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 > The Whazoo Family does the Canyon Grand

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whazoo

Idahome

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Joined: 10/12/2007

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Posted: 04/27/11 08:18pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One of my main reasons for buying a truck camper was to have backcountry staging for backpacking, a favorite pastime. Yet since taking delivery of the truck and camper 4 years ago I've gone soft. I mean who wouldn't? Nice foam mattress, forced air, ac, refer stocked with ice cream sandwiches and all that comes with the TC lifestyle. While my life has become less intents and more in camper, I was more than a little happy when my oldest daughter asked me to take her, my DSIL and Mrs. Whazoo on a hike to the Grand Canyon. And not just a hike, but a very tough hike, the Nankoweap Trail. The longest route to the River with the most elevation drop, it's a trail that would make any Nanko weap.

We planned to spend a night in the camper before and after the hike, but due to a snafu in schedule it would only be the last night that we could use the camper. Now sanfu spelled backwards is ufans, and ufans know what a snafu is, we all have them from time to time and we learn to deal with it. And so our hike started a little late in the day, just after lunch and right before nap time, a very tough time for the Whazoo to be walking with a pack on his back.

This trail starts off of the North Rim which is still closed in the middle of March so we have to access it by way of the Buffalo Ranch on the Arizona Strip, a 30 mile long dirt road at a lower elevation. You can see the saddle in the far distance.
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There we started a 3.5 mile hike up Saddle Mountain to intersect the trail, hoping the snow wouldn't stop us. Can you see now why it's called Saddle Mountain?
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Looking back as we climb it's hard to understand why out there, on the flat desert, the ground gave way to running water and this magnificent gully started to become what we call the Grand Canyon. Of course the River had done it before just upriver, it was called Glen Canyon and is now under the waters of Lake Powell. Thankfully the Grand Canyon was spared a watery grave and has become a favorite place to take a hike, raft trip and for some, a fly over. For Thelma and Louise it was a fly over.
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As we hiked a new generation of Whazoo was born, and DSIL is quite the natural at it.
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We lost the trail in snow making us bushwhack, and DD looks very stylish while at it. Lets face it guys, girls have more style even when hiking don't they?
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Reaching the top of the saddle we were in a different world and a different time zone. We were no longer on am or pm, nor AD and BC, we're on GCT, Grand Canyon Time...period. No other time exists as we put one foot in front of another. In the Canyon you get there when you get there and not a minute sooner, or later.
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We were also in the land of vertical, as the landscape drops down from dizzy heights. In fact the Grand Canyon is considered an inverted mountain, you first hike down before climbing up.
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Have I been told to shut my trap? Or have you been trapped, into reading yet another Whazoo trip report?
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Mrs. Whazoo treads a fine line between walking and flying.
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A view from the trail, and no it's not footoshop.
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Getting a late start would have us stopping at Marion Point, about 5 miles and 5 hours into the hike and still at altitude. We left a cache of water here so we wouldn't have to carry so much on the climb out. Water is of course, the single heaviest item we carry.
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As we continued hiking in the morning we could see why it was so cold last night, we were still at snow level.
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The trail is there somewhere, running along the base of the red cliffs. It's hard to see even when standing right in front of it, being only the width of a boot most of the time.
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There always seems to be an old dead tree right where you need them. Thank you old dead tree, just for being there. What I would give to have seen you in your prime.
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Early March won't show us any flowers, so I have added a few pictures here and there of another trip to show how beautiful it can be in spring.
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Nankoweap Creek is our next camp, and of course we're thankful to have unlimited water to drink and listen to, sounding like a small symphony as it flows over the rocks.
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With dinner comes a toast to the Canyon Gods, we were hoping for a successful hike both in and out. This is not the place to twist an ankle, it would require a sky-hook pickup to get out. As you notice the Whazoo drinks Kill Bill when hiking, it compliments the Kill Devil coffee in the morning. Having forgotten insect repellent and deodorant, Kill Bill fits the bill on all counts. Everyone else drinks kool-aid. What can I say, I believe in Jesus but I drink a little too.
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Mice are always an issue in the Canyon, and I have gone to great measures to come up with mouse-proof food hangers. Well, not that great a measure, but I have cut 2 coat hangers to use and made a collar out of thick tin foil to...foil the critters.
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Being stymied by my genius, the vengeful rodents went after my bite valve, (that you put in your mouth) for the hydration bladder. Again, Kill Bill worked as a disinfectant and as I put the bite valve in my mouth I felt no ill effects...
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Excuse me, got cheese?
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We had become human truck campers, carrying our homes on our backs just like a TC.
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There is absolutely no trail from Nankoweap Creek to the River, making us do the rock hop and creek tango on the three mile trek to the confluence.
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The next few pictures are from that earlier trip when plants were beginning to show green.
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As I bent over to look a little closer, this tiny spider threw up his front legs in defiance as if to say "put up your dukes!" I nicknamed him Sugar Ray...
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We'd made it to the River, 14 miles from the truck. My two big toes were bloody even though I wrap all ten before starting a long descent. Having hammer toes has always been a problem on the downhill hikes, but no issues when going up.
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This sandy beach was looking like the good spot for a tent...
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And a swim as DSIL took the plunge in 48ยบ water.
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I had a dream one night that I was a tepee. The next night a dream that I was a wigwam. The Doctor told me I was two tense, like this picture. Can I also say that my DD is intense?
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The Gang says it's time for a climb.
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So we're climbing...
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To the granaries. The kids are already there.
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Having lost my camera's remote control, can I say how much fun it is scrambling to get in place (without buying the farm), take off glasses and smile, in just 10 seconds. Well, I'm not smiling much, that would take another 10 seconds.
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These aren't grannies granaries, and I still wonder why? Why would a person bring their foodstuffs all the way up here? Were they hiding it from the mice?
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Who knows when the kids are little, if they will grow to enjoy the same things as their parents. Thankfully we do share some favorite hobbies with both DDs.
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What would a Whazoo trip report be without a poem? Probably a better trip report, but I do need to keep up with my rhyming friend Bill "Eugarps". This is from the Whazoo's "Simple Man" series and if you look close, there is a simple man in the picture.
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After a night on the River we headed back up to our Nankoweap Creek campsite.
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Within sight of our camp we saw prints in the sand. DD had seen them yesterday and said they were moist. Not being a tracker I can only wonder if that meant they were fresh, as we all glanced around at the rocks and shrubs to see if any were moving, in the shape of a mountain lion.
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Not that I have...butt wouldn't it be fun?
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Chillin at camp, it was an afternoon well spent.
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In my last trip report from the Maze we had the Ninja Hiker. Today we have the Karate Kid.
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Knowing we have 11 miles of bloody hell to climb, we leave early. ("Bloody hell" is a term used by Silversand to describe a terrible dirt road. I think it applies here as well.)
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There is never much of a trail, and chewing bubble gum while walking is not allowed.
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As we climbed our bodies had become the enemy, devoted to causing pain and suffering. Even though the temperatures were in the low 50's we were drenched in sweat. It was going to be a very long day.
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Certain places would have us saying quiet prayers, to not have a good trip and see you next fall.
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Making it to the top of the saddle would see me kneeling at prayer rock, thanking the gods for letting us make it out safely. Or am I just getting sick?
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A last look back before we turn to the 3 mile downhill to the truck camper. We were ecstatic to be this close.
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We had hoped that in 5 days the snow would have melted a bit more, not so as Mrs. Whazoo post holes in my footsteps.
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Was there ever a more beautiful sight after so much physical effort?
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When we bought our Outfitter we got the drawer/bunk option but I had never used it as the bunk. It worked perfectly and even though it's not the TwoMaineiacs wonderful new Chalet, it did serve us well and was quite cozy. I do believe there was also extra room for one of my multiple personalities in our very large queen size bed that lets me sleep like a king.
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That's the end of this trip and the Whazoo Gang bids you adieu.
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Thanks for reading,
Dave & Lynn Rogers
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Post Script: The hike out took 11 hours to make 11 miles and while Mrs. Whazoo and I were beat, the kids still had a little left in the tank. I almost remember the days. We climbed 4 thousand feet to the saddle and dropped another 2 thousand back to the camper. To add salt to our wounds there was a 500 foot set of switchbacks up from a creek bed within a mile of the truck, we could barely move at that point. We were so thankful to have our base camp on 4 wheels with us. Cal, aka cewillis, once said that he's never seen too many pictures of the Grand Canyon, I will certainly hope that's true here. Have a good summer folks!!!!!

