Grand Canyon (a trip of highs and lows)

9:56 p.m. on September 2, 2011 (EDT)
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Over a year ago my friend Robert revealed his desire to backpack the Grand Canyon rim to rim. He’s not a backpacker but has done some day hiking. He had been fishing for someone with a bit more experience to accompany him. I took the bait. :)

We tried to go last spring but were rejected for permits four or five times (we can’t go hang out hoping for a fill-in spot when traveling that far). After securing permits for late August we decided to go for it despite the heat.

In months previous I had outfitted R with my spare gear, coached a bit on exercise, and took him on a test hike in the Smokies as preparation.

The plan summary: R and family would pick me up at the Flagstaff airport (they were driving from Knoxville,TN-1800 miles –ouch) and drive to the North Rim. They would stay at the North Rim Lodge (dropping me at the North Rim Camp Ground (car/RV type place) to tent camp for the night. R would shuttle from the lodge and I would hike to the North Kaibab trailhead the next morning. His wife (very gracious woman) would drive around to the South Rim to pick us up after hiking the corridor trails for three days and nights. I would spend one night on the South Rim before flying back.

 

 

 

 

 


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The trip actually started the night before my flight when I (badly) crafted a zucchini man to amuse my wife as to soften the five day abandonment….lol, hmm... Maybe bad-crafts are endearing like an ugly dog?

 

 

 

 


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It was a successful airport rendezvous. As we drove by the Painted Desert I was amazed at the vivid beauty of this place. Even viewed through the mini-van window it was stunning to behold. We stopped near Lee’s Ferry on the way to let their kids unwind for a few minutes.

 

 

 

 


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This is somewhere near the “humble” beginnings of the GC I’m told. The Colorado is green here.

 

 

 

 


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It was nearly dark by the time they dropped me at the campground; I hurriedly pitched my tent on the red sand tent pad and hustled over to the rim for a little canyon gazing before the light failed.

 

 

 

 


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I didn't sleep much for various reasons (mostly excitement) and got up on Eastern Time in the dark and started the one mile hike to the trail head. Unbelievably it was quite cold when I stopped moving and I had to wrap up in my tech blanket to try and stay warm. That didn't work so I took a short side hike up the Ken Patrick trail by headlamp.

 

 

 

 


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Robert arrived and we were ready to begin. I'm 5'7 and he's 6'7 (yeah yeah, I know we look like Mutt and Jeff with backpacks). Unbelievable that my old Kelty Trekker fits him huh? 

 

 

 

 


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The hike begins about 8200 feet in conifer forest.

 

 

 

 


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Spectacular views are around every switchback!

 

 

 

 


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Here I was at the Coconino overlook.

 

 

 

 

 


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"New to me" flora abounded.

 

 

 

 


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A neat rock throne near the first water source just north of the Supai tunnel.

 

 

 

 


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And this is the Supai tunnel.

 

 

 

 


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Wow...the trail ahead is serious! Notice it winding down the canyon?

Soon after this was the first sign of trouble. My friend began slowing down and started saying "hang on, hold up" even though we were already going slowly. Soon he was stopping every 20 yards to gather himself and I started mentally calculating our chances of making Cottonwood campground in a reasonable timeframe. The Park Service recommends not hiking between the hours of 10AM and 4PM this time of year but our pace made that unavoidable. When we did finally get spotlighted by the sun, oh my Lord! I pulled out the umbrella to shade myself and it helped a great deal (I was unable to obtain the GoLite model Ed (whomeworry) suggested in time so I used a regular one). The constant stopping created a sizzling situation for us both.

 

 

 

 


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We eventually reached this bridge a ways down the route.

