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Nankoweap Trip Report (Grand Canyon) Long

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  • surfer4887
    If anyone is interested, here is a trip report from the hike I did last weekend. Nankoweap Exploration GCNP April 22-26, 2004 Who was talked into this
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 28, 2004
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      If anyone is interested, here is a trip report from the hike I did
      last weekend.

      Nankoweap Exploration GCNP
      April 22-26, 2004

      Who was talked into this adventure?
      Trip Leader: Josh Case, the hikers: Seth Sharkey and Jim
      Reist.

      The Plan
      The plan was to drive up to the trailhead Wednesday night April
      21, camp in the National Forest and start hiking Thursday Morning.
      First nights camp on Thursday was to be above Tilted Mesa or
      Nankoweap Creek if we felt we were up to it. Friday we were to hike
      to the Colorado River, relax and fish the rest of the day. Saturday
      was our day off at the river for exploring and yes, more fishing.
      The plan for Sunday was to hike up the Woolsey drainage to its
      junction with the Marion/Seiber drainage, drop packs and hike up to
      check out Mystic Falls and the ruins. We would then hike out to the
      rim on Monday up Marion/Seiber to Saddle Mountain Saddle, and be
      sipping a cold beer at the car by mid-afternoon. You know what they
      say about the best laid plansÂ…

      What Happened
      Day 0, 21 April 2004-Flagstaff to start of NFS Trail #57 and
      Saddle Mtn. Wilderness Boundary. We left Flagstaff and
      headed north toward Lees Ferry and points west. Decided to stop in
      Cliff Dwellers for a six-pack for the long dirt road out to the
      trailhead about 9:30 pm. When we tried to start the car after our
      stop in the store, no luck, just a lot of clicking. We end up
      having to wait an hour or so for one of the waitresses in the
      restaurant to get off of work so we can get a jump start. Thanks to
      the waitress whose name is unknown, but she saved our butts that
      night. So rather than continue to the trailhead and risk the same
      thing after 5 days in the Canyon we decide to drive back to Page and
      get it fixed in the morning. We checked into the Holiday Inn
      Express at about 11:45pm and crashed.

      Day 1, 22 April 2004-Page to Trailhead, then to Tilted Mesa.
      We got the battery replaced in my car along with the negative
      battery cable ($175 ouch!), and then headed out for the trailhead.
      We arrived at NFS Trail #57 about 11:15 am, packed up, stretched,
      got our heads clear and headed up the trail toward the Saddle at
      12:16 pm. The trail heads up pretty rapidly and crosses a ridge
      which then drops into Saddle Creek. The hike up the creek to the
      Saddle was pleasant enough; we reached the Saddle at 2 pm, had some
      lunch and got moving again. Down the first Supai cliff and the
      eastbound traverse begins. The traverse is like most Supai
      traverses, a little brushy, some rock slides and boring, save the
      views. We hit the infamous ledge and were not impressed. This
      really turned people back? The Supai traverse had a little
      exposure, but was not too bad. We rounded Marion Point at 4 pm and
      continued toward Tilted Mesa and our planned camp. From Marion
      Point to the campsites above Tilted Mesa was tedious. There are
      lots of little rockslides and it became difficult to establish a
      good pace. We arrived in camp at 6:15 pm tired, hungry, and doing
      our best not to get blown off the cliff. The wind continued all
      night with a little rain (nothing heavy), and it was nearly
      impossible to sleep. Welcome back to Grand Canyon.


      Day 2, 23 April 2004-Above Tilted Mesa to Colorado River.
      Since the wind was still blowing, hard, none of us could get our
      lazy butts out of our bags so we didn't start hiking until 9 am.
      The trail is steep, but in good shape as it drops off of Tilted
      Mesa. The Muav section is a little loose, but not too bad of a
      hike. We reached Nankoweap Creek at 11:30 am, had some lunch and
      continued toward the Colorado. The walk down Nankoweap Creeks was
      great, with flowing water the entire way, really nice flora and
      fauna, and a nice day in general. Life is good. It is a little
      weird that we hiked down the Redwall a few hours earlier and here it
      is again, much lower and right next to the creek the whole way. The
      geology in this part of the Canyon is really quite remarkable. From
      the higher parts of the trail it is very much the Grand Canyon most
      people would expect, but at the river it still felt like Marble
      Canyon (which it is). We reached the Colorado at 2 pm and looked
      for a place to set up camp. We walked downstream and set up on the
      middle beach above the big sandbar around 3 pm. We saw a few river
      parties float by, some deer stopped in for a quick drink, and we
      watched our resident pro-fisherman Shark catch a couple of trout.
      This was my first trip with collapsible buckets, and I am sold.
      They worked out great for water pumping as well as dishes (not at
      the same time of course). We crashed out early (like 9:30 pm), the
      sliver of moon set and the stars were incredible! Had a little rock
      fight with some mice, but gave up and went to sleep. We all slept
      out on the beach and enjoyed a cool wind-free night.

