We woke with the light and packed up camp. The way out was much the same as the same as the way in, although the last 1.5 miles up to the top of the canyon are excruciating even at 11am. It’s steep, it’s hot and you’re already tired from walking the 8.5mi before that. After the Camino, E and I have a couple of “safety phrases” that we use when hiking together in order to let the other person know that we are no longer having fun and need to take a break. The first phrase is “Trail of Tears,” and if things are really bad, “Bataan Death March.” Neither one of invoked the safety phrases, but if the look on my face was anything close to the look on E’s, I know that both of us were pretty close. Nota bene: Bring plenty of water. Take breaks in the shade when possible. And try not to hate the teenage boys literally running up and down the trail carrying their party’s belongings too much.
We made it to the car, gulped down what was left of our water, had a nice long stretch and then drove to Flagstaff to stay in the Little America Hotel, which turned out to be the perfect return to civilization. We had dinner at Pizzicletta, got a six-pack of Southwestern beer, and ordered dessert back at the hotel.