 

 

 

 


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Here is a North bound hiker about to lose his shady spot

 

 

 

 


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R still had his wits about him enough to take this pic of me, but that would soon change. We had slowed down to the point where I had to ask the dreaded question: "dude, can you continue?” Even though I backpack a lot and have some experience, I’m not a first responder or have any medical training at all. We were both thinking "what did I get myself into?" but for different reasons. I began running scenarios in my mind...should we go forward hoping he recovers, turn back now before losing anymore elevation, or maybe find a spot for an emergency camp (the latter not likely on these cliff-sides trails). He carefully considered and thought he could push on so I agreed but with much internal doubt. Ah, when to question a friend if not now? Men don’t want to give up generally and are willing to let each other make bad choices with twisted pride sometimes.(live and learn I guess….)

We made it as far as the junction with Roaring Springs spur trail (having gone about 4.6 miles and lost several thousand feet in elevation), when we stopped for a pivotal rest. I don't remember what I asked him but I received an unintelligible response and became immediately alarmed. I made him take his sun glasses off and saw that his eyes were dilated and very glassy. He kept lurching over and putting his head in hands. I’ve read a bit about hyponatremia but the symptoms are so vague for all such things and really what do I know? I was pretty freaked out needless to say. Realizing he was not able to make the decision, I decided getting him out of the canyon the quickest way possible would be the safest thing to do; even though retracing our route meant climbing back up that steep trail, it was only 4.6 miles back and going forward meant 20+ more miles and dealing with the real heat of the inner canyon. So we rested for an hour at that spot before going on.

We wanted to get word out to R’s wife to not leave the North Rim if we could. Eventually a super kind hearted hiker passed by on his way out and agreed to try and find R’s wife at the lodge and tell her not to leave. None of us had brought a pen or pencil so I scratched her cell phone number into a business card with my pocket knife. Well, the pack weight was killing R so I went ahead and took it from him (he was so wobbly I was afraid he would fall off the trail). My pack was about 40lbs and his was around 30, so like Tipi Walter I started humping nearly half my body weight up the cliff. I had tried strapping his pack to the back of mine but it made me too off balance. So I wound up carrying it in front of me vertically cradled (man the biceps were burning). After a couple of miles some more kind hikers saw the situation and volunteered to help carry some of his stuff out for me and I gratefully accepted. I prayed silently the whole way “please don’t let him stoke-out on me, Lord”. I guess I could have done something different but I made the best decision I could at the time and we slowly went back up the canyon. At every stop I made him drink some electrolyte water mix and eat salty trail-mix (to the point he almost vomited but I didn’t know what else to do) It took some 8 hours to get back to the trail head at which point we still needed a ride to the lodge. Having no cell signal there I left R with the packs, grabbed a bottle of water, the map, and a headlamp and took off towards the lodge on the Bridle trail. When I got signal his wife never answered so when I got to the Park road I successfully thumbed a ride and we eventually got him and the gear back to the lodge and his family.

He thankfully had regained his lucidity after a couple hours of rest and after some thoughtful consideration, in the most tactful way, I asked them if they minded if I went back and finished the hike. R was so grateful I think he would have agreed to any proposal at that point. But his family was there on vacation and as long as he recovered, they planned to stay at the South Rim in a lodge anyway. So after a few hours sleep, I started the whole thing over solo. (After all I was there, my gear was there and the canyon was there, permits were in hand etc…)


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So in the wee hours of hiking day 2, I’m off down the North Kaibabtrail (again) by headlamp. Hey I get the special of privilege of hiking up both rims in the same trip!

 

 

 

 


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This sign was a far as we made it on the trail the day before.

 

 

 

 


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Still a little dark, but here is some prickly pear in front of a fall from Bright Angel creek.

 

 

 

 


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Another fall just north of the Ranger residence on N Kaibab.

 

 

 

 


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A monolith…this place is far too grand for my little point and shoot camera but I tried..

 

 

 

 


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I had finally reached the more level trail.

 

 

 

 


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I was still in shade but the sun was coming.

 

 

 

 


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A lovely spot at Cottonwood Camp. Too bad I needed to bypass, Cottonwood was very nice.