      Day 3, 24 April 2004-Layover at the Colorado River.
      Today was the day off. We lounged about, hiked around the river
      delta and did some fishing. Once again Sharkey was reeling 'em in
      like there was no tomorrow. He caught a bunch of fish. I caught a
      couple myself, and Jim was shut out (he should have used a spinner
      instead of flies). We ended up keeping three Rainbows' for dinner
      and they were delicious. Went to bed at a reasonable time, and I am
      still hurting from the sinus infection I was able to get before the
      trip started. More mice, this time they waited until we were all
      asleep before attacking. They didn't get into any of our food
      either night, so I think we were fortunate.

      Day 4, 25 April 2004-Colorado River to Marion/Seiber / Woolsey
      Creek junction.
      We woke up at 5:30 am, made some breakfast, packed up and hit the
      trail at 7:45 am. We weren't exactly setting any speed record for
      getting out of camp, that's for sure. The weather has been
      progressively getting warmer each day, and today was going to be a
      warm one. The walk up the creek to the junction with the Tilted
      Mesa trail was mostly shaded and quite pleasant. We reached the
      creek campsites at 10 am. After reading Doug's route description we
      were looking forward to the 1 hour or so hike up to Seiber Point.
      As we started up the creek again we branched right one drainage too
      soon and had to backtrack and try again. Time lost: 1 hour. We
      knew there was supposed to be high route that would take us up and
      out of the creek and speed our progress to Seiber Point. Well, we
      never did find this route and ended up doing one long creek walk.
      The creek flowed up to the spring where the brush gets even
      thicker. The brush was pretty thick up the creek, and I got pretty
      cut up, but nothing like I did the next day. We dropped packs at
      3:45 pm and headed up Woolsey to find some water. We were a little
      concerned about our water situation, but found some nice flowing
      water 10 minutes above where we stopped and filled all of our
      containers. We headed back down the creek to get up into the
      Marion/Seiber drainage at 5 pm, and camped at 5:45. The site was
      not great, small, brushy, and a little archeological, Shark found a
      few pottery shards. We ate and were asleep by 9 pm. This was a
      very tough day, but little did we know what was in store for Monday.

      Day 5, 26 April 2004-Lower Marion/Seiber to Car
      We were up at 6 am, quick bite to eat and started hiking at 7 am.
      We were at the base of the Bright Angel Shale by 8 am, and could see
      the base of the Muav already. We waited for Shark for 20 minutes,
      since he stayed back in camp to do some Yoga, or Pilates, or Step
      Aerobics or something; we're still not sure what he was doing. We
      started hiking again, the creek bed is brushy, and there are a lot
      of large rocks that like to shift when you step on them, rocks you
      wouldn't expect to move but they do. We missed the trail along the
      east bench and hiked straight up the lower Redwall via the creek.
      We saw a cairn marking the top of the east bench route and the start
      of the west climb up above the grey promontory. This route was,
      loose, steep, and loose! I even tried to start a rockslide or two
      on Jim (unintentional of course), in between shouts of rock! and big
      rock! we made it up to the top of the bypass and were dropped back
      into the creek bed. We continually climbed up and were out of the
      Redwall by about 1:30 pm. We did manage to miss most of the ascents
      Doug mention's in his route description, but made it up into the
      Supai and tried to move up as we moved east. We had a few pow wows
      and were able to convince ourselves we were on the right track. The
      Supai is steep, loose and brushy, and we met up with the Nankoweap
      Trail a little after 3 pm, not a moment too soon. The only Supai
      cliff we managed to walk up that was part of the description was the
      last one, I guess it's the one that matters, right? The hiking from
      our camp to the saddle, was really rough hiking, probably some of
      the toughest hiking I have ever done up to this point, and route
      finding took some extra time, though we were pretty expeditious
      about it. We were up on top of the Saddle at 3:30 pm and started
      hiking back down Saddle Creek at 3:45. We had to climb back over
      the ridge and then down to the trailhead. We got back to the car at
      5:10 pm, relaxed, drank a beer and headed back to Flagstaff. We
      arrived back in Flag. a little after 9 pm, exhausted, but talking of
      our next Canyon trip (Royal Arch in November).

