Arizona - Grand Canyon & Page

4:10 a.m. on June 24, 2009 (EDT)
22 reviewer rep
29 forum posts

I spent about 10 days in Arizona, visiting places such as the Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon and Lake Powell in Page.

I had hiked the Grand Canyon (just ended up going to Bright Angel Campground and back, but spent a significant time on the South Rim), visited Monument Valley, used Flagstaff as a launching pad and place to come back to as home away from home, and spent time in Page, both at Lake Powell and at the boulder site in the hiking area near Glen Canyon Dam.

May 29 - Departed via Greyhound Bus to Flagstaff, Arizona.
May 30 - Arrived in Flagstaff, AZ. There spent the night for $20 at the hostel Motel DeBeau, located 2 streets away from the Amtrak Train Station & Flagstaff Information Center, and a 12-14 minute walk from the Greyhound Bus Station. The hostel had friendly staff, was very accomodating (free breakfast and free bread all day long when available). They have laundry facilities (around $1.00 from what I remember to use the washing machine, $0.75 to use the drier [I think] and $0.50 for a whole scoop of laundry detergent). They have books and guides available on the Grand Canyon and other Arizona areas of interest in the entrance lounge library. Music plays from morning 'till midnight and it's a young, college-age atmosphere. They have a pool table in a back lounge area where music plays throughout the day. Bars and restaurants are literally across the road, and Route 66 & what might be considered downtown is 2-3 streets away. When you check in, you get two keys - one for your room and one to get into the main building 24 hours a day, where the facilities include a kitchen area (with two separate double-sinks, two microwaves, a toaster, a stove, a kettle, liquid dish soap, wash cloths and some free food), the pool room, the laundry room, a main dining room, and the motel entrance lounge. The Flagstaff Express and Grand Canyon Tour shuttle bus vans depart from the Amtrak Train Station, a 1-2 minute walk from the motel. Many of the guests are either on their way to or back from the Grand Canyon, so finding contacts and people with similar interests is a given.
May 31 - Visited a hikers store called "Peace Surplus" located on Route 66 across from the train station before catching the Flagstaff Express shuttle bus ($26 booked online) to Grand Canyon's South Rim. The staff at Peace Surplus helped me with my backpack's fit (being a newbie) and shoes. I also bought a compass from them. They have just about every kind of camping and hiking gear you could want, and if you can't find what you need/want there, there are plenty of other backpacking/camping stores in town, at least 3 of which are located within a 5 minute walk from them. Spent the night on the South Rim at Camp Mather for $6 (price available to hikers only, i.e. those WITHOUT vehicles).
June 1 - Woke up early and hiked up to the lookout point by El Tovar Hotel - watched the sunrise and took some pictures. Visited the Rangers Station to obtain a backcountry permit. Visited the General Store, located about a 10-minute walk from Mather Campground. They have everything from food, to clothes to camping/hiking equipment. And not the shabby stuff either - they have Primus, MSR, Sea-to-Summit and Smartwool - although their prices aren't exactly bargain basement - everything has to be trucked in, and it's a remote area so some of the prices are higher than usual. But the whole store's basically like a small Wal-mart or HEB - they have pretty much anything that you might want or need, from food to alcohol, to basic tools and gear. I found myself visiting this store many times during my stay at the South Rim.
June 2 - Began the long but beautiful hike down the S. Kaibab trail towards the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Reaching the "T" overlooking the river, found some brilliant person had removed the sign. It was dark by this time. I was on my own and didn't know whether to go right or left. Took the way visible to me and crossed Colorado River via the old black suspension bridge, passing through lonely carved rock tunnels and finally arriving in Bright Angel Campground around 10:10PM. It was close to a full moon and temperatures were cooler than usual - couldn't have asked for better conditions.
June 3 - Had a good breakfast, packed up my gear and left Bright Angel Campground at around 11:00AM. Taking the Silver Suspension Bridge this time, I crossed back over the Colorado River and headed up the famous Bright Angel Trail towards the South Rim again. Took quite a few pictures. My thermometer read around 107ºF in the sun around 1:00PM, but luckily I had brought my Chrome Dome umbrella which made it feel like 80ºF when the wind blew. Spent about 5 hours at Indian Campground. Made it back to the South Rim around 11:10PM. Got a ride to Camp Mather. Met a Korean couple a few campsites away from where I was pitched. The husband constrained me to eat with them. Good old Korean hospitality! They offered me free steak, rum and beer. Finally was able to pull away from them around 12:30PM (the man was pretty drunk, really liked me and would not let me leave!). Went to sleep and didn't come out of my tent until at least 11:00AM. I was quite sore from the hike. I had made the mistake of listening to everybody's advice about taking 4 liters + of water. I took 5 + liters on my way down. There was water available at various stops the whole way down. I took way too much, as well as too much gear and too much food. My water weight alone I estimate at 12+ lbs. My pack probably weighed around 50lbs. When I got to the site to pitch my tent I found that most people just had full-enclosure bivy bags. And I had my 2-man tent, full-length mattress, full length sleeping bag as well as extra food and clothes - way too much stuff, but it was a learning experience.

