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5 triplogs
Jan 01 2013
coollikeacoatimund
avatar

 Photos 86
 Triplogs 5

35 male
 Joined Oct 08 2011
 Flagstaff, AZ
Rim to RimNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Jan 01 2013
coollikeacoatimund
Backpack44.50 Miles 11,000 AEG
Backpack44.50 Miles3 Days   4 Hrs   30 Mns   
11,000 ft AEG35 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Hello to all! It has been a long time since I've posted a triplog, but I've been back now and again to see everyone's amazing pictures. There have been plenty of hikes in the past year, but I'll start with the most recent, and epic, of hikes yet.

Melanie and I had wanted to do a rim-to-rim-to-rim backpacking trip for a year and I nabbed a permit in October. The last few weeks I was anxiously watching the weather forecasts, each day the outlook changed. Luckily, we were blessed with clear sunny skies. I knew the night on the North Rim would be cold, so I was really happy to have reserved the yurt. If you haven't tried this, it's a great way to make North Rim hikes doable in the winter. The only other worry I had was in what condition we would be in on New Year's morning, day one of our four day trip.

We woke up that morning hangover-free, thankfully, if not a bit groggy and we didn't make it to the Bright Angel Trailhead until 2 PM. We filled our Camelbaks, strapped on the ice-cleats for me and yak-traks for her, and headed down. Snow is still on the trail nearly to 3 Mile Resthouse, but it isn't
very slick. In fact, we thought it was soft and provided extra padding for our knees. My new trekking poles were working out great as well, absolutely essential I see now. Before the trip I had read Hiking Grand Canyon's Geology, a wonderful resource if you like stopping and admiring the geologic forces once (or still) at work. By Indian Gardens it was warm enough to shed our sweatshirts and we stopped to watch the deer browse and have a hummus and pita chip snack. The sun set just as we reached the top of the Devil's Corkscrew. I was spying the old Corkscrew switchbacks, already planning my next day hike. Another half mile of hiking later the headlamps became necessary and we walked in darkness to Bright Angel Campground. We stopped once to admire the stars, arriving around 7 PM to enjoy a pesto chicken and pasta dinner.

Melanie and I have never been known for being early-risers and this trip tested the limits of just how late you can/should get started for a long-day of hiking. After "brunch" we spiked camp and set off. 10 AM. I have never hiked the North Kaibab trail so the day started out in wonderment and awe. I love the Box, such an amazingly beautiful place. An NPS helicopter dropped a crew and some equipment off a few miles north of Phantom Ranch. When we passed them on the trail we didn't notice any pipeline break, but it must have been there. On the way back down the next day we saw a gaping hole filled with bubbling water next to the trail. I thought about how cool it must have been to drop in by helicopter, but I guess it's routine with those guys.

We reached Cottonwood around 2 PM. Bright Angel Canyon has so many jewels, like Manzanita Creek, the "beaver ponds," and Wall Canyon, but we didn't do any side-trips. Today was about getting to the top, tomorrow we could explore a bit. After lunch at the Pumphouse Residence (another awesome job, I think) we continued upwards. We pass a group of three near Roaring Springs and their six companions later on near Supai Tunnel. Thank you to all of those hardy and wonderful folks who packed down the snow! I've been on some rough uphill slogs, but the last five miles of the North Kaibab Trail really take the cake. Water abounded everywhere, in the form of springs and snow, ice and wind-carried flakes. I definitely noticed that it was getting a bit breezier as we ascended, but our exertion did not make us notice the quick drop in temperature. Darkness fell shortly after Supai Tunnel and we trudged up the rest of the way to the North Kaibab Trailhead. The roads show recent snowmobile use and the rangers posted convenient signs and a map directing us to the yurt.

Finally feeling the cold (it was below zero, it had to be!) we rushed inside. The yurt is very cozy, enough for six people. We had a bit of trouble with the wood-stove, as the damper would follow gravity and shift to its closed position. After some experimentation and numerous times having to air out the yurt, we finally got a warm, smoke-free fire going. Instant mash potatoes and ham steak and bed, while the winds of winter howled outside all night long. We procrastinated again the next morning, taking our time cleaning our mess, restocking the firewood, and refueling our bodies. The only thing I forgot this trip was sunglasses, which would have been really nice that morning. It wasn't bitterly cold, but the world was white and bright.

