Grand Canyon over Easter Break

10:46 p.m. on December 3, 2012 (EST)
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Seems to be a lot of posting lately about the Grand Canyon, so I guess I'll add one more.  

Here are the trip details.

The trip will include my dad & my 10yo daughter.  Flying into most likely Las Vegas (possibly Phoenix) on March 28.   I have a permit for 5 days in Canyon (2 nights at Bright Angel, 2 nights at Indian Gardens) starting March 30.   Hiking in via S Kaibab & out Bright Angel trail We'll then have 3-5 additional days in the area.

Current questions seeking advise on:

Is it worth lugging around a GPS & water filter?  Will the GPS work?  Is water treatment tablets good enough?  

Should I plan on needing crampons/microspikes?  Looking at the temperature averages probably wouldn't need them but I'm not sure.  I also don't know availability in kids sizes. 

For the additional 3-5 days, are there other areas that we shouldn't miss & would be worth a drive?  Considering Petrified Forest, Glenn Canyon & maybe a longer trip to Zion.

Thanks for the help!

3:10 p.m. on December 4, 2012 (EST)
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Is it worth lugging around a GPS & water filter?  Will the GPS work?  Is water treatment tablets good enough?  

Not sure if the GPS willl work or not, I know cell phones don't work in the canyon. As far as water treatment if you are staying at the BA Camp and Indian Gardens Camp you should not need water traetment of filters at all, there is water at the campgrounds.

Should I plan on needing crampons/microspikes?  Looking at the temperature averages probably wouldn't need them but I'm not sure.  I also don't know availability in kids sizes. 

By Easter the snow should all be gone on the rim where the beginning of yout trek will start on the S. Kaibab. You can buy good cheap instep crampons at the store on the south rim if needed. Fits between the heel and forward part of the hiking boots.

For the additional 3-5 days, are there other areas that we shouldn't miss & would be worth a drive?  Considering Petrified Forest, Glenn Canyon & maybe a longer trip to Zion.

There are tons of places to see! Sedona and its red rock (sandstone) country south of the GC and Flagstaff on 89. Also I would go see Grand Falls on the Little Colorado River just NE of Flagstaff, you can get directions online. Around Easter is when the best times to see the falls in full force. They are higher than Niagra Falls and very interesting. Also go see the Meteor Crater, the Petrified Forest and painted Desert NE on 40 of Flagstaff. And/or the Glen Canyon/Lake Powell area NE of the GC. Also the mouth of the Paria Canyon above Marble Canyon outside and north of the eastern GC. Drive the south rim road to get to Desert View and Cameron then north. Theres also Walnut Canyon Nat Mon. with ancient Indian ruins near east Flagstaff. And Wupatki Nat Mon also just NE of Flagstaff and Sunset Crater (last volcano to erupt in Arizona around 900 AD)

I know I have given you a lot of ideas but there is so much to do around northern AZ!

7:41 p.m. on December 4, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks, Gary.  I knew that there was a lot to see & do.  Hopefully we have time to do everything from your list.  

12:23 p.m. on December 6, 2012 (EST)
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Gary P supplied a good list.  I like Paria Cyn, the Navajo Res, and Montezuma's Castle.  My Dad had a ranch near Flagstaff for 30 years, and it is a great area to visit.

The GC  is inverted world, and unusual in that the view is obscured.  It is like looking thru a slot at the sky.  A GPS may work, but often would probably have trouble picking up all of it s satellite fixes.  There is so much vertical displacement that reading topo is pretty easy, especially after you learn the rock formations.  The Red Wall Limestone as an example, is usually the easiest layer to pick out and use as a marker because of its color and height.  I would bring a filter with tablets as a back-up. 

People not from the West underestimate the vertical character of GC and the amount of water they will use.

It can be snowy on the Rim with freezing and thawing and ice formation on the trails.  Small crampons are a great idea even if you don't need them.  The consequences of a slip in the GC are greater than perhaps any other well known hiking area.

6:55 a.m. on December 12, 2012 (EST)
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6:58 a.m. on December 12, 2012 (EST)
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1:13 p.m. on December 17, 2012 (EST)
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I am in Arizona now and see there is a new magazine that talks about everything Grand Canyon. I will look later for the title or maybe you can find it online.

2:03 p.m. on December 19, 2012 (EST)
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Check out these website for more National Park trip planning info:

www.NationalParkTrips.com

For Ipad,Nook and Kindle users go to www.NationalParkTrips.com/apps

Or check out their Facebook page at facebook.com/mygrandcanyonpark

6:57 p.m. on December 19, 2012 (EST)
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When in college (well before global warming started) we took Spring/Easter break to do some climbing on the 'other' rim side starting at the S. Kaibab.

We spent an unplanned night on top of Zoraster's Temple (not quite rim altitude) in below freezing temps, melting snow all night and sharing a bag of peanuts between 5 of us.  At the Ranch it was around 50F that night.

On the way back up to the south rim two days later and after an all night drizzle (we had a lucky bivy!), we had to slog up through a 3' pile of drifting new snow the last 3 miles. 

