer or two but the line ahead of us seems very long and the hall very crowded so we head back to camp on a warm beautiful night.|