June 4 - Took the free bus from the Tourist Information Center to visit the small town of Tusyon (NOT Tucson!), located about 3 miles South of the Rim. There I found a steak restaurant where I ate a full plate of BBQ ribs, and shortly thereafter headed over to the IMAX theatre where I watched a screening of the famous Grand Canyon for about $14. Returned to the South Rim for free taking one of the same buses I had come in on using the hand stamp I had received from the bus driver (make sure you ask for one because they don't always offer). Visited Yavapai point later on which overlooks the South Kaibab Trail which I had hiked down 2 days earlier. Took an evening walk in and around Mather campground. Lots of RV campers, families and children in Mather - not many true hikers that I could see. The clouds passed slowly by amidst the moonlit sky. Older folks played games in their campers as children got ready for bed. Small tents glowed from modern lighting like fireflies in the dark. It was a warm, cozy scene. My heart glowed as I passed through it.
June 5 - Visited Tusyon again. Booked a shuttle bus (van) back to Flagstaff online at an Internet cafè (only $20 booked online for the return trip) there. Tusyon is also home of another campground, but is mostly for RV from what I could tell. Was able to visit Yavapai point again later on, and see some of the Kaibab trail I had hiked down. Took some pictures.
June 6 - Spent the night in Flagstaff at Motel DeBeau again. Reserved a rental car for the following day to cruise around with.
June 7 - Picked up rental car - got a compact PT Cruiser! Whew-hew! $99 for 3 days/3nights with my Sam's Club Membership...not bad. Headed north, first to Cameron. Picked up 3 day/3night Navajo backcountry permit. Arrived in Monument Valley later that evening. Was refused backcountry camping permission despite the official Navajo permit I had picked up in Cameron. Headed over to Camp Goulding to sleep for the night. Did some bouldering and took some pictures. Met up with some people there. We talked until dark. Went to bed early. Woke up at around 2:30AM. The night was lit by a full moon partially veiled by silky clouds, rock walls surrounding me on all sides. I strapped my headlamp on and went free climbing. I made it back into bed around 5:00AM.
June 8 - Packed up early and headed out before the sun illuminated the roads. Instead of going back to Flagstaff immediately, I decided to head for Page - home of Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam. Before reaching the lake, I decided to take a hiking trail and found some large boulder/rocks to scale. This is an area probably a 1/4 mile from the Glen Canyon Dam Bridge. It is clearly marked with signs indicating it is a hiking area. It is free, and I highly recommend it if you're into bouldering. Officially the boulders are off the path on the way to what is known as the "Hanging Gardens", which I am told are a bit of a dissapointment. But I never made it that far. I didn't need to. The boulders sufficed for me. I was able to spend a lot of time alone up there. Judging from the lack of trash (I only remember seeing a couple of shards of broken glass the whole time I was up there) I'd say the top doesn't get frequented much. From the top you can see both Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam. It's quite an awesome view. I took some pictures while I was up there. I didn't want to leave but legally I wasn't allowed to camp out there ("No Camping"), so I ended up paying my money and camping out down at Lake Powell, on the beach at the Lone Rock campsite ($26 for one night), on the Utah side of the state border. Lone Rock is located approximately 8 miles from the hikers site on the other side of the Glen Canyon Dam.
June 9 - Had a good meal at the "Dam Bar and Grill" in Page. Returned to the boulder site in the hiking area after lunch and spent a good portion of the remaining day there. I started heading back for Flagstaff probably around 5:45PM, and began the lonely 2-3 hour drive through the desert, passing various Navajo Indian sales kiosks along the way. I ate at a native American Indian-run diner on the way back. I would not recommend it nor any of the Native American Indian-run facilities in that Arizona/Utah area - I found the servers (all women [not that that's a problem - but where were all the men?]) to be officious, unfriendly, and unaccomodating. I arrived back at Motel DeBeau in Flagstaff and there spent the night again.
June 10 - Returned the car. Walked the city. Got some film developed. Watched a movie. Spent time downtown, in the city and in the park. Departed around 9:00PM on the Greyhound. Time to go back to Texas!