 

 

 

 


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This was a skinny mule deer. I hope he wasn’t starving because he ate a plastic bag; I heard that happens a lot around here. I was delighted to see the way those things bounce! They go almost straight up in the air!

 

 

 

 


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Thanks for tip on Ribbon falls, Gary Palmer. It was awesome and refreshing!

 

 

 

 


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A beautiful trail gently curved out before me.

 

 

 

 


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I was surprised by all these reedy areas.

 

 

 

 


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I was about to enter the “box”. This was the section that gave me the greatest anxiety; I had been told to not traverse it in direct sun if possible because the Vishnu Schist caused it to get so hot and there usually little breeze to help. I luckily hit early enough to avoid any problems but the air was indeed noticeably stagnant through there.

 

 

 

 


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Reaching this junction so early, I decided to go up Clear Creek a ways. I soon turned back however as I found myself in direct sun and wanted no part of that down here.

 

 

 

 


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Approaching Phantom Ranch I saw this huge woodpecker. Be afraid woody.

 

 

 

 


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This was some of the primitive cabins at Phantom Ranch. We were unable to get reservations for these; I was heading to Bright Angel Campground just beyond.

 

 

 

 


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I arrived at the camp about 10:00 AM local time and it was already over 100 degrees. It got much hotter as the afternoon wore on.

 

 

 

 


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This was my view of Bright Angel creek from my campsite. This creek was the only relief from the debilitating heat.

 

 

 

 


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Here was my chosen camp site including a picnic table and ammo cans for food storage. I’m not use to such luxury…lol.

It was so crazy hot that I joined the other few campers in hanging out in the creek. Folks had made little circles of rock kind of forming primitive Jacuzzis in the creek and we all sat around in the water until we were shriveled up prunes, but who cares when it’s 108 degrees (the shade high I was told by a ranger)? After that , I decided to explore despite the heat (I can only sit around so long)

 

 

 

 


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Area views, the last being the Silver Bridge across the Colorado River

 

 

 

 


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Late afternoon brought monsoon winds and some unexpected happenings. Pictured is my Big Agnes tent slightly deformed from strong winds. At first I was excited to see some cloud cover. I assumed it would block the sun thereby making things cooler. I was wrong. A ranger explained that the cloud cover effectively trapped the hot air in the inner canyon and the winds blew it back on us. It was like getting blown on by a hair dryer when you were already hot. How freaky that the wind made it hotter! The other thing that happened was that the silt from the ground was blown right through the inner mesh of my tent body and the interior was left covered in about a millimeter of fine silt. What a mess.

I attended a Ranger program on condors and scorpions after which was a scorpion hunt. Apparently everyone but me knew that scorpions shone like a 70ies poster in black light. Pretty cool stuff. I was too beat to stay up and drink beer with everyone else so I sacked out, maintaining my Eastern Time Zone ways. It was a little hard to sleep in 90 degree heat but I do have some experience with that back east. Oh yeah, I was visited by a “ringtail” and it was strange creature indeed, looked like part cat part raccoon!

 

 

 

 


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The next morning I got up very early and hiked up to Indian Gardens(mostly by headlamp). Those cliff side trails (especially the Devils Corkscrew) were so cool!

 

 

 


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Hey this looks like my friend! Just kiddin’ man; I can joke about it now that I know he’s ok.

 

 

 

 


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Early morning and it was only 70 degrees up there at 3700 feet. Nice.

 

 

 

 


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Indian Gardens was beautiful and I made it a lazy day there. The campsites not only had picnic tables, ammo cans, and water, but they also had little shelter roofs! In fact I decided to forego the tent altogether and put my therm-a-rest on the table top to sleep.

The down side to Indian Gardens was the extreme squirrel population. Those little disease carrying rodents became so annoying and aggressive that I was shooing them away after a little while. They would jump in your lap if you let them.

