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Grand Canyon Parashant 09, AZ
mini location map2009-11-07
64 by photographer avatarRedRoxx44
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Grand Canyon Parashant 09, AZ 
Grand Canyon Parashant 09, AZ
4x4 Trip avatar Nov 07 2009
4x4 Trip
4x4 Trip6 Days         
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
It's the journey, not just the destination---- I sit in the slight cool in front of a fire where we have just cooked our pork loin and enjoyed a good dinner. Behind me is a black gaping canyon, ahead of me is a barely discernable low sandstone cliff in the dark, to my left is the FJ which we will crawl into to sleep; unless we elect dragging the foam mattress out and star gazing. The wind is light and blows the flames a little. It is profoundly quiet, at the edge of our little world, in a small cliff side clearing, courtesy of the copper miners whose workings are nearby.
The drive has been long. At the top of Trail canyon, we let some air out of the tires then toddled down in low range 1st gear along the steep narrow road which soon brought us to huge Parashant canyon. This trip Brian and I had two goals-- Copper Mountain Mine and Dripping Spring area over near Andrus canyon. In between it was whatever our whims and this trip brought us.
The drive in is challenging in a large vehicle. Rough. We stopped and hiked in mid Parashant canyon where it was canyoning up instead of a wide rocky wash. The canyon was not very narrow but grand and growing huge walls. We found several modest panels of pictographs, some historical signatures, and isolated beauty. We got within sight of where we dropped in last year, then returned the way we came, marveling at the colorful rock, and the lowering light.
We finished our drive to the mine campsite in the dark. Very exciting, crawling over slickrock, headlights vanishing out into darkness. Right before the campsite as you slowly go down a track your headlights suddenly jump the abyss and light the opposite canyon wall many hundreds of yards away. You turn at the very edge, then down to the wide spot of camp.
Here we remained two days and nights. We explored the mine, we crawled in the holes, we hiked across country to a boulder wonderland to views down into Parashant and a nameless neighboring canyon, we walked the old spur roads, we hiked down into gorgeous narrows at one place maybe five feet wide and three hundred feet tall. I stood on wide plateaus of limestone washed by floods, I saw large rocks striped with chert that littered the landscape as scrapings of the old ones.

We drove on toward Andrus Canyon. This road is used less than the one to the Copper Mine. Old quad tracks only. Some scary four wheeling. We were amazed at seeing a 70's era Airstream trailer at the bottom of a canyon with no road access, intact, we could only surmise the wash was modified to tow it in. Water is at a premium in this desert country. We saw some tanks, but no surface running water anywhere, and we did not go to the Colorado this time. The road into Andrus canyon is very rough, as in Parashant. Now low shelter alcoves' were showing up, and showing some fire blackened ceilings.
We stopped to walk to a Prospect labeled on the map. The road was badly washed out, I bottomed out the FJ's suspension at this point, so after that we decided to walk. Steadily uphill a mile or more. A lonely cabin and tank awaited us. The tank had water piped in from Mud Spring, about a foot of water in it and three live goldfish and one dead one. The cattle tank below full of water. The cabin was stocked and seemed to be a working rancher cabin; we took pics only closed it up and left. The views from this high point in a branch of Andrus was magnificent.

Onward, the road worsening. At one point a 400lb boulder had fallen onto the road, and quads were having a hard time getting around it. We used the Toyotas' jack and a pry bar to flop it over and go on by, squeaking by about 3-4inches from door level.
We camped on a little point, because it was late and we needed to study the road a little in the light. We were near a minor alcove which had some poor pictographs. In the road we were pleased to see some exotic jet possible obsidian chips which were glasslike yet not and showed signs of work.
Next day onto the Dripping Spring area. I hiked a little in the morning while Brian slept in then looked over the road. I went down a canyon with pouroffs, then up and out and cross country to a high point. I spotted a cabin I dubbed the "camo" cabin, I hiked to it, then hiked back on the road. We made it in the FJ to the cabin. This cabin was made of cinder block and has metal awnings which could be secured over the windows or fully opened for good ventilation but shade. The cabin was tiny but well thought out. Another rancher outpost and we left it as we found it.
We camped near the top of a tiny valley. We hiked down the canyon of Dripping Spring, greenery but no surface water, on down to Lost Spring. We followed an obvious developed trail, cairned, that followed ledges taking us down to Lost Spring, developed, and piped into a concrete box in the canyon bottom. Water in pools in a riparian area below with some cottonwoods. I drank from the pipe and filled my bottle; it was quite good.
We went on downcanyon, excited to see the Redwall developing and the canyon trenching and narrowing. We saw holes and climbed up, Brian on one side of the canyon and me on the other, looking for caves. It was fun and scary. It was getting late and we returned to the car in the dark.

I was tired of driving and said no more. The road continued, but on TOPO it indicated it ended shortly past our camp. Our goal now was Mollie's Nipple area, and hopefully an overlook of the Colorado rarely viewed. We mapped it out and it looked like about 17.5 miles RT.
We left not too early under cloudy skies, our first sullen looking day. The road was quite good except for a bad area on a dugway. I wanted a long hike and it looked like this was it. We made good time thankful for the moderate temps, as we moved along skirting huge canyons, again no name branches of Andrus, interesting canyons in their own right. On the north side of Mollies just past an incredible deep canyon, we came to an area I call enchanted. In a pocket of woodlands, magical greens and red browns of the soil , the rocks, the sandstone pouroffs at canyon heads. We rounded Mollies, and found the end of the road, blocked by the park service. At this point the Colorado views can be had hiking out to several points. We were tired and at our turn around time, so ate, took some pics and headed back.

The sun started to come out and danced along the canyon's walls. The big country glowed and pulsed with promise and mystery. The hugeness is mind boggling. No wonder many hikers devote their lives to this place, along with ranchers, archaeologists, explorers.
We took a quad trail off the main road and were rewarded with finding a huge tank, dry, called " Midas", not on any map but I had read about in a Grand Canyon guide book. An old wagon with wooden tonque was abandoned; made from some axles off a Model A or T according to Brian. The quad trail disappeared then we followed what appeared to be an old road then a trail. We passed some obvious Indian sites, then rejoined the main road.
We got to the car with sore feet before dark. Dinner was especially good that night.
We awoke to light rain and boiling clouds. We could get a radio station out of St. George, Ut and knew some rain was coming. I had planned to start driving out this day. We packed up and made our way out slowly, the rain gentle and settling dust, then clearing a bit for lunch out on the rocks.
Low range 4wd for up Trail Canyon. Rain along the rim in the distance. Now in the small juniper, sandy road terrain. Near the old schoolhouse we stopped and spoke to an area rancher, from the founding Bundy family. His grandfather had hauled ore from a more westerly located mine in the late 1800s by horse and wagon. His father had come to this area in 1916. His face lit up when I showed him a picture of some historical inscriptions in rock down in Parashant, by his father, in 1929.
We had a pleasant few minutes chatting with him in the again lowering light. It was cold and the clouds low as I pointed the FJ to the north, for the long dirt road drive out.
What a place, and what a life.

Stats for those who want to know--
Dirt road miles --202
Gallons of extra gas carried--9---out with less than half a tank.
Water-- 12 gallons carried in, out with 3 full ones left
Food--we had plenty
Car stuff--two spares, air compressor, fixa flat, tire plug kit.
Maps--BLM Az strip, Nat'l geo TOPO
Vehicle--modified with 3 inch lift and 9K winch. You needed every inch of clearance and I still managed to get on one rock but got off without damage or use of winch. Narrow and short wheelbase would fare better.
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