Flagstaff rocks as a launching pad for visiting the Grand Canyon. Interesting town - friendly people. Many places to find high quality backpacking gear and get good food before you go.

Don't go to the Monument Valley area in Southern Utah unless you're willing to pay money for EVERYTHING, and put up with some pretty unaccomodating, inflexible people. Otherwise, the rocks are pretty cool - good climbing - and the views not bad at all.

Page rocks! Small township with stores & restaurants located above (but SouthWest? of) Lake Powell, which provides places to swim, boat, RV and campout. Glen Canyon Dam, located west of the lake is worth a look. The desert hiking area 1/4 mile south of there promises some great bouldering opportunities and the chance to getaway from civilized life for a while without much effort.

6:42 a.m. on June 24, 2009 (EDT)
22 reviewer rep
29 forum posts
Arizona - Grand Canyon & Page Trip Gear & Clothing Packlist

This list is not exhaustive, but covers most of what I took with me on the trip. There are books and various other items I brought with me, necessitating another bag. I had a shoebox and a cheap Lowe's bag I also brought with me. They contained whatever my pack could not. When hiking the Grand Canyon, I was able to keep the Lowe's bag and shoebox with extraneous items in a storage facility. At other times, I was able to keep the Lowe's bag in either my motel room or rental car. But the extra bag was a must for me. The trip would not have gone far so smooth without some kind of bag in addition to my 88L pack. I have a motto - "It is better to be overprepared than ill-equipped." Next time I would probably take less gear, less clothing, less food, and a cooler looking extra bag.

Shoes - Keen Voyageur Hiking Shoes - 2.1 lbs (before Superfeet Inserts)

MAIN PACK - Mountainsmith Circuit 3.0 - 5.4 lbs on it's own

LOWEST ZIPPERED COMPARTMENT of PACK Big Agnes Tent Bag - 17L x 7.5W (Tent Bag) Total Weight - 4.7 lbs
Big Agnes Seedhouse SL Tent (freestanding) with Gear Loft (packed in tent) bound with 2, 5/8" REI Compression Straps
Poles, X-Stakes (in Stake Bag), Cords & Splint Repair Pipe and Extra Fly Cord in Pole Bag
Footprint in Footprint Bag - .5 lbs
Plastic Mallet/Tent Peg Remover - .5 lbs
Black Mesh Stuff Sack - Total weight - 1.4 lbs
Teva Omnium Sandals
REI Brown Paper Checkout Bag (Whisk and Pan Bag)
Coleman Dustpan and Whisk - 6 x 6.5 x 7.5" - .2 lbs
Thermarest Prolite 3 Stuff Sack Regular - 13.5L X 5.5W (16.5 in circumferance) Total Weight - 1.4 lbs Thermarest Prolite 4 Large Sleeping Pad
Thermarest Repair Kit
Large Katmandu Inner Bag (For Outside Business) Total Weight - 1 lbs
2 Rolls Biodegradable Toilet Paper
1 Coghlans Backpackers Trowel
Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Stuff Sack Total Weight - .5 lbs
Sea to Summit Reactor Sleeping Bag Liner
Sun Shade x 2 (for ground cover)
Superfeet Shoe Inserts
Green Thermarest Stuff Sack
Dirty Laundry
Large Black Stuff Sack (for storing extra stuff outside of pack when not being used)

LEFT LOWER MESH POCKET (under Side Compartment 1)
Sea to Summit Inner Bag (Small)
Sea to Summit 100 L Pack Cover
Small Katmandu Bag
Luggage Lifting/Carry Strap (gives bus and shuttle baggage handlers a place to grab without damaging the pack)
Bug Band in plastic container

