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Lone Pine Canyon Rt below Plateau Pt, AZ
mini location map2013-09-14
19 by photographer avatarHippy
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Lone Pine Canyon Rt below Plateau Pt, AZ 
Lone Pine Canyon Rt below Plateau Pt, AZ
Hiking15.50 Miles 3,800 AEG
Hiking15.50 Miles
3,800 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
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This was one of those times when I was told to "do my homework" on a hike and totally didn't. oops! Good thing 9L knew what he was doing...more or less.

We hopped down Bright Angel, pit stopped at Indian Garden, I pointed out all the water damage from the last 2 or 3 HUGE storms we've had. The damage has been fixed up a tad for tourists but there's still a picnic table stuck against a tree with 6 inches of mud holding it in storm it might end up further downstream :lol:

We headed down the trail that leads to Plateau Point but 9L wanted to get to our starting point via Tonto West rather than my idea of heading out to the Point and heading west along the rim (in all actuality either way works out the same!)

There are two drainages west of the point, the first one is really a sheer cliff that water spills over onto. There is no way down there, seeing it from below is fantastic! It's the second drainage you want, it tapers down straight into a perfect slot canyon type break in the Tapeats.

Making our way through the Tapeats was like being in a whole different world!! It's like nothing I have ever seen before, except maybe a few slot canyons up near Lee's Ferry, but they were dry and desolate. The tapeats was full of all sorts of trees and evidence of wildlife living deep in the crevices and pocket caves.

We had to hop over many a pool of water, quite a few were full of tadpoles. At one point I got down and went all Hippy on one of the pools inspecting the number of tadpoles, searching for food sources, toad eggs etc and I spooked the tiniest toad EVER...well it was roughly the size of my pinky fingernail!! I tried to get a picture but it snuck under the sandstone and disappeared.
The perfect habitat! Hidden from human invasion, safe from our pollution and construction. Please tread with caution in these areas, the Tapeats are a perfect environment for some sort of unknown creature to pop up someday! :D

Not long after my toad discovery, 9L and I popped our heads out just above the Colorado River, just above being roughly 1200 feet! The trees and bushes took over the cliff side, Zoroaster was the prominent vista to the East, the River dominated the views to the West with Horn Creek visible, what a sight.
Sometime later I recall we paused to watch a few rafters and a kayaker take on the rapids. What fun it must be in person!

There is a faint use trail that heads east along the Tapeats, over rocks, under trees, I think only once you were forced to walk under an overhang, of course if you take the path *I* took you'll end up climbing all over the walls, don't go that way, it's crazy (FUN!).

A little further on I took the hard route again and climbed up below the Transcanyon Pipeline, always cold to the touch! To think that this one giant pipe gives us all our water up here.
I think it pumps something like 127 million gallons a year from Roaring Springs to all the lodges, resthouses and Tusayan as well...that seems a small number considering we get 4 million visitors a year (at least 4 million people that PAY to get in :lol: )

Anyway, there are bolts beside the pipeline that i'm guessing workers clip into while working on the pipe itself, it climbs 300 feet up the Tapeats here, I can't imagine working on that cliff with 40+ year old bolts as my life line!

We continued on our route along the base of the Tapeats gradually wrapping around beneath Plateau Point, we saw only a tony bit of trash, I would guess all the packrats and ringtails get to a good amount of junk before any humans do. also can't imagine many humans make it out this way. you'd have to know there was somewhere to go in the first place!

On the east side of Plateau Pt the sun was beating down on us hard, I finally gave in and said we need a break in a few minutes...half an hour later we finally found some shade and had some lunch. I found a cute little cactus garden and watched the huge black ants climb up and down the cactus needles as I munched away at all the "Hippy Snacks" I had in my pack.

We wrapped around a bit further after our break, BA came into view and we walk right up to some lovely granaries. There are obvious footpaths leading right to the Granaries from BA trail but I'd never noticed them before! I asked my friends in Arc dept and the granaries there are Class 1 archeological sites, which means it's ok to visit them just don't touch.
They told me that these are their "sacrifice sites". As sad as that is it's probably a good thing to have such sacrifice areas to keep the general public from wandering around and destroying other amazing places.
With all that said these ruins are in pretty good shape!

9L spotted a faint trail across the creek and mentioned more ruins, he seemed hesitant for a second, as if I wouldn't want to hike more, pffft! So we darted across the trail, I memorized the faces and clothing of a few people we passed on the trail, then we turned off BA like we owned the place. In minutes we were being pelted by big fat raindrops but we kept going, spotted the Old BA ruins and we had the option to head back up new BA or take Old BA, as if there's any question.

We stayed on the west side of the Old BA ravine and switch backed down off trail until we were just below the Old trail in the bed of the creek. I found two huge boulders that made a tiny cave to crawl into and made a B line for it, 9L reluctantly followed and we climbed a short section and came out right on Old BA. Probably my favorite trail to be on. It's so silent and calm and "secret".

We stopped by IG and I suckered 9L into meeting the rangers with me. After grabbing our Jr Ranger booklets we headed up BA and home. We did pass 4 of the 6 people whose faces I'd memorized before we cut off trail again earlier, sweet!
Awesome adventure, beautiful scenery, thanks 9L for not wearing earplugs the WHOLE hike. :D
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