fatmanobx

Russellville, Ar. Home Base

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Posted: 04/27/11 08:36pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That is unreal...You are either part goat or CRAZY to make that trip..Really I want to thank you for the pictures of something I would most likely never see if it wasn't for your post. A great post...Thankyou...


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hikerdmb

So Cal

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Posted: 04/27/11 08:39pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That looks like a great trip! Thanks for sharing.


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Eugarps

Hagerstown, MD

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Posted: 04/27/11 08:39pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wow Dave. All that and an un-surpass-able rhyme. You just continue to amaze and inspire. I'm so glad the next generation of Whazoos is way into the same stuff. One of my great joys is seeing our sons exceeding ourselves as they rock climb, hike, mountain bike and backpack their adopted Rocky Mountains. You are indeed a blessed man to have passed on the legacy.

Bill

mockturtle

AZ

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Posted: 04/27/11 08:41pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What can I say, Whazoo? You be da MAN!


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RobertRyan

Australia

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Posted: 04/27/11 08:42pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dave,
Great shots. Were you worried about flash flooding exploring the Canyon? I have been on the North Rim.

GMCPU53

New Hampshire

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Posted: 04/27/11 08:44pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Another fantastic trip report, ! It is true that you can never see too many photos of such a majestic place, however you need to cut back on the photos showing you on the side of a precipice walking along loose rocks and peering over the edge trying to locate the perfect spot to park your TC for the night, Thanks for the great photos and the vertigo. Joe


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Bigfeets

Paso Robles, Ca

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Posted: 04/27/11 09:09pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wow whazoo another great report! The GC is such a beautiful place and your pics got me thinking we should pack up and head out. Gotta love that base camp.

ArcticDodge

Sammamish, WA

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Posted: 04/27/11 09:15pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for sharing your adventure! excellent pictures and commentary! Almost makes me want to pull the packs out of the attic.


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Matho

New Mexico Texas

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Posted: 04/27/11 09:32pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great report.

I know how I would feel after a trip like that. A few Kill Bill's would make it feel better.


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