 

 

 

 


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I was still shaded pretty well so I decided to explore and hiked out the Tonto trail east for a while. (bottom looking back across to Tonto west trail)

 

 

 

 


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I went off trail about .75 miles to explore some neat looking rock areas, (these pics on the way)

 

 

 

 


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The middle picture is a rock stack I climbed. The bottom is me on top of the stack.

 

 

 

 


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On the way (up Bright Angel from Tonto east) back to camp.

 

 

 

 


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Ravens were thick here…

 

 

 

 

 


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Not a flattering pic of Ranger Emily (sorry Emily) but she gave an outstanding presentation on rattlesnakes to the few campers (only six total for the night).

After the presentation I was pretty pumped to see one of those pink snakes so a few of us campers decided to head out to Plateau Point (the route to which is known for rattlesnakes per Ranger Emily) when it got a little cooler.

 

 

 

 


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Hiking out to Plateau Point.

 

 

 

 


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Looking down at the Colorado from the point.

 

 

 

 


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I horrified some of the other campers by clambering out on those rocks but one was still kind enough to snap a few pics for me.

 

 

 

 


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Sun setting from the point; we all peeled off eventually and headed back to camp after a relaxing evening on the point. Good times had by all...

The next morning I got up early again or my climb up the Bright Angel trail to the South Rim.

 

 

 

 


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Sunrise from the Bright Angel trail a mile below the South Rim trail and my last decent picture while hiking.

I hooked up with my friends and spent the day touring the area (after showering in their hotel room, ,whew) by car. What an awesome place! We had a great dinner at the Arizona Room, walked the South Rim “boardwalk” until dark and my friend was still a little puny but doing much better by then.

 

 

 

 

 


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I’m a glutton so I decided to do some running along the rim the next morning (after sharing my friends’ hotel room) before heading to the Airport, and along my route I passed this Elk munching on the grass. What a beast!

 

 

 

 


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Sunrise somewhere on the South Rim.

The variation of this landscape was just incredible. My puny camera doesn’t begin to do it justice. Pictures just seem such a futile attempt at capturing the true Grandness of that land. To really “get” this you just have to go hike it and smell it and feel it for yourself!

What an amazing place and what a trip!

10:28 p.m. on September 2, 2011 (EDT)
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Awesome trip report. Sorry your buddy didn't get the chance to do it with ya but you definitely did the right thing getting him out of you when ya did. That had the potential to be a bad situation.

That deer made me sad in a way. Definitely famished. 

Scorpions look really neat when ya hit them with the UV light.

Thanks alot for posting this. Very nice pics. 

Out of curiousity what is the distance for that trip?

11:20 p.m. on September 2, 2011 (EDT)
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 Thanks Rick...the route I hiked would have been about 24.something miles point to point (from the camp ground and down one side over the Colorado and up the other). My backtracking and side trips out the Ken Patrick, Clear Creek , Tonto, and Plateau Point trails amounted to about 40 miles of hiking (and I did about a 5 mile trail run on the South rim). So it was pretty physical trip in the heat...

11:27 p.m. on September 2, 2011 (EDT)
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On a side note I've never climbed a cairn (stacked rocks) before lol.

3:00 a.m. on September 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Patman, you are truly hard-core--out jogging after all that!  Your camera did a fine job.  I appreciate your trailsmanship in looking out for your buddy--he's got a taste of it now; he'll be back!  Big difference from your Slickrock/Kilmer trip of not so long ago, huh?! :)

8:10 a.m. on September 3, 2011 (EDT)
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 Rick, 

The pictures are deceiving with nothing to show the scale and my writing is unclear...I didn't climb the cairn, lol! I did climb the outcropping that was about 30 feet in diameter...

 

Bunion,

Yes this was unlike anything I've done before and was my first backpacking trip "west of the Mississippi" as they say.

12:15 p.m. on September 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Nice trail report!

