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Creek Running North
May 03, 2005
Bad news, good news
The bad news is that the North Rim is snowed in, and our reservations have been canceled for that part of our trip.
The good news is that we're going anyway, hiking down the South Kaibab Trail to Phantom Ranch in one day and then picking up our backpacking permit itinerary at Canyon's bottom.
The bad news is that this shaves one day off the hike.
The good news is that Joan scored rooms at the El Tovar the night before we hike.
Posted by Chris Clarke at May 3, 2005 09:52 AM
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I took the mule ride down to Phantom Ranch a few years ago. Whew!
There are places where the path is three feet wide, the vertical wall to your right is so smooth you couldn't get a fingernail to catch on it, and the crumbly edge to your left overlooks jagged rocks so far down that you could scream your lungs empty two or three times before you hit.
Of course my own experience was enhanced by the knowledge that I was helplessly riding an animal whose IQ can't be measured on the human scale.
You'll probably meet some of those pretty mules on the narrow trail. Just so you know, they can kick dents in diamond-plate steel, and in their frightened-prey-animal brains, brightly-colored backpacks look a lot like mountain lions.
Enjoy. :)Posted by: Hank Fox at May 4, 2005 09:21 AM
Not such a bad "new" Itinerary.
South Kaibab to Phantom Ranch is a great hike. (Cans of Budwiser available at Phantom Ranch for $3.00 each. Yuk as far as Bud goes... but it is beer and it is really cold ususally.)Head back up to the Tonto plateau and head for the Grandview trail. You'll have plenty of water and campsites in the side canyons along the way. A friend who has always packed in the Sierras with me said this was one of the best trips he ever did. Warning... After Horseshoe Mesa, The Grandview Trail gets really steep ...if you take the Grandview trail all the way out from Cottonwood (You can camp on horseshoe mesa but you have to go back down the trail for water at the spring you pass by. No water sources on the mesa.) be prepared for a grueling hike.