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Grandview Trail
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mini location map2012-11-30
45 by photographer avatarchumley
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Grandview TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Nov 30 2012
Backpack34.36 Miles 8,367 AEG
Backpack34.36 Miles2 Days   4 Hrs   40 Mns   
8,367 ft AEG37 LBS Pack
1st trip
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Another Grand Adventure!

Thanks to Larry for doing all the permit work, giving us a place to crash, and coming up on Sunday for the shuttle. Of course none of these trips would ever happen without 9L doing the planning, and thanks to Vince for making sure there was always somebody in camp in a condition capable of handling any situation that might have come up. Safety first! :)

Stats (for anybody doing research on this route):
Day 1 - Grandview to Grapevine 10.2 miles, 5:00
Day 2 - Grapevine to Lonetree 8.8 miles, 3:05
Day 3 - Lonetree to SKTH 9.2 miles, 4:16 (I was slow)

Water Sources:
Day 1 - Cottonwood Creek at 4.2mi
west fork Cottonwood Creek at 5.7mi
Grapevine Creek at 10.2mi
Day 2 - Boulder Creek at 5.8mi +.25mi up the west fork to reach the water.
Lonetree Canyon at 8.8mi +.5mi up or down canyon to reach the water.
Day 3 - No water after leaving Lonetree canyon.

Originally 9L and Squat and I were going to do this trip, but when the Nutcracker got a firm grasp on Squat's jewels he had to cancel and take care of daddily obligations. Hippy was going to take his place but after a month or so she finally figured out that hiking on a sprained ankle hasn't served her very well. Luckily Vince was able to go and we still had an ideal group of 3.

To get an early start Friday, we drove to Flag after work Thursday and crashed on the floor at chez squat. Our pre-dawn departure for the canyon went just fine until arriving at the entrance gate where little miss ranger lady had clearly woken up on the wrong side of the bed. 9Ls smooth moves with the ladies were just not cutting it, and $80 later we proceeded toward the trailhead firmly planted 10mph below the limit.

It was surprisingly cold. The clouds were at rim level, leaving us in a thick, cold, wet fog. It was tough to get all geared up and ready to go due to the chill, and we all knew this would be the coldest it would be all weekend. There was maybe one other car at Grandview, which was a nice change from the typical tourist-for-all that you experience up there. Somehow we managed to drop off the rim before 9 and quickly dropped out of the cloud layer.

Not more than 500 yards down the trail we encountered trash in the middle of the trail -- a McCafe coffee cup. With no shyness we discussed with some colorful expletives what kind of dbs would do something like this, followed by a couple of insults of the brand of drink they had chosen. Of course, we rounded the next switchback to meet the people who dropped the cup. They intended to pick it up on their way out, and also had heard everything we said. And they also had a dog on the trail, so I don't think we really cared. But we laughed about it for a while.

We passed a group of 3 near the saddle between the switchback sections, and they were the last people we saw until reaching South Kaibab on Sunday morning. We took a snack break at Horseshoe Mesa before dropping into Cottonwood Canyon. There was plenty of water running in both the main and west forks and we stopped only briefly at each for a couple of photos. The Cottonwoods were all golden during this first weekend of December.

Once on the Tonto, we cruised around to Grapevine and were pleasantly surprised to see and hear plenty of water flowing down the creek adjacent to where we decided to set up camp.

With plenty of time left in the day, Vince and I headed up canyon for a mile or so and I later realized that the Grapevine drainage begins on the west side of Grandview Point, where our day had begun! It was a great canyon, with a steady stream of water flowing, awesome rock formations, colors, narrow slots, short falls, and a few Cottonwoods and other foliage with autumn colors. I could easily have camped here an extra night just to explore this canyon both up and downstream! Just downstream of the Tonto crossing there is a junction to a west fork of the canyon, and that was a fun place to explore too. I always like to have some near-camp exploration options. Even after a long hiking day, I'm not ready to sit or sleep just yet!

We spent the evening enjoying a beverage or two and taking silly night photos featuring stars, headlamps, tents, and party lights. I slept solid!

Saturday morning we topped off our water and headed back out on the Tonto. After having read the triplogs from last fall when Joe, Bruce, Wally, and Denny did this hike as a DAYTRIP, I had gotten the sense that the Tonto is basically a neverending journey into and out of every drainage. Luckily we were only doing it in pieces, and the views truly are awesome. When the trail parallels the inner gorge the ruggedness of the rock and the views and sounds of the river amaze, and when it leaves the gorge for the various canyons, each provides a different canyon experience.