Check the weather forecast (back then they didn't know a millibar from a fencepost) for the period you will be on the trail.  There was no ice on the rim that year -- until a few days later.

Over New Years a decade or so ago there was a bit of ice on the trail (Grandview).  A few had spikes and crampons, the rest of us just stayed on the gravel on the sides of the trail where it was steep.  It was only a few hundred feet of the trail.


Of all the Winter/Spring trips there, that is the only significant trail problems I remember.  But your experience will depend on what mom Nature cooks up.  She changes her mind often and quickly.

Gary is The Canyon rat here. He and ppine have been there. 

11:34 a.m. on December 28, 2012 (EST)
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I spent 20 years hiking the canyon every year from October-April 1983-2003 in the canyon on up to 28 day trips. My longest hike was 256 miles from the South Bass to the Lil Colorado, with side trips to the North Rim, Clear Creek Canyon, Phantom/Haunted Canyon and the Sipapo/ Blue Springs.

I am returning there in June 2013 while bicycle touring back to Utah from Arizona/New Mexico.

Anyone with questions can ask me here in the forums or email me personally.

Best season to hike? December/January: Least tourists, winters are nice below the rims, permits easiest to get, even standby permits.

9:37 a.m. on January 10, 2013 (EST)
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I did a 5 night trip here going on about 10 years ago. I think we may have had a pump but no tablets. There is water to be gotten at BA Lodge. We did the same trip you are doing. Plan on some sore toes after the walk down. Some people even suggest a little padding at the toe of your boot. It was very interesting doing a reverse hike where you start by descending. Also be sure to get to the lodge for the daily delivery of cold brew, it doesn't stay cold long! This was an amazing trip so enjoy. I don't think crampons will be necessary but you should keep an eye on conditions as the trip draws near. I have been to the canyon twice, one time it was 120 at the rim! If you have the time and room in the budget a steak at the El Tovar tastes great after you get back up! As far as side trips I have been to Zion for some day hiking as well but in spring it seems you will want to take precautions to avoid flash floods and swollen creek beds?

Happy Trails!

12:03 p.m. on January 10, 2013 (EST)
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For hiking the canyon I always wore boots that were at least 1 size bigger so my toes and heels in either ascent or descent didn't get pinched. If youneed crampons they sell cheap but decent ones at the general store called Instep Crampons that go between the heel and ffront of the boots and strap/buckle over the top of the boot. They are light and long lasting. Look for them in the backpacking section of the store.

A cheaper yet just as good meal can be eaten at the Bright Angel Lodge or a cafeteria style meal at the Maswik with many selections of Good Eat's.

8:33 a.m. on January 12, 2013 (EST)
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Thanks for all the info.  

One question regarding the crampons, as I'm not very familiar with them.  

Are they one size fits all?  My daughter has very small feet, so I'm concerned that they'll fit if we need them.

12:45 p.m. on January 12, 2013 (EST)
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Yes the crampons are basically one size fits all. They are about 2x2 inches square with the corners folded down as points.  Last time I bought a pair at the GC store they were $10. They worked just fine. Most of the ice from compacted snow on the higher portions of the trails only extends usually down about a 1/2 mile into the canyon. Once you get about 1000 feet or less down inside the canyon there will be no snow. Just the fine powdery dust and sand or the trail. The Bright Angel and South Kaibab trails are used by the mules so are more eroded down, the rest of the trails are just sandy. The beginning of the Hermits Rest Trail is built from sandstone block.



Instep-crampons.jpg

1:07 p.m. on January 12, 2013 (EST)
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Crampons are expensive and for a use that is over kill for the Canyon -- and the are sized to fit boots.  They are normally paired with an ice ax to reduce the thrill of an adventure.

Instep 'Crampons' or Micro-spikes are considerably cheaper and might not come in your daughter's size.  The consideration is if they are needed to stay up right on the trail, do you want to go.  The Ranger, conservative by nature and law, would probably discourage at least taking your daughter.  Ask them about the advisability of something to wear to keep you from performing  like an Irish River Dance troop.

Micro-spikes and other similar gadgets are designed for walking across a sidewalk and icy streets that are not inclined and don't have a risk of more injury than just taking a whack on your kiester on the ice.  They don't take very much lateral force which you might get on an inclined trail.

Look at Amazon.com search for instep crampon or icecleat. These are cheaper and easier to accept the price for a one time use.

Both the Bright Angel and Kaibab trails are wide, well beaten down and I'm guessing the top will be cool and no ice in sight.

2:13 p.m. on January 12, 2013 (EST)
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Well yes Easter is pretty late in the year for snow and ice. By then the winter weather will have moved on. Its generally nice even in mid Dec/Jan when I used to hike the canyon.

Here's a current image from the Grand Canyon webcam, www.nps.gov/grca/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm

No snow is sight, tho it doesn't show much of the South Rim. The North Rim is generally closed after Nov 1st because of the snow fall there. Its 1000 feet higher.

From the weblink above:

Call 928-638-7496 for current park road condition information.
http://www.youtube.com/grandcanyonnps
Visit our YouTube page to watch videos about trip planning, hiking, river running, and the unique natural and cultural resources of Grand Canyon National Park



grca.jpg

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