March 2012 Recommendations?
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Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
March 2012 Recommendations? on 05/09/2011 22:18:47 MDT Print View

Hi, All. Sorry it's been a while, but I find that I have little time to goof off, here.

Anyway, my deployment ends in January 2012. At some point in the couple of months after that I get post-deployment block leave. I have a trip planned with the family, but I'll still have more time.

So, anyone have good recommendations for a 100-mile-ish hike in March? I figured now was a good time to ask, since folks may have recently been out hiking.

Here are some thought's I've had so far:

Not a hike- but paddling part or all of the Wilderness Waterway in Everglades NP is on my life list, and best done in winter or fringe seasons. I might be able to pull off February instead of March. It's expensive thought, what with travel to Florida, renting a kayak, and hiring a shuttle. A hike within driving distance of Colorado would be much cheaper and more wife-friendly.

Sections 1 and 2 of the Hayduke Trail are 88 miles nicely split by a stop in Moab, and I could mope around Needles longer to fill it out if needs be. Most folks say to start that hike in March. Skurka makes a map/info bundle, so research is easy. I'm still reading the trail guidebook to see if any other sections look good.

White Rim Road in Canyonlands is about 100 miles. It could be done as a big loop, leaving your car at the visitor's center. Downside- almost all of it isn't a trail, it's a road used by 4WD enthusiasts and mountain bikers.

That early in the year I figured that any truly interesting hikes in the Grand Canyon would be treacherous, but if anyone has recommendations I'm all ears.

It may be a while until I can check this tread again, so don't get discouraged if I take a while to respond. But this trip is important to me, coming as it will after a 1-year deployment in Afghanistan.

Big Hug! (Even Rog)

Edited by acrosome on 05/09/2011 22:28:21 MDT.

Benjamin Mayberry
(benmayberry) - F
Re: March 2012 Recommendations? on 05/13/2011 22:00:17 MDT Print View

I did a thru-paddle of the Everglades this January and can't recommend it enough. Picking up the guidebook by Johnny Molloy is a good place to start researching a trip and he also recommends a more diverse route through the Everglades than what the Wilderness Waterway has to offer - his recommendation hits the 'inside' and 'outside' and everything in between while the WW is pretty much all inside. I stayed at the Everglades Hostel the night before my trip and also rented my canoe through them and arranged my shuttle through them - a good one-stop outfitter.

I just finished Section 2 of the Hayduke and and am typing this from Moab right now before I finish Section 1 in a few days. Section 2 is equal parts amazing and challenging. Haven't finished Section 1 yet but since it's largely in Arches, I imagine it'll be rewarding. I used Skurka's Bundle from the Grand Canyon South Rim until here and found it to be more useful than the guidebook - purchasing it is a good place to start your trip planning, especially if you already have the official guidebook which it sounds like you do.

So I've done those two trips and think you won't be disappointed with either. Shoot me a PM if you have any further questions.

Best of luck

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Another option on 05/19/2011 23:38:09 MDT Print View

PM sent to Ben.

Another Hayduke segment I'd consider is making a loop of sections 13 and 14. Start at Bright Angel visitors' center, take the Ken Patrick trail to the Nankoweap trail, then loop through the Grand Canyon and up Kaibab trail back to the visitors' center. But I understand that the road is closed south of Jacob Lake until mid-March, so I'm looking into possible low approaches to Nankoweap via Rt 89A and Lee's Ferry.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Another option on 05/20/2011 01:25:32 MDT Print View

Hey Dean! Great to hear you'll be getting away from the front line.

Come and do the coast to coast walk with me.

I promise not to take a thermometer. :-)

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Coast-to-coast on 05/25/2011 02:22:22 MDT Print View

The only coast-to-coast I'm doing any time soon is from one coast of Afghanistan to the other. Which is difficult, as Afghanistan has no coasts. But I'll take what I can get.