      Conclusions
      This was a tough hike. The first day was very long, and the
      cold wind did not do much to help any of us get any sleep. The two
      days at the Colorado River were great, as they always are, and were
      probably the highlight of the trip. The hike up the creek to Seiber
      Point was tough, but not the worst creek hiking I have done, I
      definitely would like to figure out where the high route is that
      would allow for rapid travel between Tilted Mesa and Seiber Pt. We
      did not have time to check out Mystic Falls or the ruins which was
      disappointing, but we walked up the Woolsey drainage a little way
      for water and it was really nice. A place I will be back to in the
      future. The hike from Seiber Pt. to the Saddle was brutal. It was
      a little warm, brushy, and steep in places. The toughest part was
      up in the Supai, and we worried about getting cliffed-out near our
      destination. This part of the hike caused some group friction,
      mostly because of the stress involved in the situation, and the
      mental fatigue the route was having on us. We were able to stop,
      compose ourselves and finish the hike. Some rough hiking, but it
      all makes for a good story and found memories of trying times. The
      Nankoweap area is amazing. The geology and variety of scenery and
      landscapes ranks it up on the top of my favorite places. The true
      question is would I do it again? Would any of us do it again?
      Pretty simple answer; yes, we would all do it again at the drop of a
      hat.
    • luvs_to_hike
      Great!!!! I hope you and others continue to tell us about the hikes they d= o!!!! :)--- In Zion_National_Park_Hiking@yahoogroups.com, surfer4887
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 28, 2004
      • 0 Attachment
        Great!!!! I hope you and others continue to tell us about the hikes they d=
        o!!!! :)

