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Nankoweap Trail
30 Photosets

2013-09-21  
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mini location map2013-09-21
32 by photographer avatarsquatpuke
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Nankoweap TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Sep 21 2013
squatpuke
Backpack30.28 Miles 8,963 AEG
Backpack30.28 Miles3 Days         
8,963 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
BiFrost
BobP
chumley
John9L
Tough_Boots
The Nankoweap Trail has been a personal "nemesis" for several years. I think it's always been because of the hype surrounding the "scary part" and the overall level of difficulty that everyone seems to agree upon. Just about any material you read on this trail warns of imminent gloom and doom; even the name sounds a bit intimidating.

My first experience with Nank happened many years ago when the Fam was car camping at Marble Viewpoint (highly recommend). I drove out to the top of the North area (FR610) of the Saddle Mountain Trail. My goal that day was to hike to the "scary part" of Nankoweap and check it out for myself. I was solo and low on water when I basically got lost at the freakin' saddle and disappointingly never even found the Nank trailhead.

For the next several years, I continued to read more mystical stories (AZ Highways has a good one) and crazy triplogs about Nank and my anticipation for doing this hike increased each year.

Then last year Paul(PLC92084) had planned a very adventurous 5+ day adventure basically covering the entire region. My backpacking and hiking skills had exponentially increased and I felt very ready. However, family matters forced me to turn around and run home. Before leaving, I did get the lower (west) portion of the Saddle Mountain trail under my belt and easily found the actually Nank trailhead with Paul.

I now knew that a Nank-River journey would be my primary Canyon mission/focus and I was very determined to get this one under my belt. After coordinating times with John(9L) and Todd (Chums) I put in for a permit with the 3 month lottery (even coming to work to fax my app at 12:01am) and fortunately, won my first ever draw. Things were beginning to look good.


We knew Kyle(Tough_Boots) was solid. I left the filling of the last two permit spots to Chumley, figuring any impending deaths would be on his hands. I had hiked previously with the legendary BobP and was very pleased when I knew he was on-board (mainly because he brings sugar cookies). I believe it was Bob who subsequently invited Karl(BiFrost). [Karl decided to make his Nank experience a tad more difficult with an extra 2 miles and 1000 feet of gain on day one...(sorry again about the window Karl, I hate that it was my side that was accidentally left open)]. In my defense, I did carry our gallon of water up to the saddle for us to cache at the overlook). :)

Enough rambling, this trip was FREAKIN' awesome and a fantastic success. No injuries, and great weather and the Nankoweap Trail is just an awesome challenge!! There are a few sketchy parts where death is just an untied bootlace away, but nothing too serious. The steep down-climb on Tilted Mesa reminded me of the decent down South Canyon. I would argue this trail is tougher than Boucher (and New Hance) simply because of the persistent length of difficulty. The Nankoweap is just SO UNRELENTING and MENTALLY TAXING - I don't remember one section of the trail where you could really let go and relax your footing.

The graineries were very special and I thoroughly enjoyed the views. Very majestic!! My only beef is that my disloyal companions (the other 5 squids) TOTALLY dogged me for raft brewskis (and crappy PBR's at that) leaving me at the graineries all by my lonesome. (While there, I thought I heard the spirit of Paul Newman speak, but could not verify).

That evening, I did have a few issues...I had stupidly let a hot-spot on my 4th toe turn into a HUGE, painful blister. Secondly, the waist buckle on my pack broke. All of this (and the severity of the climb out) lead up to a rather anxious evening before we exited. Fortunately, the next AM, the hiking gods smiled upon me - - I effectively taped up the blister and the buckle actually held for most of the climb out. Like I suspected, climbing up Tilted Mesa sucked :pk: but once I reached that point, I knew I would see my kids again.

As always, backpacking with with my fellow HAZer friends proves to be MOST enjoyable and entertaining.
Culture
Culture
HAZ Food
Named place
Named place
Saddle Mountain
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129 Photosets

  2013-11-11
  2013-10-26
  2013-09-28
  2013-09-21
  2013-09-20
  2013-09-02
  2013-07-07
  2013-04-27
  2013-04-27
  2013-03-30
  2013-03-17
  2013-01-01
  2012-12-02
  2012-11-24
  2012-11-17
  2012-11-10
  2012-11-09
  2012-10-27
  2012-10-20
  2012-10-13
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