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11 by photographer avatarHippy
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Nankoweap TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Feb 01 2018
Backpack115.00 Miles 10,000 AEG
Backpack115.00 Miles13 Days         
10,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Wayne Ranney had this genius idea to hike from Nankoweap to Phantom Ranch.
So he set up a motley Crew that included myself, my other half Jamie, geologist Kory Kirchner, Ornithologist Bryan Brown and wildland trekking guide Louie Herron.

Jamie put together the itinerary at a pretty luxurious pace.

Day 1: down Nankoweap camp at Nankoweap Creek.
Day 2: layover. Jamie, Louie and Kory summitted Nankoweap Mesa. Bryan and I filtered water and explored the area found some kickin' sites. Same camp.

Day 3: the beginning of "the Butte fault boogie" myself and the 3 boys summitted Nankoweap Butte. Camped In Kwagunt Creek, why Kwagunt? Why not?

Day 4: up, down, up, down then up again to camp on Awatubi or was it Malgosa saddle?
There are no trails out here. Barely even deer paths. This is grand canyon proper. Even though there is mostly not a "trail" there is an obvious "way" but it might not be obvious to all backpackers.

Day 5: hike down carbon then over to "little lava" aka Lava Chuar. My dear friends KC & Clint packrafterd across the River and meet us at Lava-chuar from here on out we were a group of 7 instead of 5!
(They paid for the entire 13 day permit even though they were only with us after from today on, dedication!!)

Day 6: layover at Little lava also known as "Beaver Camp" due to the active little beavers across the river! They're huge, like bear cubs!

Day 7: up lava Chuar. Camp below north rim. Beautiful area, fresh water, very chilly tonight though. Heard some coyote in the distance, maybe down canyon from whence we came.

Day 8: up and over Juno Saddle down into Unkar Creek. Camped on ledges near spring, reliable delicious water! Up to Juno Saddle was straight up and very brushy but worth every step! Had to watch out, it was so steep Jamie's feet were at my eye level, almost got a heel in my face once or twice :lol: camping in Unkar near the spring was so rewarding,that whole area was beautiful and so much to explore, I could spend a lifetime out there.

Day 9: rest of way down Unkar to Delta, head downstream to Rattlesnake camp, up to The Tabernacle summit then down west side to camp on Tapeats slickrock between Sheba and Solomon Temples (which only I found greatly amusing. You might want to look up the story of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon hah)

Day 10: contour to some amazing places. I was tempted to camp in the only privately owned land inside Grand canyon national park...but we had a schedule to keep. Next time Messers Hance and time! Camped tonight in Vishnu Creek with stunning view of Vishnu Temple! Awesome ledge camp developed by who I wonder...we may never know. Maybe Kenton Grua.

Day 11: contour. Contour. Countour. By this day we hated that word.

"To contour in Grand Canyon you must first go up, but to go up you must first go down. Only then may you achieve the enlightenment that is The Contour" -Haley Day 11.
Camped this night on some slick Tapeats ledges above east arm of Clear Creek proper.

Day 12: started morning off with clouds and gorgeous sunrise, gingerly stepped down a beautiful Tapeats break, did brunch in group camp at Clear Creek camp (I've still never actually camped there haha) spent next 2.5 hours CONTOURING Clear Creek Trail to Phantom Ranch in the rain.
This rain was on and off and very warm with a very cold breeze. 5/7 of us camped tonight at Phantom Ranch in the covered groupsite! Kory and Louie shacked up with the Phantom Ranchers and let them shower haha no thanks, I wanted to wallow in my two week canyon filth as long as possible.

Day 13: regrouped with K and L, all 7 of us hiked out South Kaibab Trail. Snow at very tiptop. Tomorrow is Valentine's day and there will be snow on the rim. Absolutely perfect!

*Mileage and AEG is estimated as I didn't bother tracking anything because I was having way too much fun out there.

I could go into more detail but this area of the canyon is special to me. I believe you know to some extent it is my duty to keep locations of things a secret/safe... but if you have any questions please ask!

The rocks are fantastic...

Did you know Karl Karlstrom is presenting new evidence that the 60 Mile Formation (rock layer) is actually much younger than they originally thought and it's being reclassified as a member of the TONTO GROUP?! That's amazing!!

Anyway, you may have done the math by now. Wayne Ranney could not join us, he had unfinished business elsewhere :( but he did drop us off at Nankoweap Trailhead and we all got to have dinner and breakfast at Cliff Dwellers on Jan 31st.

Jamie and I are planning another trip out Trinity way maybe we can get Wayne and Helen and Jack P. to join us. Only time will tell.
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