        --- In Zion_National_Park_Hiking@yahoogroups.com, "surfer4887" <surfer4887@=
        y...>
        wrote:
        > If anyone is interested, here is a trip report from the hike I did
        > last weekend.
        >
        > Nankoweap Exploration GCNP
        > April 22-26, 2004
        >
        > Who was talked into this adventure?
        > Trip Leader: Josh Case, the hikers: Seth Sharkey and Jim
        > Reist.
        >
        > The Plan
        > The plan was to drive up to the trailhead Wednesday night April
        > 21, camp in the National Forest and start hiking Thursday Morning.
        > First nights camp on Thursday was to be above Tilted Mesa or
        > Nankoweap Creek if we felt we were up to it. Friday we were to hike
        > to the Colorado River, relax and fish the rest of the day. Saturday
        > was our day off at the river for exploring and yes, more fishing.
        > The plan for Sunday was to hike up the Woolsey drainage to its
        > junction with the Marion/Seiber drainage, drop packs and hike up to
        > check out Mystic Falls and the ruins. We would then hike out to the
        > rim on Monday up Marion/Seiber to Saddle Mountain Saddle, and be
        > sipping a cold beer at the car by mid-afternoon. You know what they
        > say about the best laid plansÂ…
        >
        > What Happened
        > Day 0, 21 April 2004-Flagstaff to start of NFS Trail #57 and
        > Saddle Mtn. Wilderness Boundary. We left Flagstaff and
        > headed north toward Lees Ferry and points west. Decided to stop in
        > Cliff Dwellers for a six-pack for the long dirt road out to the
        > trailhead about 9:30 pm. When we tried to start the car after our
        > stop in the store, no luck, just a lot of clicking. We end up
        > having to wait an hour or so for one of the waitresses in the
        > restaurant to get off of work so we can get a jump start. Thanks to
        > the waitress whose name is unknown, but she saved our butts that
        > night. So rather than continue to the trailhead and risk the same
        > thing after 5 days in the Canyon we decide to drive back to Page and
        > get it fixed in the morning. We checked into the Holiday Inn
        > Express at about 11:45pm and crashed.
        >
        > Day 1, 22 April 2004-Page to Trailhead, then to Tilted Mesa.
        > We got the battery replaced in my car along with the negative
        > battery cable ($175 ouch!), and then headed out for the trailhead.
        > We arrived at NFS Trail #57 about 11:15 am, packed up, stretched,
        > got our heads clear and headed up the trail toward the Saddle at
        > 12:16 pm. The trail heads up pretty rapidly and crosses a ridge
        > which then drops into Saddle Creek. The hike up the creek to the
        > Saddle was pleasant enough; we reached the Saddle at 2 pm, had some
        > lunch and got moving again. Down the first Supai cliff and the
        > eastbound traverse begins. The traverse is like most Supai
        > traverses, a little brushy, some rock slides and boring, save the
        > views. We hit the infamous ledge and were not impressed. This
        > really turned people back? The Supai traverse had a little
        > exposure, but was not too bad. We rounded Marion Point at 4 pm and
        > continued toward Tilted Mesa and our planned camp. From Marion
        > Point to the campsites above Tilted Mesa was tedious. There are
        > lots of little rockslides and it became difficult to establish a
        > good pace. We arrived in camp at 6:15 pm tired, hungry, and doing
        > our best not to get blown off the cliff. The wind continued all
        > night with a little rain (nothing heavy), and it was nearly
        > impossible to sleep. Welcome back to Grand Canyon.
        >
        >
        > Day 2, 23 April 2004-Above Tilted Mesa to Colorado River.
        > Since the wind was still blowing, hard, none of us could get our
        > lazy butts out of our bags so we didn't start hiking until 9 am.
        > The trail is steep, but in good shape as it drops off of Tilted
        > Mesa. The Muav section is a little loose, but not too bad of a
        > hike. We reached Nankoweap Creek at 11:30 am, had some lunch and
        > continued toward the Colorado. The walk down Nankoweap Creeks was
        > great, with flowing water the entire way, really nice flora and
        > fauna, and a nice day in general. Life is good. It is a little
        > weird that we hiked down the Redwall a few hours earlier and here it
        > is again, much lower and right next to the creek the whole way. The
        > geology in this part of the Canyon is really quite remarkable. From
        > the higher parts of the trail it is very much the Grand Canyon most
        > people would expect, but at the river it still felt like Marble
        > Canyon (which it is). We reached the Colorado at 2 pm and looked
        > for a place to set up camp. We walked downstream and set up on the
        > middle beach above the big sandbar around 3 pm. We saw a few river
        > parties float by, some deer stopped in for a quick drink, and we
        > watched our resident pro-fisherman Shark catch a couple of trout.
        > This was my first trip with collapsible buckets, and I am sold.
        > They worked out great for water pumping as well as dishes (not at
        > the same time of course). We crashed out early (like 9:30 pm), the
        > sliver of moon set and the stars were incredible! Had a little rock
        > fight with some mice, but gave up and went to sleep. We all slept
        > out on the beach and enjoyed a cool wind-free night.
        >
        > Day 3, 24 April 2004-Layover at the Colorado River.
        > Today was the day off. We lounged about, hiked around the river
        > delta and did some fishing. Once again Sharkey was reeling 'em in
        > like there was no tomorrow. He caught a bunch of fish. I caught a
        > couple myself, and Jim was shut out (he should have used a spinner
        > instead of flies). We ended up keeping three Rainbows' for dinner
        > and they were delicious. Went to bed at a reasonable time, and I am
        > still hurting from the sinus infection I was able to get before the
