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Grand Canyon Corridor Loop, AZ
mini location map2010-01-29
28 by photographer avatarwritelots
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Grand Canyon Corridor Loop, AZ 
Grand Canyon Corridor Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Jan 29 2010
writelots
Backpack26.00 Miles 5,600 AEG
Backpack26.00 Miles3 Days         
5,600 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Got really lucky with this one. Another wonderfully successful hike with the Arizona Backpacking Club. All the cool kids are doing it!

Thursday: Drive up after work, sleep warm and toasty in Maswik lodge. Only real problem was parking between the giant snow drifts... Oh, and it was kinda cold getting fuel in Flag.

Friday: Hike in South Kaibab. Fantastic. Saw about 5 other parties the whole day, played a fair amount of hiker-hop-scotch with other groups heading to BA campground and Phantom Ranch. Snow at top was a bit slippery, but mostly just really neat to look at and covered up all of the rough spots at the top of the trail. Most difficult thing to deal with all day: cantina was out of beer. Had to substitute with red wine. Such a pity. Oh, and I lost at Yhatzee.

Saturday: Up Clear Creek Trail and out along the plateau a ways with my new buddy Jim B. Yup. That's a keeper. Gonna go back and hit that trail again, this time with the intent of staying a piece! Ah, the views! Mules restocked the cantina so it was beer for lunch. Dinner was cooked up on Boat Beach at sunset, then more wine at cantina while losing horribly for second time in a row at Yhatzee.

Sunday: Helped friends to load their extra gear onto mules a o-dark-thirty (which would have been a late start in the summer!) Ate a hearty breakfast at the cantina just for the hell of it. Yum. Hiked up Bright Angel trail only encountering 1 mule train and maybe enough people to make my house feel a little crowded (and I've got a really small house). Hit first traces of snow about 1/4 mile from IG, consistent slush about a 1.2 mile past that, and deep snow by 3 mile resthouse. Leisurely hike with a friend who'd never done a canyon level hike before. Still made it out in time for jalapeno poppers and Irish coffee at the BA Lounge before an early dinner at the BA Coffee Shop.

Important Lessons Learned:
  • Yaktrax only work if you actually take them out of your living room and pack them with your hiking gear.
  • Cheapie instep "ice cleats" work well enough in deep snow and ice, but are quite painful over rocky or firm terrain. This was a direct communicae from my plantar fascia.
  • Two cheapie instep cleats work better than one cheapie instep cleat. Although one cheapie instep cleat is better than NO cheapie instep cleats, you do gain a funny, limping gait as your un-shod shoe slips on the ice. (Side note - it is possible to lose an instep cleat and not realize it for at least 1/4 a mile...)
  • The foot pounding cedar step nightmare of the corridor trails is dramatically improved by several feet of snow.
  • Mule pee does in fact refreeze to the texture of an icee. Similar warnings need to be created about green snow, however (see photos).
  • Mules should be banned from the South Kaibab trail forever. 'nuff said.
  • Mules should continue to be allowed on the Bright Angel Trail as long as each one carries a case of beer along.
  • Even gruff cowboy types will throw a Wendy if you ask nice enough!
  • Hiking the Grand Canyon corridor trails in the dead of winter is not only a good idea, it's possibly the best time to visit this part of the park (given, of course, that you are properly prepared). I am losing my fear of cold and beginning to embrace the joy that is a fresh carpet of snow!
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