October 13, 2003 - Grand Canyon - 4 Days
Grandview - South Kaibab
Kathy scoping out our route from Shoshone Point
Day 0 - We had flown into Phoenix the previous day and booked two nights in the suite at the Cameron Trading Post Hotel. Nice place to stay, with a good restaurant and lots of stuff to buy. We normally live at 150 feet elevation, and always plan on spending a couple of days at higher altitude before heading down into the Canyon. We drove the South Rim and tried to locate our route from Shoshone Point, with little success. The trail in this section of the Tonto just blends into the landscape.
Day 1 - We arrived at Grandview Point before dawn, and were on the trail just as the sun rose. The weather was cool and nice for hiking, but despite the temperature, the sun was strong and made it feel warmer than it was. We passed only a few people on the way down to Horseshoe Mesa. Our destination for the day was Cottonwood Creek, so we spent a couple of hours lounging around on the Mesa before heading down the trail to Cottonwood.
The trail from the Mesa to Cottonwood Creek was reasonable, but care was needed on the loose surface near the bottom. We met a group of 11 at the drainage, and would leapfrog with them a couple of times until we left Grapevine. After a rest in a shady area at the bottom, we started moving out and met up with Bruce, a fellow poster from the Grand Canyon E-Group, and his friend. We chatted for a while and then headed out to find a camp for the night.
Cottonwood Creek was flowing, and there was no shortage of water, although we had packed enough to reach Grapevine and didn't fill up at Cottonwood. As we rounded the corner into the West drainage at Cottonwood we spotted the large group setting up camp, so we backtracked around the corner out of sight and found a nice spot to set up a few hundred feet off of the trail. We had left our gas stove home for this trip to try out the much smaller and lighter Esbit, solid fuel stove. The Esbit stove worked fine, and used two tablets per day between morning coffee and a hot evening meal.
Day 2 -
Up early, we broke camp and passed by the large group camped at the top of the drainage. Shortly, we started contouring the Grapevine drainage. At the Eastern branch, we found running water and filled up for three days of hiking, not counting on finding any additional water sources on this trip. We rested for a couple of hours at the Western branch of Grapevine where we saw our first collared lizard. After a long, hot hike, we stopped for the night above Grapevine Rapids
Day 3 - We broke camp and hit the trail before sunrise. We hadn't gotten as far as we had planned the day before, and we wanted to get to the Western edge of the Cremation area to make the hike out easier the following day. We almost stepped on a snake crossing the trail, but it didn't seem to care if we were there or not. The day was long, and the three legs of Cremation drainage at the end of the day were not a welcome sight. By the time we found a campsite, the sun was already starting to set.
Day 4 - We broke camp in the dark, and hiked a half mile on the Tonto to the junction of the South Kaibab trail. We met a young couple who had also camped in the area the night before, but we had not seen or heard them before now. The South Kaibab is like a highway compared to the Tonto, and we made good time. We stopped at Cedar Ridge for an hour for food and rest, and then headed out. We reached the trailhead just at noon, and took the shuttle back to the Visitor's Center. We had our rental car parked at Grandview, so we called for a cab to drive us back to the car.
The ride back to Flagstaff was pleasant, with Mt. Humphreys showing its Fall colors.
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