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.