Our first main crossing was Boulder Canyon, which we were pleasantly surprised to find with a reasonable trickle of water about 1/4 mile up the west fork. Plenty of pools for filtering if needed. The east fork was dry as far up as I ventured. We stopped and took a break here before continuing on toward Lonetree. Upon arriving there, I was a bit concerned not to find any water. None of us was prepared to spend the night and hike the next day without further water, and we were fairly certain that this was the last chance. Would we have to backtrack to Boulder Canyon?

I dropped my pack at the presumed campsite and headed up canyon looking for pools or any sign of flow like we had found in Boulder. Nothing. Dry, dry, dry. I found a sandy pool that might have had 2 liters in it. That wouldn't be enough. I kept going. Finally I reached an area with a lone pine tree and some low shrubs and some grasses. The hillside revealed what I recognized as the markings of a seep, though it was dry. I climbed uphill from here and slowly became encouraged by a little bit of squishy earth under my feet. After fighting some shrubs and tree branches, I emerged face-to-face with a cliff wall and a nice patch of healthy green moss and a few steady streams of water flowing out of the rock. Bonus!

I of course had not brought a water container with me, and the only catch here was that I had hiked at least half an hour from our camp. Oh well. I timed my hike back and reached the others in 20 minutes. I found out that 9L had discovered water down canyon as well. Also about a 20 minute walk. It was definitely easier to get to the spring down canyon from the crossing, but the spring up canyon was pure out of the rock and doesn't need filtering (Your mileage may vary. Proceed at your own risk.)

With the water issue solved, we set up camp and settled in with only a bit more exploring. I was stung by some kind of canyon bug that caused me to lose motor skills, and despite potentially injuring myself, I made it into my tent for a night of sleep and recovery.

Sunday we didn't get on the trail until after 9 because I had to get more water, which is basically an hourlong process with the hike to and from. We set out on the Tonto, and this section is totally different from the section before Lonetree. Instead of a mostly flat trail, it now dives in and out of the canyons it traverses. Just adding a few hundred feet of AEG here and there to the upcoming climb out SK.

Eventually, the bright white switchbacks of SK appear in the distance ... a few miles and a couple of canyons from actually getting there. I cut off the Tonto about half a mile before the junction, and blazed up an easy ridgeline and met up with the SK just below the start of the switchbacks. It shaved about 20 minutes and .9 miles off the hike. There's no trail, and no cairns, but was clearly used by others and in places a faint trail exists.

From here it was just slow going for me since I just couldn't get my energy up despite my hydration and food intake. So I just made my own pace, taking short breaks when needed. The views from SK really are amazing, and there were very few people on the trail, even above Cedar Ridge, so I wasn't annoyed by tourons. There was a mule train behind me the whole way, but it never caught up so I was not even subjected to the dust and bodily excretions thereof. :)

When I got to the top Vince was waiting for me as 9L and Squat had gone to get the car from Grandview. We packed up and headed to Flagstaff for pizza and wings before the long drive back to the valley and a ridiculously early bedtime.

Yeah. Sweet trip! :y:
Bighorn Sheep
Cag Shot
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Boulder Creek Light flow Light flow
No flow at crossing. Some pools up the west drainage about 1/4 mile, with light flow eventually appearing.

dry Burro Creek - GC Dry Dry
Nothing. No sign of water.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cottonwood Creek Light flow Light flow
Nice flow. No problem filtering here.

dry Cremation Creek Dry Dry
No sign of water.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Grapevine 3,648 Quart per minute Quart per minute
More flow from the south spring, with filterable pools.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Grapevine 3,673 Dripping Dripping
Some moisture from the north spring, but not much.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Grapevine Creek Light flow Light flow
I'd be tempted to say medium flow, but I don't know what to compare it to. Slept listening to it gurgling over the rocks if that helps!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Lonetree Creek - GC Light flow Light flow
No flow at Tonto Crossing. There is no spring as marked on the topo maps. There is a seep/spring .4 miles down canyon that has light flow and filterable pools. There is a spring that flows out of the rock .5 miles up canyon that was running at a bit over 1 quart per minute. There is no pool for filtering at the upper spring, just the streams/drips out of the rock. See my photoset for geotags and info. This looks fairly reliable but may be dry during periods of hot/dry weather.
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