Ideas for backpack December - Jan; GC loop recommendation

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gringodevil
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Ideas for backpack December - Jan; GC loop recommendation

Post by gringodevil » Dec 08 2017 2:18 pm

Greetings HAers,

Noob to this forum.
I have one month in AZ from Dec 15 - Jan 15 visiting family in Tucson and getting out for a few trips. I am looking at doing one 5 day backpack and one at least 3-4 day trip. I would prefer to not camp in snow, given that I am trying to leave that behind here in AK, but am fine with low 30's. From this site, I can see that very few places are described as 'in season.' From what I've read, it seems like Superstitions are doable in this timeframe, but given proximity to Phoenix, I'm wondering if I would be camping in the midst of hordes of dayhikers, or if there are better options.

Also, I was looking at possibly doing a backpack trip 5-6 days in grand canyon, doing some loop trip between Hermit's rest and either Bright Angel and/or South Kaibab. I know you should have microspikes for the descent/ascent into rim. Not sure if I would need snowshoes once I am out of the canyon...

.01 for your thoughts and recommendations.

Russell

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SuperstitionGuy
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Re: Ideas for backpack December - Jan; GC loop recommendation

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Dec 08 2017 4:57 pm

Regarding the Superstitions - There will be a lot of day hikers off of Peralta and 1st Water Trail Heads but if you are backpacking there is a lot of back country campsites that will be vacant and available. Rogers Trough Trail Head on the south side of the wilderness is a good place to make a loop backpack from but requires a vehicle that has high clearance and maybe four wheel drive depending upon the condition of the road (172 and 172A/B). Tortilla Trail head on the north side of the wilderness requires a very high clearance vehicle unless your willing to just walk in from the entry point off of State Highway 88 (Apache Trail). Therefore what you will be driving may limit you as to where you would like to do your backpack from. Evening temperatures can get quite low this time of year in the high part of the wilderness so be prepared for freezing nights as low as 25 degrees if there is a cold front predicted during the time of your trek. The days however as long as the sun shines are great for backpacking this time of year. Ask us more questions about what you want to see and accomplish as there are a lot of folks on this website that can answer your questions for you.
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Re: Ideas for backpack December - Jan; GC loop recommendation

Post by nonot » Dec 08 2017 5:35 pm

@gringodevil
Once you get 3 miles from a trailhead, the populations significantly thins. That said, camping in the Supes is still somewhat popular and you will likely not be alone. A few areas, such as near Charlesbois, are usually going to have several groups on weekends.
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

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Re: Ideas for backpack December - Jan; GC loop recommendation

Post by cactuscat » Dec 08 2017 8:23 pm

Hermit to Bright Angel or South Kaibab should be excellent! Microspikes will be all you need - and poles.
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Re: Ideas for backpack December - Jan; GC loop recommendation

Post by hikeaz » Dec 09 2017 10:14 am

I might suggest Tanner over to S. Kaibab - Generally less-traveled than the Hermit Loop and includes some 'interesting' hiking from time-to-time to break up the standard Tonto Trail hiking. Also this area allows you to camp up on the Tonto plateau; fantastic for star-gazing and so as to get some morning sun, which is unavailable at Hermit/Monument.I.G. in winter.
You could shorten this itinerary and exit at Red Canyon (New Hance) 26.3 mi. or Grandview 31.9 mi., although shuttle logistics may be problematic. It IS generally an easy 'hitch' between trailheads, though if you want to go that route. https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/ ... tances.pdf
Permits in winter are pretty easy-to-get, which makes it my favorite time to backpack there. Obviously you are used to long nights, but that is about the only drawback.
Last edited by hikeaz on Dec 11 2017 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ideas for backpack December - Jan; GC loop recommendation

Post by gringodevil » Dec 11 2017 12:16 am

Everyone, thanks for your feedback--this is an awesome site. Superstitionguy--I'll be driving a rental car, so I guess that's like a high clearance vehicle :)--maybe that will limit some Superstition options.

Hikeaz, I like your idea on Tanner-S Kaibab and the tip on the sun. Maybe it is the map I'm looking at, but I'm not seeing any way to shorten the trip from Tanner then going westbound on Tonto--it looks like the only way out is Yaki point, which I think is a haul--29 miles. On the map associated with this website, I can see a squib of a trail leaving from Grandview, but it does not appear to actually connect, same with Moran point--maybe you have a link for a better map? Also, when you are on Tanto, it looks like you can access water from the Colorado intermittently---Do I have that right?

Other than GC and Superstition, any other recommended places in mid-winter?

