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Tanner Trail to the LCR Confluence, AZ
mini location map2020-11-21
45 by photographer avatarJohn9L
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Tanner Trail to the LCR Confluence, AZ 
Tanner Trail to the LCR Confluence, AZ
Backpack29.25 Miles 7,645 AEG
Backpack29.25 Miles3 Days         
7,645 ft AEG
1st trip
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With my informal goal to hike all of the named trails in the Grand Canyon, Beamer was on the list. I also wanted to see the LCR Confluence before any pipe dreams of a tram become a reality. I planned this about six weeks out with my friend Maggie. Everything was dependent on relatively dry weather. We weren’t going if the LCR was brown. Luckily the weather cooperated and we worked out the details in the weeks leading up to the trip. One of our friends had to bail last minute so I invited Karl. He was excited to join us and brought along his packraft for extra fun.

We would spend three magical days in the Canyon where we spent both nights at Comanche Creek. We day hiked to the LCR Confluence on day 2 and got lucky meeting some rafters that offered to ferry us back to camp. We jumped at the chance and had the trip of a lifetime riding back! It was exhilarating and Karl followed along in his packraft and really earned his wings as his hit some aggressive water in his raft. I’ll savor this trip for a long time.

November 21 - Saturday
We left Karl’s place around 5:45am on Saturday morning and made the long drive to the south rim. We planned on buying a yearly pass at the gate but were told we couldn’t. The computers were down and we’re getting in for free. From there we drove to Lipan Point and began hiking around 10am. The Tanner Trail is a beastly trail. It starts off with 1,800ft drop over 1.3 miles. We worked our way down and dreaded the hike out two days later. Once at the bottom its relatively easy going as the trails wraps around a basin and then slightly climbs along Cardenas Butte. We arrived at the top of the Redwall and took a short break and admired the viewpoint. We could see our camp and the corridor leading to the LCR. We had a lot of hiking ahead of us.

The drop through the Redwall went well. The trail is steep but in good shape. With careful footing we got down and continued down the trail which continues a long descent towards the river. These last few miles took a toll on us. We were ready for a break when we arrived at Tanner Rapid. We hung out to the right on a sandy area just above the river. The Colorado River was cold and clear. It was going to be easy to filter. After a bit, we packed up and headed the last 1.5 miles to Comanche Creek. This section was harder than I anticipated as it wraps around a cliff band overlooking the river. With careful footing we got across and then completed the final section to Comanche Creek where we found a good campsite. We would set up camp and then settle in with dinner. We all turned in early with a big day ahead of us.

November 22 – Sunday
We started our morning with breakfast and filtering water and were on trail around 8:30am. The first two miles as you hike along the river. You then climb up roughly 400ft and begin the long traverse above the Tapeats. The going is a mix of good trail with some stretches right on the edge. You wind in and out of drainages that suck up time and energy. With a lot of effort we passed the final turn and could see the magical blue water.

We would walk up on the Confluence and could see some boaters on the other side. We got down there and chatted it up with them. After a few minutes they offered us a ride back and we jumped at the chance. We would only have another 20 minutes but we couldn't pass up the boat ride. We scrambled to take pics and explore the area. Karl inflated his packraft and played around in the LCR. After a bit the three of us crossed to the island and were picked up by the boaters and we were on our way. Karl fell in behind us.

The ride down the river was a total thrill! This was my first time in a boat like this and it was so much fun. The rapids are mild in this stretch and it was a good way to experience the Canyon from the river. We would float 5.5 miles and it took just over an hour. It was one of the funnest experiences of my life. And somehow Karl kept pace with us. He did amazing and even ran some riffles in his packraft. All of us had a great time and were sad to say goodbye to our new friends. They dropped us off a quarter mile from camp. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and then settled in for our last evening.

November 23 – Monday
We woke early and packed up and were on trail around 7:30am. The first mile and a half back to Tanner took some work as we traversed our way back. Once on Tanner we started the long ascent. We took our time as we climbed and climbed. With a lot effort we topped out above the Redwall and took a break. From there it's a few easy miles as you wrap around to the final climb. We took another break and then it was the long slow typical grind out of the Canyon. We topped out and then packed up and headed out back to Phoenix. Another wonderful trip in the books!
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