HOWEVER I will be in London in September for R&R with my family. Please don't show up, since by that point I will have been celibate for nine months and I'll be otherwise occupied... :)

Edited by acrosome on 05/25/2011 02:22:58 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
March '12 on 05/25/2011 15:01:55 MDT Print View

No reliable water sources on the White Rim. It's been run self-supported by folks pushing a goofy mountain bike-rickshaw combo.

Aside from a bit of ice on the upper 2k of the N-facing routes the Grand Canyon is primo in March. Down South Bass, over on the Tonto, up New Hance.

Brendan Swihart
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
March 2012 Recommendations? on 05/25/2011 16:22:09 MDT Print View

You could probably do 100 miles in the Robber's Roost area. Not a loop or thru, but I just did 40ish miles there last weekend and it's fantastic. I feel like we barely scratched the surface.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
March 2012 post-deployment hike on 05/27/2011 03:42:22 MDT Print View

Hmm. Those rumors I heard of a lower-elevation access to the Nankoweap trailhead in GRCA that is more reliably free of snow and ice than the approach from the Kaibab Plateau is looking more and more real. (The last 30 miles or so of Rt 67 to bright Angel visitors' center is often impassible due to snow this time of year.) I presume that this lower access is along forest service roads south from Rt 89 near Lee's Ferry. I need to research it more, but if this is accurate then the GRCA hike is looking very good...

David-

Do you mean NO water sources at all, or just nothing potable without treatment? What I've read says "no potable water sources", but then the NP guidebooks say that anywhere that treated water isn't available. Apparently they don't consider people who are willing to treat their own water. I was hoping that there were sources I could treat, but if not I guess that one is out.

Brendan-

I'll read up on Robber's Roost.

Thanks, All!

Edited by acrosome on 05/27/2011 03:52:15 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
White Rim water on 05/27/2011 11:05:50 MDT Print View

Dean, aside from the Green River from Hardscrabble Bottom north I am not aware of any reliable water source along the White Rim road. There are potholes in the sandstone and tanks in various side canyons that likely hold water after a rain, possibly for quite a while, but depending on those is obviously problematic. That said, I've always ridden it in a day carrying all my water, and thus never bothered to exaustively research this subject.

The lower Nankoweep access is via House Rock Valley and Forest Service road 8910. Usually no problem year round. Can be sandy in places (4x4 not needed, just don't drive stupid).

Reading further into your second Hayduke Loop: that could be a really fun trip, especially in winter/spring when no one is up there. Bear in mind, the North Kaibab tops out at over 8k, and in March the trails on the rim back in the trees could easily have 3+ feet of snow.

They typically keep the gate on 67 locked until May, but you can drive around that on dirt roads easily. I've been back at the upper Nankoweep Trail in early April during a very low snow year (2007).

Edited by DaveC on 05/27/2011 11:15:44 MDT.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Closure on 06/14/2011 03:36:21 MDT Print View

Just to close this out-

After reading a LOT more about it I have pretty much decided upon making a loop out of the part of the Hayduke Trail through Grand Canyon. There is nearly year-round access to the Nankoweap Trail via forest service roads, as others have mentioned. The road gets as close as a three-mile hike on Forrest Service trail 57 to reach Nankoweap.

It is looking likely that I'll do this in late March, which is essentially ideal. There will still be snow on the Kaibab Plateau, but a few people with whom I have corresponded have said by then the snow is reduced enough that it is usually easier to posthole occasionally than to strap on snowshoes.

I have ordered Skurka's Hayduke hiking bundle for reference, but in the meanwhile have been reading a couple of GRCA guidebooks. One (Hiking Grand Canyon Loops- George Steck) includes a variant where one never crosses the Colorado River and instead bushwhacks along the north bank with a few dips into the back-country along the Horsethief Trail. Unfortunately the book is mostly the ramblings and reminiscences of an 85-year-old coot who last hiked the route in 1989, so actual descriptions of route-finding are lacking. There are no end of anecdotes about a lizard eating a scorpion, his son's bout with diarrhea, etc., etc.- which actually are interesting but don't help one to navigate.

Anyway, I'm already picking out campsites, etc.

Thanks, all.