The view from the North Kaibab Trailhead is incredible. While not offering the best views of Grand Canyon itself, it allowed some wonderful opportunities to photograph the San Francisco Peaks framed by the walls of Roaring Springs Canyon. We stopped often to admire what we missed in the dark the night before and shed our jackets at Supai Tunnel. I am very impressed with the construction of this trail, very cool rock structures and so close to the precipice! We didn't see a single soul until we stopped for a snack at Cottonwood, this time at 3 PM. Continuing on we explored a ways up Manzanita Creek and did the side-hike to Ribbon Falls. That place is amazing. I drank from the moss-covered stalagmite in the alcove, tasted okay and looked clean enough. Not sick yet.

There was a research or volunteer crew of some kind working in Bright Angel Creek near Ribbon Falls, didn't ask about their mission but we had a nice conversation about the yurt and the trail conditions above Roaring Springs. Headlamps went on again as we entered the Box. Beautiful in the day, the place can become a bit eerie at night, but the sound of rushing water can soothe any jangled nerves. Like day one, we reached Bright Angel Campground around 7 and had ate a very large meal of rice, sausage, chicken, and zucchini. End of day three and now we were really feeling it in our knees, calves, and for me, the shoulders (gotta get a new pack).

We slept in again and stopped at the Phantom Ranch canteen to send a postcard. Found Ranger Adam and informed him of our stay at the North Rim yurt and the damper problem we experienced. He was glad we weren't smoked out of the yurt and into the cold. We ate leftovers from the night before and loaded up on some additional calories for the hike out on the South Kaibab Trail. Despite the midday hour at which we left, we made excellent progress up and out of the Canyon. We stopped to take one last picture before ascending the Chimney and got to the Trailhead with time to spare to find a spot to watch the sunset. Didn't even need the ice-cleats or yak-traks for the hike up, plenty of dirt covering the ice and snow. It may be a little bit slippery for those going down in the Chimney, but up was no problem.

The trip left us sore but incredibly satisfied. Our next trip will be Thunder River/Deer Creek, but we'll need to do a bit more heat-tolerance training before then. I can't think of a better way to have started 2013! :y:
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Nov 11 2011
coollikeacoatimund
avatar

 Photos 86
 Triplogs 5

35 male
 Joined Oct 08 2011
 Flagstaff, AZ
Bright Angel TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 11 2011
coollikeacoatimund
Hiking16.10 Miles 4,390 AEG
Hiking16.10 Miles   7 Hrs      2.93 mph
4,390 ft AEG   1 Hour   30 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Hit the South Kaibab Trailhead at 9:30 AM. The Chimney was a bit icy but not slippery enough to warrant crampons. I was worried about my late start but I was surprised to find myself at the Tipoff an hour later. Don't remember the South Kaibab being that steep. My knees were screaming upon reaching the Colorado River, exactly two hours after starting out. My legs felt like jello. I tried not to think about the hard slog back up as I took an hour or so at Bright Angel Campground. I ate lunch by the river, watched some of the river runners pass the Silver Bridge, and took ample pictures. I saw a few robins and rock wrens, but no canyon wrens.

I started up the Bright Angel a little bit before 1 PM. I had never been past Indian Garden so this section of the BA was new for me. I knew Pipe and Garden Creeks put out a lot of water, but I was surprised by this little eden. There were a few Mule Deer along the way up, especially by the confluence where the two creeks met. I understand why they call it the Devil's Corkscrew, by the time I got to the Tapeats narrows I was wiped. Indian Garden provided solace and I rested for twenty minutes, eating a snack and finishing one of my liters.

Another herd of deer before ascending Jacob's Ladder. At this point, my camera died. I had hoped a quarter battery would last me the day. Stopped for a few minutes at 3 Mile and 1.5 Mile Resthouses to rest my weary legs. Much of the upper BA is a mushy, sticky slush. Not icy, but still slick. Made it to the top at exactly 4:38 PM. :y:
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light
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Oct 19 2011
coollikeacoatimund
avatar

