A recent conversation, with a friend who had just returned from a stay in the Grand Canyon, inspired a reminiscence of my last trip there in mid February 2005. Belated as these notes and pics are, the chronically under fed Trip Reports Forum could use a little fleshing out, and I hope that a few enjoy these scraps that I throw its way.
We drove from our overnight in Kingman AZ, and arrived at the GC Village for our five night, thirty mile hike as a five-inch wet snow was ending. With our late arrival, we walked down a sloppy BA trail to a reserved campsite at Indian Gardens. That night marked the first use of our dual arc alpinist, with which we have grown increasingly enamored. Since my mates initial search for the “bottom” and our chronic entanglement with the three straps, we’ve developed to a level of consummator in tuck and turning finesse. Ours is a dimensionally standard "dual" with a draft tonsil and slight overfill. In temperatures above fifteen to twenty, we can’t imagine using bags, but if we purchased another dual, we would request a more angled (wider at the top) foot box and more quilt width just above the foot box. These changes would provide more comfortable side-by-side back sleeping, and more comfortable back-to-back sleeping. That said, I’m sure that Tom would gladly make any alteration, and we haven’t requested any.
The weather during the trip was mild and wet. Nighttime temperatures stayed unusually warm, in the upper thirties, and cloud cover kept high temperatures in the mid-fifties. Although rain fell every day, those same days brought us patches, sometimes expanses of blue sky, glimpses of distant sunlight, and fog, rising and rolling on sun-warmed canyon walls.
Our third GC trip, the 2005 hike featured water. As bizarre as this sounds, we rarely found ourselves outside the sound of water. Shoes splashing and sucking in mud soup,raindrops drumming nylon, dropping from ledges, percolating through drainages, trickling mini streams, roaring side creeks, deafening rapids or falls and their distant din on the air, February that year, was a rare treat in the GC.
A couple of canyon rats surprised us one morning when they walked past our Phantom Creek camp. Father and son, veterans of nearly two-dozen GC forays, they stopped to chat near the end of their twenty-one day hike. The seventy year old confessed that the rain had taken its toll; that unlike most of his GC adventures, he was ready to hike out and dry out. The father (just kidding) son reminded his dad that the rain had made possible, their successful third attempt at reaching Crystal Rapids. The thought lifted the two men and they explained that their previous two attempts had been thwarted by lack of drinking water. In a moment they had come and gone. A couple of days later, not yet tired of the rainy canyon, we followed them up the BA trail and onto the rim world.
The first of the rainbow sitings began just below the rim.
The hues of green seemed foreign to GC.
Distant view of the Plateau Point overlook.
Bright skies over our destination.
Evening light on Zoroaster.
Up river view from Utah Flats.
Like two dozen shots before, the last picture of the hike included a rainbow.