From Nankoweap to South Kaibab

Short notes due to data connection challenges. Details to be filled in and pictures added! And pictures of Gabriel too!

After wandering the parklands of the Kaibab Plateau we dropped into the Grand Canyon via the Nankoweap Trail. Camped on the beach of the Colorado River below the granaries. 

Breakfasted with rafters (French toast and French press coffee). Marveled at hundreds of violet green swallows in Marble Canyon. Got soaked by rain. Got flushed out of some overhanging boulders by lightning. Boulder hopped and bushwhacked to awesome Tapeats sandstone ledges to the hitching beach. Besides the lightning and cactus spines it was a super fun day! We dried out by evening.

Hitched across the Colorado River with a US Geological Survey team recreating historical photos (yay for the agency of John Wesley Powell). Crossed the turquoise waters of the sacred Little Colorado River and a spiritual place currently under threat of development for an escalator tram.

Took the Beamer Trail up and into side canyons of rising Tapeats sandstone down to the Tanner Rapids. Sat on sandy beaches. Camped near a cool family from southern Arizona who love to explore the Canyon. 

Took the super fun Escalante Route to Hance Rapids. Explored a neat narrows on 75 Mile Creek. Had some fun mellow scrambling. Then lounged on a shady beach on a hot afternoon. Cooling off in the Colorado River. Marvel at intrusions of rock in the red shale. Gabriel practiced on his harmonica. I picked up trash in the camp. We are learning to linger on the Hayduke (and thanks to our permit). 

Next day, climb up the to the Tonto Plateau. The Tapeats sandstone ledges are now 1500 feet above the Colorado River and Vishnu schist and super group rocks are below. Camp on a bench by Boulder Canyon. Moon lights up the sky. 

Up early to finish contouring along the eastend of the Tonto Plateau. Prickly pear cactus are in bloom every where. Yellow, pink, orange, rose. Hedgehog cactus are full of purple blooms. A few apricot globemallow are bursting. And the sentry agave are blooming with stocks as high as 20 feet. 

Making it to Tipoff and “The Corridor”, we are back in the full pulse of tourists. We hike up. Smelling all the clean people. Hoping the aroma of mule and horse apples and urine can mask our own smelliness. We have not showered in 8 days and our clothes are rimmed in salt, sweat, and sticky dust.

Under the rim, every night we had beautiful views of the canyon. Appreciate experiencing it from river to mid plateau to rim. We are looking forward to coming back next spring.

Days 39-47: 122.6 miles; 690.1 miles total. HWY 89 by Jacob Lake to Bright Angel TH on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. 

GPS: not needed; people sighted: a few AZTers, generous rafters, a USGS crew, happy backpackers, and then 300+ people and 11+ horses on the South Kaibab Trail… woah!; roads: several miles before dropping into the park, then none.

Barrel cactus on the Nankoweap Trail.
Beach camp along the Colorado River by Nankoweap granaries.
Second breakfast in Marble Canyon… in the rain. Before it really started to rain. First breakfast of the day was thanks to some river rafters (some from Seattle and Port Townsend) who invited us for French toast and French press coffee.
Easy schwack through the arrowweed. The mesquite was pokier. Practice for the next leg.
Super fun Tapeats sandstone ledges. In following days we’d become aware of the uplift in the canyon as this layer of sandstone will be a few thousand feet above the canyon., on the Tonto Plateau.
Hitching along the Colorado River. We got a ride from this US Geological Survey team. It was cold out. We are also on solar time and never bothered to adjust our watches to AZ time. So we realized this morning, as we started to wait at 5:30 in the morning. Oh well, it is a very nice hitching beach.
Crossing the Little Colorado River. Nice warm waters!
Lounging spot at our beach camp by Hance Rapids. Looking up river.
Starting to ascend to the Tonto Plateau.
Camp on the Tonto Plateau by Boulder Canyon.

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