Day 43

Our goal for today was to get as close as possible to the border of the national park. Since we lacked permission to spend the night in the national park, we constantly switched back and forth between the trail and the road, depending on what the conditions were like. The trail was still heavily covered with snow in some places, which made progress difficult. Especially in the afternoon, we mainly used the road, as walking on the thawed snow was very time-consuming and exhausting.

The landscape behind the North Rim is definitely worth seeing. Unfortunately, I felt I had missed some of the most beautiful spots due to the many kilometres we covered on the road.

Around 7pm we looked for a dry place to spend the night. The result was not encouraging and we spent one of the coldest nights on the whole trail.

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Day 44

After a cold night near the National Park, we spent the whole day on the road towards the North Rim. Sleeping bag, shoes, socks and clothes were frozen and it was overall very cold. Fortunately, the sun was not long in coming, so we were soon sitting on the side of the road drying our sleeping bags.

We climbed through the gated entrance and followed the snow masses to the edge of the North Rim. There is still a full 12 miles (about 19 km) between the park entrance and the North Kaibab Trail. So it takes quite a while to see over the rim. When we arrived at the trailhead, we were first disappointed that you couldn’t look directly down into the canyon. So we walked a few metres along an adjacent trail until we could have a look into the canyon. After a longer break, we turned around and went back the same way we had come.

The weather had deteriorated and it was now thundery, drizzly and chilly. This may sound unpleasant, but after a while we realised that we were actually quite well off. After a few kilometres it looked like it had been hailing. There were pea-sized balls of ice everywhere.

We were very lucky that after a while someone who works in the Grand Canyon gave us a lift. So we were driven all the way to Jakobs Lake and didn’t have to walk all the way back.

To celebrate the day and because of the rain, we treated ourselves to a night in the rather expensive hotel in Jakobs Lake. A room cost a whopping $179.

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Day 45

From Jakobs Lake, after breakfast, we headed towards the end point. Only 50 km to go to the finish. We were equally relieved that it would soon be done and sad that the adventure would soon end. We started late and covered 25 km. We pitched our tent on a dirt road that was no longer used and watched the storm clouds in the sunset. There was even some rain at the end.

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Day 46

After spending the night on the dirt road, we rode 25 km through the countryside. The last metres felt like a short summary of the last weeks. I went downhill through spruce forests and burn areas until, after a sea of flowers, I reached the end point of the trail. The red cliffs of Utah rose into the sky in front of me. At the finish point, my parents were already waiting for me with cold drinks and food.

When Katie arrived, we toasted the successful hike and drove to Page to a hotel. Katie flew home from here the next day and I was able to spend a few more days with my parents.

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