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Phantom Canyon - Lower
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mini location map2014-05-18
30 by photographer avatarfriendofThundergod
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Phantom Canyon - LowerNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar May 18 2014
friendofThundergod
Backpack28.00 Miles 7,800 AEG
Backpack28.00 Miles2 Days         
7,800 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
A pretty standard intro to the Grand Canyon courtesy of 9L. My previous experiences in the canyon had only been your standard rim to rim to rim marathons and a few other longer day hikes. We left Happy Valley road exit around 5:50 which sealed a very late canyon start time on what would eventually shape out to be a pretty warm day but a great day overall and eventually an excellent first trip to the canyon.

We were boots on ground at South Kaibab TH after 9:30 and making our way to the rim and down by about 9:45 in the morning. The hike down was quick and a little warm, but pretty standard. John gave a detailed description of each layer of earth, pointed out a few lesser known routes and introduced me to terms, like, red walls, the whites, and all the colorful names attached to all those temples and massive rock features, like, Isis, Zoraster, Brhma and Cheops. Seeing some of those land forms that a select few crazy HAZers have been scaling lately, really put into perspective the magnitude of those hikes.

Phantom Ranch, was well Phantom Ranch the usual assortment of legitimate hikers and backpackers mixed among those who had hiked down with a bottle of Aquafina to their well stocked cabins for the weekend, and the steady stream of rim runners of course. We took an extended break at the ranch and then made our way up the spur/use trail leading to Utah Flats.

Utah Flats was very warm, in fact, someone at ranch claimed 107 degrees, but I cant confirm. I was by no means falling out at this point, but I was certainly pretty fatigued as we snaked our way along the top of the Phantom Canyon drainage, until the point where we would drop in.

After finally reaching Phantom Canyon, the day got exponentially better. There were no people, we had a pristine spot, there was time for rest and relaxation and John was able to address some "safety concerns" we had had earlier in the day.

I know to the canyon enthusiast and hardened veterans our day two itinerary was nothing earth shattering. However, I can honestly say it was one of my more fulfilling hikes in a long time, and for me really nothing short of spectacular. Phantom Canyon was a blast, the pools of water started off freezing, but were welcomed by the end, we were able to keep all essential items dry, the canyon was beautiful and although short, it really proved to be a quite the gem overall.

I am not going to lie, I had a lot of anxiety for some reason about the climb out after our little canyoneering experience, however, it proved to be pretty tame. We hit up a section of the Old Bright Angel and John took me to a couple of ruin sites along the way, was very happy to mark my first two ruin's sites in the canyon. We left Indian Garden(s) near 2:30 and had to make sure we did not take too much time the rest of the way, as our last stop on trip would be and introduction to the B.C.O before closing time at five.

We ended up doing the final 4.5 miles in about two hours on the dot and were easily able to make it to the B.C.O where I obtained my first back country permit for the Grand Canyon, Nothing too crazy, just a little five day jaunt through some outer corridor areas during the first week of June, which I am already looking very forward to.

Interesting Side Notes:

John holds his camera three feet above his head even when he is going through ankle deep water, he says to minimize splash damage.

All the people are kind of annoying on the Bright Angel, however, I found feeding off the misery of others as they crawled out was great motivation and even fueled me to a certain degree.

Finally, there is no greater satisfaction then passing (with full pack) a group of famed ultra runners completing, but certainly struggling to complete a mere rim to rim.

Disclaimer: AEG needs some work, waiting on John's finally tally, my G.P.S. decided to bounce off a couple points in northern Utah I think.

Warning: I don't want to hear one pumpkin comment from Chumley about the length of my photo-set, it was an awesome trip and my first time over night in canyon so its allowed!
Fauna
Fauna
Canyon Tree Frog
Culture
Culture
Campsite
Named place
Named place
Phantom Canyon Phantom Creek
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