RIGHT LOWER MESH POCKET (under Side Compartment 2)
Bottom of Leki Trekking Poles
Bottom of TrailMaster Bowie Knife - 1.2 lbs Bottom of Go-lite Chrome Dome Umbrella
Bottom of Seychelle Pump 'n Pure II Water Filter Pump with Sea to Summit Mosquito Head Net Stuff Bag as Cover
Bug Band in plastic container (when not in use)

SIDE COMPARTMENT 1 Sea to Summit Delta Bowl
Primus Mesh Bag (Cooking & Eating) Total Weight - 1.8 lbs
Primus 1Liter Pot & 1Cup Frying Pan/Lid
Kitchen Millenium Partial Mesh Microfibre Cleaning Cloth (for Inner Pot Protection from Contents During Travel)
Primus Express Stove and Mini-Mesh Bag fitted with
Kathmandu Mini Towel or MSR Nano Lite Packtowl (for drying dishes with) and
Brunton Mi-Titanium Folding Spork into
Primus Express Heat Shield (wrapped Plastic Bag)
Jetboil JetFuel 100g Canister fitted with base facing Heat Shield and lid facing side of pot
Silicone Spatula Head rated to 500ºF fitted in next to Canister
Biodegradable Camp Soap (2 oz bottle) set on top of the rest
Kitchen Millenium Microfibre partial mesh cloth folds over top assuring no items in the pot are actually touching it (thus protecting the pot) Sea to Summit 2.6 Gallon Kitchen Sink
2 Extra Jetboil JetFuel 100g Canisters

SIDE COMPARTMENT 2 Microfibre Towel
Green Quantas Overnight Bag (Toiletries Bag) Total Weight - 1.9 lbs
Crest Dental Floss Mini Packs x 3 (approximately 18 in. floss per container)
Q-Tips in a Ziplock Bag
Earplugs - 26 decibel dampening
Feather Weight Mirror
Sea to Summit Soap Leafs (50) - .5 oz pack x 3
Toothbrush & Full Toothbrush Length UV Toothbrush head sanitizing container w/2AAA batteries
Organic Toothpaste - 2 oz
Natural Lip Balm - .5 oz
Natural Deodorant - 2.5 oz
Moisturizer - .5 oz
Gillette Mach 3 Shaver in Ziplock Bag
4 Extra March 3 Blades (in Gillette March 3 Plastic Case)
Insect Repellant - Kiss My Face Swy Flotter 4 oz
Sunblock - Badger 2.9 oz
Orange Safety-Pin Container (with 14+ large safety-pins)
Sea to Summit 1.5 Gallon Shower
Seychelle Pump N Pure Water Pump Nozzle
MSR Dromedary Flip Top (when hydration kit is being used)