The picture of the Colorado river between the canyon walls is called Marble Canyon. The river runs green mostly now because the water comes from the bottom of the Glen Canyon Dam at Lake Powell. It runs brown during heavy rainstorms and when the park service does annual high flows to simulate spring and fall runoffs to eat away sand bars that otherwise clog the canyon at the mouths of side canyons.

The red wildflowers are Indian Paintbrush (Wyoming state flower).

Indian Gardens used to have lots of huge Cottonwood trees like the one you pictured cut down. In 1996 a huge winter storm fell most of them and they built the little shelters at the campsights to make more shade as I.G. has lots of sunshine and little other shade. The Cottonwoods were planted in the late 1800s during the mining days. Indian Gardens was also a old Indian winter home before the coming of the whites.

The area along the N. Kaibab where you were surprised to see so many reeds is the area I mentioned with the canyon's Bank Beavers.

Did you see Phantom Canyon about halfway thru Box Canyon. It would have been on the opposite side.

I did my first  single day R2R in 1999 in 7 hours in the springtime with my old friend Maverick who did 106 R2Rs in one year at age 86. Thats more than 2 a week. He quit the day before Christmas. My longest R2R was over four days north to south during a hitchhike trip from Wyoming to Arizona in September 1986. I stayed at Cottonwood, BA Camp, Indian Gardens and out. 

I enjoyed your pictures as I have not been in the canyon since 2003, just at the North Rim in 2006.

Thanks,

Gary

12:58 p.m. on September 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Gary,

Thanks so much for the information; you've been very kind to share your knowledge and I really appreciate that because my experience was enhanced by it.

 

On Phantom Canyon: I honestly forgot to look for it. The only thing I can think of in the Box was a creek joining as a tributary to Bright Angel to my right as I hiked south. Was that it?

1:27 p.m. on September 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Nice TR Patman. Sorry to hear about your friends troubles, hope he has recovered okay. The heat and long term sun exposre can beat down even the best and well prepared.

Other than the obvious set backs it looks like ya had a good trip. Pretty amazing views huh? Now ya got me wanting to do a trip into the canyon.

I have to agree with Bunion. Down in,Double pack load out, return down into canyon for a solo then decide to go for a jog!?   You are a beast!

2:50 p.m. on September 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Patman asks: On Phantom Canyon: I honestly forgot to look for it. The only thing I can think of in the Box was a creek joining as a tributary to Bright Angel to my right as I hiked south. Was that it?

 

Yes that was it, in the box below the beaver/reed area there is only one side canyon that comes in. When I used to hike down in the lower GC Phantom, Ribbon and Wall Creek canyons were my favorite side canyons.

1:10 a.m. on September 7, 2011 (EDT)
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Great report Patman, I think I will have to add this to my bucket list!  But maybe not in August!  :)

Wolfman

6:51 a.m. on September 7, 2011 (EDT)
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Patman:

It is guys like you who prove little dudes have a big bite when it comes to trekking.  You’d be amazed at the number of top flight gonzo trekkers who are slight in stature.

As far as dealing with someone succumbing to the elements like your friend, you generally want to avoid feeding stuff like cereals and nuts (trail mix) as these items require water to create the digestive juices needed to process them, and this can exasperate the dehydration issue. In fact many will argue any salts, including those in electrolyte drinks, may also accelerate dehydration.  Simple sugars and water are the best items for that situation.  Now if your bud was suffering excessive fluid loss for more than a day, then salt may be considered to help him back on his feet, but only when accompanied by LOTS of fluids. 

Glad to hear the umbrella tip worked for you.

Ed

10:00 a.m. on September 7, 2011 (EDT)
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Patrick, you are a hoss.

You're friend was very lucky you were there to take action and get him out safe and alive.  

The trip look amazing. I've not been to the Grand Canyon, or done any hiking in locations like that. I have one friend who is both capable and likes more adventurous activities, and we've been planning to go do some canyoneering in AR, but haven't made it yet.