Thanks!

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Re: Ideas for backpack December - Jan; GC loop recommendation

Post by hikeaz » Dec 11 2017 10:00 am

gringodevil wrote:
Dec 11 2017 12:16 am
......
Hikeaz, I like your idea on Tanner-S Kaibab and the tip on the sun. Maybe it is the map I'm looking at, but I'm not seeing any way to shorten the trip from Tanner then going westbound on Tonto--it looks like the only way out is Yaki point, which I think is a haul--29 miles. .....-Do I have that right?

Other than GC and Superstition, any other recommended places in mid-winter?

Thanks!
Note on attached maps New Hance (Red Canyon) and Grandview.
Also look on the mileage chart in link a couple of posts above for distance(s).
Your original post said 5 to 6 days in the Grand Canyon; I think that 6-8 miles a day is no issue and leaves ample time for exploring.
Water along the Escalante Route (really a trail now) at the river (Tanner) and then again (2 mi. +/-)at Cardenas/Unkar. Then the river again at 75 mile, Escalante Creek and Hance Rapid. Then, starting on the Tonto Trail, the unnamed spring on the way to Hance Creek, then Hance Creek, then Miner's Spring or Cottonwood Creek depending on which way you exit Grandview.
Going on? West from there along the Tonto, water at: Grapevine Creek, maybe Boulder Creek, Lonetree for sure and likely potholes in the west arm of Cremation 10 minutes downstream from the Tonto.
Attachments
canyon map.jpg
map GC.png
Last edited by hikeaz on Dec 11 2017 2:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Ideas for backpack December - Jan; GC loop recommendation

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Dec 11 2017 10:18 am

gringodevil wrote:Superstitionguy--I'll be driving a rental car, so I guess that's like a high clearance vehicle
If not before, maybe after US Forest Road 172 and 172B. :scared:
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Re: Ideas for backpack December - Jan; GC loop recommendation

Post by gringodevil » Dec 11 2017 10:55 pm

@hikeaz
--Great info, with water spots to boot! I saw your earlier post with mileage, and some of it was not lining up with the map on this site where trails were not connecting--I knew something seemed off so it was better to ask. This looks like the perfect loop, as long as my lucky thumb gets me a ride out of there back to my car. Packing tonight! Thanks for all your help!

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Re: Ideas for backpack December - Jan; GC loop recommendation

Post by gringodevil » Dec 11 2017 11:03 pm

@SuperstitionGuy

Thanks for intel on the road approach!.

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Re: Ideas for backpack December - Jan; GC loop recommendation

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Dec 12 2017 6:44 am

When and where are you going?
Maybe someone or I from HAZ can help you with transportation.
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Re: Ideas for backpack December - Jan; GC loop recommendation

Post by Hippy » Dec 15 2017 6:01 pm

gringodevil wrote: in AZ from Dec 15 - Jan 15 visiting family in Tucson and getting out for a few trips. I
You better head up soon, it's HOT up here on the south rim right now...I was wearing sandals and t-shirt and jeans today! Good grief. And no snow....no precipitation in two months, none in sight...as much as that blows for water sources it's awesome for hiking weather!!

Also if you need help with a car shuttle, hit me up. I'm the only GC local HAZzer left since @cactuscat left us :(

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Re: Ideas for backpack December - Jan; GC loop recommendation

Post by cactuscat » Dec 15 2017 6:55 pm

@Hippy
Hey, I bought property locally - I will never leave! That's my retirement property at worst, and if plans for new State Parks in northern AZ pan out, I will be back much sooner! :)
Also, a memory photo from 5 years ago popped up on my FB feed today - it was of my yard at 95 Havasupai covered in at least a foot of snow ... hard to imagine you haven't had any yet this winter!
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Re: Ideas for backpack December - Jan; GC loop recommendation

Post by azbackpackr » Dec 16 2017 3:45 am

Hippy wrote:I'm the only GC local HAZzer left
Uh, what about Nikorock28?
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Re: Ideas for backpack December - Jan; GC loop recommendation

Post by gringodevil » Dec 17 2017 12:36 pm

@SuperstitionGuy
Plans are still up in air--but I will shout at you when I figure that trip out--thanks!

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Re: Ideas for backpack December - Jan; GC loop recommendation

Post by gringodevil » Dec 17 2017 12:39 pm

@Hippy
Thanks for update--surprising! I saw a low of 8 yesterday...I'm wondering if any weather is hitting you today... I'm hiking in shorts regardless. Haven't worked out transportation logistics yet, but thanks for offer.

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