MAIN COMPARTMENT Black Stuff Sack - 14L x 8W (Sleeping Bag) Total Weight - 4 pounds
NorthFace Green/Black Sleeping Bag - 3 lbs
Sierra Designs Double Sleep E-Z Pillow with Stuff Sack .8 lbs
Microfibre Cleaning Cloth (prevents pillow from moving/sliding and acts as a drool guard when sleeping on stomach) in another Sierra Designs E-Z Pillow Stuff Sack
Primus Heat Pad (used to hold everything inside bag)
Sea to Summit Inner Bag (Medium) Total Weight - .4 lbs
1 Full-Sized Sea to Summit Microfibre Bath/Body Towel
Med Kit Total Weight - 2.6 lbs
Band Aids
Non-Stick Pads
Res-Q Ointment - .025 oz canister in Ziplock Bag
Cayenne Pepper Powder in Ziplock Bag (anti-bleeding)
Anti-Infection Formula (clean wound first then apply to kill infection and create protective barrier - add band aid/tape to further protect area) - .5oz dropper bottle
White Flower Oil (reduces allergies, helps eliminate headaches and reduce motion sickness [topical application only]) - .1oz
StingEze Insect Bite Relief - .5oz dropper bottle
Primal Force (helps increase circulation and reduce pain [topical application only]) - 1oz dropper bottle
Miracle II Neutralizer Liquid (eye-wash, wound-cleaner, PH balancer) - 2oz dropper bottle
Colloidal Silver 500PPM (anti-infection) - 1 ounce dropper bottle
SuperTonic (all-purpose tonic - anti-bacterial/fungal/paracitical/viral) - 4oz bottle (no dropper)
Echinacea Plus (immune enhancing) - 2oz dropper bottle
Flexible Tape in Ziplock Bag (keeps it clean for wound dressing)
Intestinal Formula #1 Pills (makes you go, stops colonic bleeding, helps eliminate parasites) in Ziplock Bag
Intestinal Formula #2 Pills (anti-diaherea) in Ziplock Bag
Pure Baking Soda in Ziplock Bag
Self-Adhering Ace Bandage
Sliver Gripper Tweezers in plastic case with screw on top
Snake Bite Kit
Anti-Cramp Pills in Ziplock
Vida Bag (Clothes Bag) - Total Weight - 8.8 lbs
Smartwool Hiking Liner Socks - 2 Pairs
Fox River X Liner Socks - 1 Pair
Smartwool PhD Hiking Socks - 2 Pairs
Underwear - Life Euro x 4
Swim/Sleep Shorts - Quicksilver Nylon (Black) Shorts (These can be alternatively packed in the lumbar pack with the jacket for better weight distribution)
Pants - Redington Shorts/Pants x 2
Waterproof Pants - High Sierra (Black) Waterproof Insulated Pants (now packed separately in main compartment)
Belt - 4' long 1.5" wide Custom Cut Seatbelt strap with 1.5" Plastic Buckle (Belt is thin and super light)
T-shirt - Green Nic Morris (for sleeping in)
Fleece Jacket - XSR Black Thermal Long Sleeve (Warmth for sleeping in, etc.)
Food Bag (Sea to Summit Dry Roll Bag for both food and trash storage) - Total Weight - 8.6 lbs
Buffalo Jerky 14 oz
Enertia Dehydrated Meals & Foods
6 Cliff Bars
Nido Dehydrated Milk
Granola Bars
Organic Food Bars
Fish Pouches
Dried Fruit in Resealing Bag
MSR 4 Liter Dromedary Bag & Hydration Kit - approx. 9 lbs water filled


Self-Defense Pepper Spray
Elph Jr. Advantix Camera - .4 lbs
Extra Film
SPOT Satellite Tracking Device
LED Lenser H7 3xAAA Headlamp
Extra AAA Batteries (4)
SPOT, Mountainsmith Pack, and Seychelle Water Filtration System Information
Gerber Splice Tool
Dorcy 1xAAA LED Key Ring Flashlight
Sunbeam Thermometer (120ºF to -30ºF Range)
Cell Phone and Charger (charger stored in tent loft's storage bag to protect inside of pack from prongs)
Leather Wallet

OUTSIDE POCKET (found on outside of main outside compartment)
Beanie - Smartwool Skull Cap (for warmth and for wearing at night)
Qantas Eyemask (for sleeping during daylight hours)
Extra Compression Straps
Luggage Tag (with identifying information)
MSR Packtowel Nano
Extra Trash Bag Liners
Jacket - Nordic Track Black Jacket (Water-Resistant, Fleece Lined Jacket with Unrolling Hoodie Collar [for Rain & Cold]) - 2.6 lbs
Shorts - Quicksilver Nylon/Cotton (Tan Colored) Shorts
Hat - North Face with Vecro Attachable Sun Shade Neck Flap
Maps and Directions

Water Filtration Water Bottle - Seychelle 30 oz Bottoms-Up (held in using elastic compression straps found on outside pocket as well as bottle's built in attachment clip)
Water Bottle - Nalgene 14 oz (attached using medium sized biner which in turn is attached to one of the ice-axe loops)
Socks or Towels via Large Safety Pins When On-the-Go Drying was Necessary
Biner-Compass attached directly to the pack's waist-belt on the left front side
Timex GripClip Watch attached directly to the pack's waist-belt on the right front side
Anti-Rodent Bag - Simple Outdoors Solutions Steel Mesh attached using sleeping bag compartment compression straps

Total Load Weight - approx. 69 lbs

10:00 a.m. on June 24, 2009 (EDT)
244 reviewer rep
5,245 forum posts

My first trip into the Grand Canyon was in the fall of 1983 in October. I was in the canyon 3 weeks and besides food/water only carried 11 pounds of camp gear. I wore cut-off shorts, a Tshirt, had a change of socks, I had my old North Face pack,a ensolite pad and a military poncho liner for a sleeping bag.

May 27, 2018
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