The heat you experienced makes me tired just thinking about it.

Thanks for sharing man!  

 

10:33 a.m. on September 7, 2011 (EDT)
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 Thanks for the tip Ed...this experience has helped me realize that I probably ought to pursue some "first responder" type training (at least CPR classes...) , since I'm out in the back country so much. A little knowledge can go a long way for sure…

G,

It was an amazing experience for a southern Appalachian type guy like me....so different from any other trips to date.

Hey aren't you supposed to be in the Tetons right now?

10:40 a.m. on September 7, 2011 (EDT)
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Patman,

In 1983 I hiked and climbed around that cliff behind you to the left above the greenery below. I found an arrowhead and some pot sherds near its base. Then I climbed to it crest and walked over to Plateau Point.

I also used to have a friend here in Flagstaff (JD Green) who have climbed to the tops of those high points behind you on the horizon.

10:58 a.m. on September 7, 2011 (EDT)
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Gary,

I was wondering if you would recognize that area....since I was off trail (left the Tonto trail) exploring. I kept an eye for out for artifacts but didn't see any myself.

11:37 a.m. on September 7, 2011 (EDT)
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On the way up above the 3 miles rest house between it and the 1.5 mile rest house at the top of the redwall you crossed a drainage. This was Pipe Creek. I once hiked up it and found a grainary storgae place built into the cliff. It still had a flat stone slab as a door and inside were small corn cobs with the corn long eaten probably by mice. The grainary was on the southwest side of the canyon, on the opposite side were simple dwelling structures like they were only used when the ancient indians who built them used them to stay in while they stashed food in the grainarys (at least thats what I thought).

That was in the early 1980s when not as many people as today hiked the canyon. I used to find much more undisturbed ancient and mining artifacts.

When I was there in 1986 I read a book I had borrowed from the University of Arizona library about a guy who hiked the canyon in 1926 and thru amature archeology found, labeled, photographed and placed silver tags by many ancient indian ruins and artifacts. I followed his maps and directions and found still laid out as he had photographed artifacts of pot sherds, tools and other things. One was the ruins I mentioned that are up Haunted Canyon a side canyon way up Phantom Canyon. Others were in the cliffs in the upper reaches of Bright Angel, Clear Creek, Cremation, Horn, Salt, Monument and many other side canyons above the Colorado. In al the places he had described and left his silver tags I found them all to still be intact.

One place he had described in the book was a cliff ruin high above the canyon he saw it from. he said he made his was out to above the ruins later and found it easier to get to by ropes descending down. He said he had no idea how the indians who built them must have gotten to the cliff dwellings. When I was at the lower canyon below the ruins in 1986 they roof had collapsed and there was nothing more than a pile of rock rubble.

Did you go to the boat beach and the black mule bridge over the Colorado river near Bright Angel Camp and see the indian ruins along the way? They are about the only easily seen ruins in the canyon. Most are far from where the trails that most hikers use.

When I hike the canyon now a days I usually go up and down the side canyons looking at what most trail hikers do not ever see. There are hundreds of side canyons just on the south side of the GC. On the north side is a place called Powell Plateau that is separated from the rim by many years of erosion and is supposed to contain over 700 ruins. Also on the opposite side on the western south rim is a place called the Great Thumb Mesa where the Havasupai Indians used to live, hunt and farm. Powell Plateau is accessable by tourists but the Great Thumb Mesa is not, its still Havasupai Land.

In the north east side of the north rim is a place where in 1956 (year I was born) two jet airliners crashed after colliding high about. Guess they all were looking at the canyon and not radar?


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Powell Plateau and the Great Thumb Mesa


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Powell Plateau in green, covered in forest.


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The Great Thumb Mesa. I have always thought it looked more like a dragon with its mouth (upper right) wide open and its mane covered in points


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Head of the G.T. Mesa or dragons head is covered in forest high above the canyons surrounding it.


