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Ghost Rock GCNP, AZ
mini location map2017-10-10
13 by photographer avatarautumnstars
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Ghost Rock GCNP, AZ 
Ghost Rock GCNP, AZ
Backpack avatar Oct 10 2017
Backpack18.43 Miles 3,139 AEG
Backpack18.43 Miles2 Days         
3,139 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
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A quick trip from the north rim of Grand Canyon in perfect weather to spend one night down on the Esplanade and do some off-trail exploring.

Day 1
We started from the Indian Hollow trailhead rather than Bill Hall, just to try a different trail. Being built for livestock, this trail proved more mellow in terms of grade, but it also spent twice as many meandering miles getting to the intersection with Bill Hall, so you pick your poison. Where Bill Hall is relatively well-traveled, this was quite faint at times and clearly sees much less foot traffic. It is hard to complain about the views on any trail in Grand Canyon, and Thunder River Trail lived up to what we expected with open views toward Deer Creek and Fishtail Canyons. Once down on the Esplanade, the trail began to feel a bit like the Tonto, contouring around the head of each arm of Deer Creek Canyon. We hiked to the intersection with Bill Hall Trail and set up camp in a promising-looking spot among the slick rock before a quick post-dinner jaunt. It always feels so tremendous to hike around in sandals without your heavy pack when backpacking! :y:

Day 2
Slept in until the sun rose, then packed up for a day of exploring. Off-trail on the Esplanade has its own challenges due to dense black brush and trying to avoid damaging the cryptobiotic soil crusts. This slowed us down quite a bit until we got back onto bare slick rock. We managed to find a nice little route along a slick rock ledge for the last 0.5 mi or so to our objective. Ghost Rock has two of the largest pictographs I had ever seen in person. Interesting to contemplate, even accepting I will never understand their purpose or significance. One thing we noted was that anywhere in southern Nevada with such nicely-developed desert varnish would have a lot of petroglyphs to complement the pictographs, but we saw none at Ghost Rock.
Our bread had gotten moldy past the point even I would consider eating it, so there was no lunch, but we have plenty of extra snacks and motored back to the Thunder River Trail much more quickly than we had come out. Then, up and up back to the trailhead and the end of more wonderful time spent in the Canyon.
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Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
Not too many leaves left on most trees on the rim, but still some spots of color remain.
"Let it ride / Let it roll / Let it go"

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