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Grand Canyon Parashant NM 2019, AZ
mini location map2019-10-19
49 by photographer avatarRedRoxx44
photographer avatar
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Grand Canyon Parashant NM 2019, AZ 
Grand Canyon Parashant NM 2019, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 19 2019
RedRoxx44
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I saw no one for 5 days. It was wonderful quiet, exploring some canyons that had been on my radar. The BLM/NPS are coy with some of the roads; they aren't on the Az BLM map numbered, but they are there and are given some description on the GCPNM website. Reminds me I need to call them for an update---anyhow-- old topo maps are great here because roads are there as are some points of interest that have also been removed from some newer mapping info. I had been on some of the roads driving and walking anyway. To access the one canyon I knew the lower roads were closed. But there was one I had seen in my other travels.

From the secondary road to a tertiary road. This thing had all the look of a wildcat track put in by off roaders. The Jeep handled it well, washouts and all, and soon I car camped on the big fan wash of a interesting looking canyon in the distance. Not my goal one but it would do. A great star view night then the long walk in the braided wash. According to Topo this would be short. The fun part is would I be granted entrance or a big dryfall at the beginning?? I was granted entrance. Coming into the complicated end without tech climbing I saw a large natural window, I would suppose, in a large rock fin. That wasn't noted on the map. I almost made the climb to behind it, but was defeated by about a 12 foot vertical. Sometimes not having a partner sucks.

Boulder and talus traverse then out. Drove the Jeep on to the car camp on a broad low mesa in sight of the huge grand walled entrance of the target canyon. We had done a day hike loop of the middle of this long canyon years ago, but a single photo of the lower canyon on the web got me going. Now I was here.
Backpack on now and 2 days of water. Everything seemed very dry here, even cattle tanks were mostly dry, and the one spring I visited had more burro poop than surface water. Followed burro trails off the stair step mesas' into the huge wash. I camped slightly inside the canyon entrance on a ledge with red sand for a bed. Enough of a view of the grand walls of the canyon and sill large enough here for good stars.

A day and half of scrambling, exploring, problem solving around dry falls, photos, and sticking my head into the many holes in the limestone, old springs of the past now some short caves. That limestone was wicked sharp. Casualties include a tear in my pants I need to mend and one crushed fingertip when a rock rolled, will probably lose the nail.

Incredible light on the redwall, feeling so small, relaxing in some narrows, looking up at slices of sky, massive geological confusion in textures, pushing myself on the scrambles and climbs, planning yet another return after I ran out of gas on an upclimb.

I did a little local road exploring on the way out. The park has put in some route signs, but of course since these roads are not encouraged, tell little about what they take you to.

Another canyon, but first a car camp in a Joshua Tree forest area and some exploring there. This canyon I remembered from a previous trip, very intimidating with a slit like entrance and huge layercake limestone back drop. As I drove the remembered sight greeted me, my memory intact. Saddle up and another long approach hike, as the road was well out on the flats so to speak. This place very interesting, an old rancher camp on a knoll with lots of cans, the canyon started out with dryfalls I was able to climb around a couple but I did not like the exposure. So up on a long stable talus to the top, then a wonderful bench that I was able to take around. Lots of little cave like openings. Spent some time on that, went upcanyon to the head, a boulder hopping mania, then down till a 25 foot fall, would need a rope. The resulting slot looked short but very nice with awesome reflected light. Climb out, then reverse my route, I was so glad the talus was a walk down after all the hand and foot scrambling, mantling, stemming I had been doing the last few days.

Again, driving ( on most of these rough roads about 5 mph is it, either limestone or volcanic rock), a lovely abandoned homestead, a crazy road ( tested my sidewalls, my outer tire was just barely on the edge of the narrow shelf road), another great camp and wandering around. Repeat. Then onto some other things. People wonder why I keep coming here; because it keeps on giving.
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