1:45 p.m. on September 7, 2011 (EDT)
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Patman said:

G,

It was an amazing experience for a southern Appalachian type guy like me....so different from any other trips to date.

Hey aren't you supposed to be in the Tetons right now?

 I was supposed to be Flying out this Friday evening, but I had a death In the family, and have had to change my plans a little but I will still be going. I will have to start my hike on Monday instead of Saturday, and will only be hiking the Tetons for three days instead of four. I will head out to Dubois to meet my landscape painting colleagues a day late. Oh well. 

2:50 p.m. on September 7, 2011 (EDT)
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Oh....sorry to hear that.

I'm looking forward to a trip report though!

6:39 p.m. on September 7, 2011 (EDT)
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Great stuff Gary, What a cool thing do (following the book, that is). I bet that was big fun! I know I would have enjoyed further exploration (ideally in cooler weather), but time was an issue.

12:37 p.m. on September 8, 2011 (EDT)
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Another wonderful trip report.  You continue to amaze me with the incredible miles you put in on very steep terrain and tremendous heat.  That climb back up to the north rim with 70 lbs of gear, you are in phenomenal condition.  It will be interesting to see if this is the turning point for your buddy to improve his fitness level to pursue his dream of hiking the canyon.  It is a shame it didn't work out this time for him, but you definitely made the right decision to turn around when you did.

I enjoy your pictures, but I agree that it is impossible to capture the enormity of the place.  Having been there a few times, your pictures sure stir up fond memories for me.  Thanks for sharing your adventure.

11:24 a.m. on November 1, 2011 (EDT)
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WoW!!!! Lots of my friends do that hike but your report is the BOMB! (It is in my back yard). Nice pics and yes, having seen much of the GC, pix lose what your eyes have know about the sheer scale of it all! Thanks for sharing!

11:54 a.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
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In-Phantom-Creek-GCNP-AZ-2003.jpg

Me  in Phantom Canyon climbing a waterfall 1996
 

Patman,

I was just looking again at your trip report. The GC was my main hiking area for 20 years from 1983 to 03, spending about 6 months from October to March in the canyon. I averaged 30 days at a time on backcountry trips, coming back to the south rim only long enough to resupply and head back in the next day for another 4 week hike.

If you ever want to come back to the canyon let me know. I am usually free from Labor Day to Memorial Day (Sept 1st to May 31) as I usually only work 3 months in June, July and August each year. 

I would love to show you some of my favorite places, mostly little known side canyons and take you to Upper and Upper-upper Ribbon Falls, Clear Creek, Boucher and Hermit Canyons, etc. I like the remote backcountry though the rangers call me a SARs (Search and Rescue) nightmare,  because I hike off trail and stay in the canyon for so long.

I may do a hike in the canyon next spring around late April 2012 after I bicycle back there from Tucson on my way to stay in Utah's slickrock (sandstone) country most of the spring, summer and fall. If you have time and we can get a reservation, let me know if you want to spend some more time in the GC?

Gary

1:02 p.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
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WOW... you guys amaze me. You truly do.

4:26 p.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
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Heck, I amaze myself! I am truly blessed to be able to do what I want to do instead of doing what everyone else does and hates it. Life is so simple when you follow your dreams.

As Henry David Thoreau said:

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front
only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to
teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not
lived."

Thoreau wanted to get the most from his life by determining
what was really important, and he did that by removing himself somewhat from the
normal life of Concord, Massachusetts in the 1840's. One side of this was
economic: he reduced his material needs by living simply, so that he would not
have to spend much time supporting a lifestyle that he did not need or care
about. The other side was spiritual, not unlike the spiritual retreats of
eastern and western religions.

That man has been my main inspiration my whole adult life, plus growing up on a farm with independant parents I learned the simlpe life from the beginning. When they retired while I was in high school I began to live the life I now have led for more than 38 years. I will be 56 in January...

 

October 21, 2014
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