        > trip started. More mice, this time they waited until we were all
        > asleep before attacking. They didn't get into any of our food
        > either night, so I think we were fortunate.
        >
        > Day 4, 25 April 2004-Colorado River to Marion/Seiber / Woolsey
        > Creek junction.
        > We woke up at 5:30 am, made some breakfast, packed up and hit the
        > trail at 7:45 am. We weren't exactly setting any speed record for
        > getting out of camp, that's for sure. The weather has been
        > progressively getting warmer each day, and today was going to be a
        > warm one. The walk up the creek to the junction with the Tilted
        > Mesa trail was mostly shaded and quite pleasant. We reached the
        > creek campsites at 10 am. After reading Doug's route description we
        > were looking forward to the 1 hour or so hike up to Seiber Point.
        > As we started up the creek again we branched right one drainage too
        > soon and had to backtrack and try again. Time lost: 1 hour. We
        > knew there was supposed to be high route that would take us up and
        > out of the creek and speed our progress to Seiber Point. Well, we
        > never did find this route and ended up doing one long creek walk.
        > The creek flowed up to the spring where the brush gets even
        > thicker. The brush was pretty thick up the creek, and I got pretty
        > cut up, but nothing like I did the next day. We dropped packs at
        > 3:45 pm and headed up Woolsey to find some water. We were a little
        > concerned about our water situation, but found some nice flowing
        > water 10 minutes above where we stopped and filled all of our
        > containers. We headed back down the creek to get up into the
        > Marion/Seiber drainage at 5 pm, and camped at 5:45. The site was
        > not great, small, brushy, and a little archeological, Shark found a
        > few pottery shards. We ate and were asleep by 9 pm. This was a
        > very tough day, but little did we know what was in store for Monday.
        >
        > Day 5, 26 April 2004-Lower Marion/Seiber to Car
        > We were up at 6 am, quick bite to eat and started hiking at 7 am.
        > We were at the base of the Bright Angel Shale by 8 am, and could see
        > the base of the Muav already. We waited for Shark for 20 minutes,
        > since he stayed back in camp to do some Yoga, or Pilates, or Step
        > Aerobics or something; we're still not sure what he was doing. We
        > started hiking again, the creek bed is brushy, and there are a lot
        > of large rocks that like to shift when you step on them, rocks you
        > wouldn't expect to move but they do. We missed the trail along the
        > east bench and hiked straight up the lower Redwall via the creek.
        > We saw a cairn marking the top of the east bench route and the start
        > of the west climb up above the grey promontory. This route was,
        > loose, steep, and loose! I even tried to start a rockslide or two
        > on Jim (unintentional of course), in between shouts of rock! and big
        > rock! we made it up to the top of the bypass and were dropped back
        > into the creek bed. We continually climbed up and were out of the
        > Redwall by about 1:30 pm. We did manage to miss most of the ascents
        > Doug mention's in his route description, but made it up into the
        > Supai and tried to move up as we moved east. We had a few pow wows
        > and were able to convince ourselves we were on the right track. The
        > Supai is steep, loose and brushy, and we met up with the Nankoweap
        > Trail a little after 3 pm, not a moment too soon. The only Supai
        > cliff we managed to walk up that was part of the description was the
        > last one, I guess it's the one that matters, right? The hiking from
        > our camp to the saddle, was really rough hiking, probably some of
        > the toughest hiking I have ever done up to this point, and route
        > finding took some extra time, though we were pretty expeditious
        > about it. We were up on top of the Saddle at 3:30 pm and started
        > hiking back down Saddle Creek at 3:45. We had to climb back over
        > the ridge and then down to the trailhead. We got back to the car at
        > 5:10 pm, relaxed, drank a beer and headed back to Flagstaff. We
        > arrived back in Flag. a little after 9 pm, exhausted, but talking of
        > our next Canyon trip (Royal Arch in November).
        >
        > Conclusions
        > This was a tough hike. The first day was very long, and the
        > cold wind did not do much to help any of us get any sleep. The two
        > days at the Colorado River were great, as they always are, and were
        > probably the highlight of the trip. The hike up the creek to Seiber
        > Point was tough, but not the worst creek hiking I have done, I
        > definitely would like to figure out where the high route is that
        > would allow for rapid travel between Tilted Mesa and Seiber Pt. We
        > did not have time to check out Mystic Falls or the ruins which was
        > disappointing, but we walked up the Woolsey drainage a little way
        > for water and it was really nice. A place I will be back to in the
        > future. The hike from Seiber Pt. to the Saddle was brutal. It was
        > a little warm, brushy, and steep in places. The toughest part was
        > up in the Supai, and we worried about getting cliffed-out near our
        > destination. This part of the hike caused some group friction,
        > mostly because of the stress involved in the situation, and the
        > mental fatigue the route was having on us. We were able to stop,
        > compose ourselves and finish the hike. Some rough hiking, but it
        > all makes for a good story and found memories of trying times. The
        > Nankoweap area is amazing. The geology and variety of scenery and
        > landscapes ranks it up on the top of my favorite places. The true
        > question is would I do it again? Would any of us do it again?
        > Pretty simple answer; yes, we would all do it again at the drop of a
        > hat.
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