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mini location map2013-09-21
29 by photographer avatarJohn9L
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Nankoweap TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Sep 21 2013
John9L
Backpack28.75 Miles 8,888 AEG
Backpack28.75 Miles3 Days         
8,888 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners partners
BiFrost
BobP
chumley
squatpuke
Tough_Boots
Our Nankoweap trip started on Saturday morning. The six of us drove up the day before and car camped at the trailhead. The road in is a little rough especially the last few miles. Anyways we all staggered off at separate times and made the hike up to the Saddle Mountain overlook. This part of the hike is 3 miles and you gain a solid 1,500 feet. Along the way we passed at least six backpackers on their way out. We didn’t see any other backpackers until our exit two days later.

From the saddle you drop down through the Esplanade and start the long traverse through the Supai. The going is relatively easy with minimal gain and descent. We passed Marion Point and dropped some water. We continued and started the descent toward Tilted Mesa. The views are just spectacular! The descent from Tilted Mesa really gets the heart rate up. It’s steep and loose. I kept thinking no way there is a trail down this. There was and I was careful every step of the way. Eventually things level off and we made the final push to Nankoweap Creek.

Once at the creek we selected a campsite that was nestled in some Cottonwood Trees. This will be our home for the next two days. After getting set up I was hit with exhaustion and took a very enjoyable nap. Evening set in and we had some fun conversation and then turned in for the night. It was a warm evening and I don’t think anyone slept inside their sleeping bag. I was comfy in my Bivy.

On day two we all made the three mile hike to the river. The going is very easy and very scenic. Nankoweap Creek is beautiful! After an hour we reached the river delta and we all split up as we explored the general area which is huge! Eventually we saw the first set of rafters and made our way to their landing point. We successfully begged for beers and hung out with them for a few. Afterward a group of five of us, excluding Larry, made the hike up to the granaries. I was surprised at how high up they are. The granaries are spectacular! We took lots of pics and enjoyed a long break there. I could spend hours enjoying the views and the camaraderie. During our break another group of rafters landed and a third passed down the mighty Colorado. After successfully begging for more beers we returned to camp and settled in for the evening. The temps were cool and pleasant on day two.

We woke very early on day three and wanted to get a jump on the sun. I was the last to leave camp and carried five liters of water with me. I wasn’t taking any chances on the dry hike out. I would only drink 3+ liters. The hike up Tilted Mesa had me a little on edge after our descent down two days earlier. I felt great and cruised up. It was much easier and I felt way more comfortable on the ascent. We regrouped on the saddle and then Chumley and I started the traverse out the Supai. The going was fairly easy but there are a few spots that are a little unnerving. There are no “OH MY GOSH” obstacles along this hike. However cumulative they all add up to make for an anxiety filled day. We debated on if Nankoweap is more difficult than Boucher. I personally think it is however the others had a different opinion. We’ll need to continue the debate another time.

We reached the saddle and then Chumley and I made the final descent back to the vehicles at the trailhead. We had some celebratory beers as the others stumbled in. From there we returned to Flag for NiMarco’s and then back to Phoenix. This was such a memorable trip! I will definitely hike it again and could not recommend it enough!
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258 Photosets

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