Great trip in the Grand Canyon! Belinda offered up Lava and Carbon Canyons with a side of packraft for Thanksgiving and we couldn’t refuse. Our group of 7 hiked in Tanner Trailhead heading down Tanner Trail and eventually the Beamer Trail. The goal on day 1 was to hike up the Beamer a few miles which we did camping around Comanche Creek.
Day 2 the group got a leisurely start since the goal was to packraft across the Colorado in the morning to access Lava Canyon. Near Palisades Creek we arrived at the crossing and scouted for the best launch spot before inflating the rafts and getting all the gear ready. The weather was perfect despite threat of rain that day and the crossing went smoothly. Once on the Lava side we packed everything up and hiked up Lava Canyon to find a camp spot. Eventually we found a spot up canyon about 3 miles from the river that we would spend the next two nights. However, the rain forecast turned out to be correct with 40% chance and it rained for several hours in the afternoon before clearing up for dinner.
Day 3 was reserved for day hiking the area of Lava Canyon. Several attractions in the area included Hartman Natural Bridge and some ruins. However, I decided to attempt Juno Temple and found one other interested in our group Jonathan willing to check it out. I didn’t have a ton on data on the route but it sounded fairly straight forward and @friendofThundergod had summited the temple recently. We relied on route finding to get around a pour off and then contoured back into canyon below the redwall. We then stayed in the main canyon drainage until just below the upper redwall break with the last 50 feet the only difficult part. I know there are route descriptions which I didn’t read before hand so curious if we were anywhere close to that route or are there multiple ways. Either way we made the saddle just below Juno and continued up through the Supai navigating some pretty obvious breaks to the summit. We enjoyed the views on top and had some lunch before heading back down. Now knowing the route the return trip was much easier and we made it back to camp quickly.
Day 4 the plan was to hike the Carbon Canyon narrows and packraft some of the Colorado. From camp we hiked directly over a steep ridge that separated Lava and Carbon Canyons which was roughly part of the old Butte Fault Route. The group had a lot of fun hiking down Carbon Canyon with easy terrain before the narrows. At the mouth of the narrows we took snack break before continuing. Once in the narrows it was very scenic and worth the trip however, we were carrying full backpacks so that made the pour offs and other canyon obstacles a bit more difficult. After taking our time and pictures in Carbon narrows we arrived at the beach on the Colorado.
We inflated rafts and geared up for the float. From Carbon we launched and floated down to Lava Canyon just above Lava Canyon Rapids which we all portage around before getting back in. From there it was a fun float down to Comanche another 2 miles on the water. There was a rapids at Comanche which is smaller and not marked on the maps but several of us decided to drop the packs and run the rapid a few times for practice. It was a fun intro getting a feel for some whitewater without doing any of the really big stuff. After that we settled into camp another night at Comanche Creek.
Day 5 was just about hiking out and back to Tanner Trailhead. With all the fun of the four previous days it was hard to leave the canyon. But the weather was perfect despite cold on the rim at about 38 degrees when we arrived. Another great trip…thanks Belinda for the Thanksgiving offering!!