 Photos 86
 Triplogs 5

35 male
 Joined Oct 08 2011
 Flagstaff, AZ
Keyhole Sink TrailFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 19 2011
coollikeacoatimund
Hiking1.50 Miles 146 AEG
Hiking1.50 Miles
146 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I had a day off of work so I decided to check out the Keyhole Sink. The hike is definitely not a mile, probably a mile and a half round trip. Tread was good and blue blazes clearly marked the trail. The little aspen grove was beautiful in the sun, as were all the Gambel's Oaks. Took pictures of the petroglyphs and sat around for an hour looking at the birds. There were plenty of Stellar's Jays, juncos, chickadees, and Northern Flickers, and I spotted one Townsend's Solitaire drinking from the pool of water at the end of the sink. Nice way to spend a couple of hours, went back to Flag afterwards to check out Picture Canyon, but that's another triplog.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light
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Oct 19 2011
coollikeacoatimund
avatar

 Photos 86
 Triplogs 5

35 male
 Joined Oct 08 2011
 Flagstaff, AZ
Picture Canyon - FlagstaffFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 19 2011
coollikeacoatimund
Hiking2.00 Miles 30 AEG
Hiking2.00 Miles
30 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After hitting the Keyhole Sink, I decided to go out to Rain Valley past the cinder pits and the wastewater treatment plant. I parked off of Rain Valley Road where it intersects the Arizona Trail on the left. I had no idea where I was going but that's how I usually like it. Saw a lot of Stellar's Jays and a few Red-Tail Hawks along the way, plus a horde of Lewis's Woodpeckers going back and forth from a clump of oaks to a big ponderosa snag. After crossing under the power lines the AZ Trail intersects a dirt road (probably truck access for the cinder pit or the water plant). I decided to go left and take the dirt road. After a few minutes I found myself on the rim above Picture Canyon. I boulder-hopped down to the canyon floor, spotting petroglyphs along the way. I didn't realize how many panels were down there in the canyon, absolutely incredible! I hiked upstream towards the waterfall, snapped some pictures, and then headed downstream on the opposite side. The Rio de Flag continues down about a half a mile until it is crossed by the Arizona Trail and a relatively new looking bridge. Spotted many more birds in the weeds near the creek but they were fast and small so I couldn't make any good ID's. Took the AZ Trail back to my car. Got lots of pictures, of this hike and of Keyhole Sink, so I'll be posting those soon! Wonderful area to explore and so close to town!
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light
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May 28 2011
coollikeacoatimund
avatar

 Photos 86
 Triplogs 5

35 male
 Joined Oct 08 2011
 Flagstaff, AZ
North Canyon Trail #4Northwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar May 28 2011
coollikeacoatimund
Backpack11.00 Miles 2,616 AEG
Backpack11.00 Miles2 Days         
2,616 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
My girlfriend and I hiked this trail in May 2011. I had previously done trail work on the North Canyon Trail in 2010, including building a new rock wall and switchback right above North Canyon Spring.

We left Flagstaff around four PM and were planning on camping at the trailhead before starting out the next morning. Bring a map of the area because the roads are not well marked and we got a bit lost before finding the right turn-off. The area was completely abandoned our entire trip. We started hiking around 9 the next morning and the first few miles were really hot. We stopped to enjoy the petroglyphs, easy to find as the alcove in the cliff is surrounded by a barb wire fence and spotted a Western Tanager during our lunch break. As we climbed up the wash the plant-life changed from high desert scrub to Ponderosa Pines, with some Douglas Fir in a few wet and shady spots. Right around the junction with the East Rim Viewpoint trail we encountered the creek. Trail crews have done maintenance on the trail, clearing away the dense thickets of maple, so it was easy going besides the heat. We found a nice campsite about a half mile beneath the spring. We continued hiking without our packs up past the spring. The area is beautiful with mixed conifers and scattered aspens. The water tastes great, we treated it but I tried some without treatment and had no problems.

While we didn't hike all the way to the top, if you were to you'd soon meet another trail junction about a mile up from the spring that heads along the rim to the East Rim Viewpoint. Continuing on North Canyon Trail will bring you to the Arizona Trail and a number of beautiful alpine meadows.

The hike to our campsite took about five hours, but our hike out the next morning only took two. We were back in Flagstaff by three in the afternoon. I love this hike and this secluded little corner of Arizona. Truly a great wilderness experience and plenty of opportunities to do more backpacking that includes more trails. The area is remote so leave a detailed itinerary with someone in case you get stuck.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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average hiking speed 2.93 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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