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Day 6 - Elaine/Lancelot camp to Lancelot Point to Park Boundary

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Friday, September 22, 2000

05:00 Up early, want to get started as soon as it is light enough to see. Eat some Chex Mix for breakfast and finish off what's left in the small water bottle and refill. Add Gookinaid to remaining water in big bottle. Save the M&Ms for later.
06:15 Broke camp. Away we go.
07:15 At base of Coconino but not in the right place. There looks like a possible way up from here but I'm not convinced it will get me to the rim. I know where I need to be but fighting through the brush to get there is not going to be easy. Work my way to the right/east, towards break in the Coconino and the ascent ravine.
07:30 Brush is very bad and is everywhere. No way to avoid it. Doesn't appear to be any route down here. There seem to be "paths" in places where the brush is somewhat less dense than others but I can't tell if this is due to other hikers or animals. I am currently in a small drainage that appears to head up in the right direction and will follow it and pray that it goes. Rest until 07:45.
08:00 On top of Coconino, one tricky move near the top. Had to take off the pack and push it up ahead of me at small cliff. Still in drainage and from here it looks like I just follow it up. I hope.
08:35 Well that sorta sucked. I thought I was heading for the rim but when I got there it was still very far above. It looks like I may still be in the Coconino after all, probably at the top now. I just noticed a cairn behind me though so at least I am on someone's route. That makes me feel a little better. It's the first cairn I've seen in a very long time.

The morning has been gorgeous so far - cool and breezy and I've barely broken a sweat even though I feel like I've been working like a horse. Did I mention how steep all of this is? I am out of water and itís time to start drinking Gookinaid. I've got about 1.8 liters to get me back to the car and 2 liters of water in the trunk. I may try to follow the roads as much as possible on the way back. I am tired of brush (really, really tired of brush) and do not want to fight more of it across Big Spring Canyon.

09:30 On the rim at Lancelot Point. I made it!!! Thank you, God.

Hang out for a while just sitting under a huge Ponderosa and enjoying the view... enjoying the smell of the forest. If not for the wind there would be no sound at all. What a trip! It's not done yet but I am not IN the Canyon anymore.

09:45 Leave Lancelot Point.
12:00 Arrived Point Sublime road having made only one 10-minute stop along the way. The first hour or so was easier than the last. Forest is a lot less dense closer to Lancelot Point and gets more congested and brushy the further you get away from it.

I hit the road only about ¼ mile south of where I had hoped to intercept it. Not too bad for a 3 mile walk. I used the compass and "tried" to stick to my heading as much as possible. It was difficult in some areas of dense brush. I saw a coyote about ½ mile from the road. I thought (was hoping) it was a mountain lion at first as the color was about right and all I saw was a flash as it darted away. A short while later it slowed and turned to watch me and as I got closer I noticed it was a coyote and not a mountain lion. It was a nice looking coyote though and seemed healthy and well fed. Its coat was very nice and of a very interesting color. I never really got close enough to get a good photo.

Shortly after the encounter I realized that I had lost my other water bottle. Great! Fortunately it was almost empty anyway and I still had about a liter of Gookinaid in the backpack. I had plenty to get me to the car from here. It was only 3 miles or so away and all of that would be on the road. I figured about an hour.

12:30 Stop to drink and eat a bit of lunch. It is a beautiful day for a walk in the forest, a little warm in some places but mostly pretty cool and breezy. There is lots of sunshine and not a cloud to be seen. Many of the aspens are at, or fast approaching, peak color and the little patches of gold mixed in among all of the many shades of green is intense.
13:00 At Swamp Ridge Road, only about ½ mile to go.
13:10 Back at car. Cool fresh water and a quick bath. It is a great day to be alive!

Sunrise on Elaine Castle during the hike out

Sunrise over Shinumo Amphitheatre

Cresent moon between the trees

Holy Grail Temple, nearing Lancelot Point

Elaine Castle and saddle from near Lancelot Point

Ponderosa forest on Lancelot Point

Aspens along Point Sublime road

Sign for the trailhead, getting closer to the car

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