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#199961 - 12/22/17 02:36 PM Grand Canyon April 2018
41253 Offline

Registered: 12/28/14
Posts: 80
After going twice last year I thought it would be a while before returning, but we just can't stay away. Here's the plan:

Fly into Las Vegas.

Spend two nights in a hotel just outside Bryce Canyon NP (day hiking trail ideas welcome).

Spend one night on the South Rim.

Drive to the Visitor Center and catch the first shuttle to the South Kaibab trail head. I figured out last time that it's much much more convenient to leave the car at the Visitor Center than in Grand Canyon Village: the buses are more frequent and the ride is much shorter. The plan is to grab a site at CBG, hang most of our stuff, have some lemonade and ice cream wink at Phantom Ranch, and head up towards Ribbon Falls or until we decide to turn around. We'll probably eat an early dinner on the trail rather than at the campground.

I'd really like to go up Phantom Creek just to see how far I can get from the bottom up and then see how close I can approach that same point from the top down in a few days. I'm afraid April would be a bad time for a trip up Phantom Creek, though. I was there this past July and although the air was well over 100 degrees the water was very cold. I stopped at the cascading pools after a mandatory swim (there's no way to walk around I could find) that was really pleasant in July but probably not a good idea in April.

The next morning we'll head up the Kamikaze route to Utah Flats and spend the night up towards the Hippy Camp.
The next day will just be wandering and exploring and we'll spend our second AP9-permitted night either at the Overhang Camp or maybe up on the Flats.

The next day will be a little long: we have a site at Horn Creek. I want to try to break off the Bright Angel Trail at the top of Devils Corkscrew to follow a section of the old Bright Angel Trail, within sight of the old phone lines, until it intersects the Tonto. I did this section of trail from the top down on a day hike from Indian Gardens in July in hopes of seeing some ruins but never found them. I've since done a little more research and want to try again. The plan is to spend a little time relaxing on Plateau Point, maybe having dinner there. I'd like to be there for sunset but am not sure how the two-mile hike to Horn Creek would be in the dark (ideas?).

The next morning we hike out and spend the night either on the South Rim (no reservations yet, watching the site for an opening) or somewhere on the way back to Las Vegas.

Any ideas or suggestions welcome. I'm especially interested in finding Native American ruins, my record so far has been pretty dismal in that regard.

Edited by 41253 (12/22/17 10:56 PM)

#199964 - 12/23/17 12:02 AM Re: Grand Canyon April 2018 [Re: 41253]
William Offline

Registered: 09/21/04
Posts: 27
At one time or another I've found dry bypasses in Phantom Canyon for all the deep pools that you can't just wade through. Of course when there's been heavy spring & monsoon season there are lots of changes in the depth of the pools and the boulder configuration in and around them so YMMV.

From the bottom the first barrier that stops most people is the water chute that looks like you have to swim through and then climb it; but you can make your way around to the left. Don't climb too high; go upstream and back towards the creek as soon as you can. Towards the end you're on very smooth slippery rock sloping sharply down to the creek just above the chute; either control-slide down into it and get your feet wet or cling on like a fly and make your way across the last 20-30 yards to dry footing.

Quite aways further after an easy bypass or two, there's a real overlander to the left, long and rough climbing high; maybe not worth it. Then three/four fairly straightforward ones. Finally about 1/4 mile below the barrier falls there's the standard long bypass on the right up to basically the Cattle Route and then down near the top of the Falls; cairned from the top down. Alternatively, sometimes people will leave a rigged climbing rope at the Falls though the Rangers take them down as soon as they patrol. I don't have the upper body strength to do a straight climb up the face but if it's long enough to swing over to the right there's a crack that is a pretty easy short climb with the rope for confidence and substituting for a couple of missing holds.

The water in BA Creek may be too high/swift to cross in April. With rope and technique you can ALWAYS get across but it may not be fun. Check that out from the bottom before you do your trip down Phantom Creek and find yourself stranded on the other side. Frankly the Lower Creek isn't all that pleasant until June not just because the water itself is very cold but the frequent narrows get little sun. It's chilly, particularly if you've gotten wet and there's wind howling through the slots.

You may find water in the lower area of the Flats maybe 1/4-/1/2 mile up from the Alley, in the drainage you have wanted to get out of for easier walking. Either stay in the drainage or keep looking down over the edge at the likely pooling spots. Having a water resupply there can really change the nature of a hike as you can wander around for miles and have water to get back to, and though the sun may be bright the temps are usually such in April that it's not oppressive being out in the open like that. In late May & on you'd fry.

In any case, enjoy!

#199969 - 12/23/17 04:32 PM Re: Grand Canyon April 2018 [Re: William]
41253 Offline

Registered: 12/28/14
Posts: 80
Thanks, William, that's great information. If what you're calling the water chute is the same thing as what I was calling the cascading pools then it looks as though I can make it down there from Overhang Camp on a day hike and turn around at that point. We'll have to see how the "real overlander to the left, long and rough climbing high; maybe not worth it" looks. We don't plan to hike much through Phantom Canyon with full packs.

I'm spending way too much time trying to figure it all out using Google Earth and Maps, but the shadows hide the interesting bits. The steep walls and shadows are one of the things that make that place so interesting.


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