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Day 4 - Day hike up Phantom Canyon

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6:18 pm - Camp Sweet Camp

I just love this campsite and I am very glad that I did not try looking for something else. Being camped closer to the Redwall in Haunted Canyon would not have helped me anyway.

Today was a short day. I did not sleep in like I thought I would as once it got light outside I just had to get up. I slept a little later but not significantly so. All I did today was putz around near the Phantom/Haunted confluence for a while, climbing several hilltops for better views and looking for some ruins that were supposed to be here. I didn't find then or at least I don't think I found them. A couple of locations would have been perfect sites because they afforded awesome views of the lower valley but one in particular seemed just right. The area was very flat and looked like it had been cleared of vegetation and never really recovered and there were lots of rocks around that could have been parts of walls, so... I dunno. I looked around for pottery shards but I did not find anything. I would not really expect to though considering how popular this area is and how long people have been coming up here. Until recently those artifacts were considered the stuff of souvenirs. I did find a rock that could have been a stone tool, possibly a knife, or a failed attempt at an arrowhead.

The bees around here are extremely territorial when it comes to these agave stalks that are blooming or getting ready to bloom. Apparently one bee from a given hive is tasked with guarding the stalk and not letting bees from any other hive near it. This is the only way I can fathom it as some bees are allowed into the flowers and some are not. I actually saw a bee chase a hummingbird away from one.

I also went up Phantom Canyon as far as the spring and it was very pretty up there, lots of trees and other lush greenery. Phantom Creek is just a trickle compared to Haunted Creek though and probably 90% of the water that flows below the confluence comes from Haunted. Yet still it is called Phantom Creek. Go figure?

I looked around for a while to see if I could find any traces of the old hippie camp that used to be up there but I did not find anything. I think the Park Service has removed most of the stuff that was left behind.

I saw some trees that I have never seen in the Canyon before up near the spring and from looking at the leaves and the seed pods they reminded me of a tree that we used to have in our backyard when I was growing up. That was a great climbing tree. I don't understand how a tree that would be native to Massachusetts would be growing here though... unless the hippies brought them.

I saw lots of lizards today and even another collared. I think I disturbed the collared while he was laying in wait for his lunch though. He was laying flat on a rock and did not run away as I approached. I managed to get one photo off and then the camera battery failed. It figures! As I got up to swap the battery he bolted.

I ended up getting back to camp a little after 3 and could not wait to strip of my sweaty hiking clothes and take a dunk in the creek. That felt awesome. I rinsed off the sweat and rinsed out the socks again and the T-shirt that I wore today as well. I feel pretty clean again right now.

I just finished filtering water and making and eating dinner and this is the time I really enjoy, waiting for night to fall down here. The sun has gone behind the cliff to the west and it is still warm but not hot. There is a slight breeze blowing to cool things off a little. The frogs have started early tonight but the crickets have not joined in yet.

I never did get any reading done last night, I was just too tired. Tonight perhaps.

Tomorrow I have to pack up the gear and head back to Bright Angel Campground and Phantom Ranch. I have not seen another person in 3 days now and that's pretty cool. Still it will be nice to get back to Phantom and have a beer and some pretzels... well maybe after the ice cold lemonade. I don't know what time I am going to leave here yet, it depends on whether I want to try to make the 4 pm ranger talk or not. It's going to take me about 5 hours so if I want to make that I need to leave by around 10 at the latest. If I decide to skip that I could stay here and hang out by the creek until noon or so. Decisions, decisions.

View down Phantom Canyon, south rim

Phantom/Haunted confluence, Cheops Pyramid, Isis Temple, south rim

Bee guarding agave stalk

Beavertail cactus in bloom

Meadow in Phantom Canyon

Waterfall in Haunted Creek

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