Jul 212014

Jumpup canyon Kaibab National Forest ArizonaI have never experienced such a remote and isolated place surrounded by a palpable silence as Jumpup Point, a narrow peninsula of land jutting out into Grand Canyon.

The drive

Rocky FR201 Kaibab National Forest Arizona44 miles of gravel road in the Kaibab National Forest removed me from civilization.  The last 10 miles along FR201 are a brutal drive over a rocky road that appears not to have seen a grader for a while.  It took me 1.5 hours avoiding the potential tire punching pointy rocks and crawling over slickrock boulders.  But the reward at the end was entirely worth it.

Meadow FR22 Kaibab National Forest ArizonaFrom high plateau pines and meadows a drop of 2500 feet (762 meters) in elevation brought me through the Juniper and Pinyon to a low elevation of heat and seeking shade amongst the sparse desert environment.

FR236 Kaibab National Forest ArizonaDefinitely need a high clearance vehicle to make the last 10 miles.

Being there

Jumpup canyon, point & beyond Grand Canyon ArizonaI went alone to be with my cluttered brain thinking about the future, or at least what I plan to do at the end of this summer season. Yet what I discovered was just to be in the NOW of this most amazing place.

Esplande from Jumpup Point Grand Canyon ArizonaIt took a while to settle in to this absolute silence surrounded by a canyon so vast.  I felt disoriented to my place here.  What is the name of that point, drainage and temple?  Hey, I’m into geography.

Jumpup trail Grand Canyon ArizonaYet after I set up camp and had dinner I finally settled in and watched the late sun rays glow off canyon walls and create shadows in the depths.

Esplande from Jumpup Point Grand Canyon ArizonaNo signs of human activity within the many miles of sight.  The western wind brought a scent of dry desert.

Shadow over Colorado River canyon from Jumpup Point Grand Canyon ArizonaI talked out loud to break the silence yet felt intruded upon by the distant sound of an occasional jet which I could not even see.

Sundog from Jumpup Point Kaibab National Forest ArizonaPre-sunset a sundog appeared high above mountains on the distant horizon.

Sunset from Jumpup Point Kaibab National Forest ArizonaAnd as sunset blazed across the western sky a sense of calm finally came to me.

I was HERE, NOW, and that’s all I needed to be.

Jul 082014

01 a534 Roaring Springs canyon Kaibab Trail NR GRCA NP AZ 1of2 pic g (768x1024)Think spring and fall to hike smart in Grand Canyon.  Summer temperatures deep within the canyon often exceed 100 F (38 C).  This view of the North Kaibab Trail down Roaring Springs Canyon was taken in August when by 8am the trail below was already exposed to sun.  I wouldn’t normally hike the inner canyon this time of year but was headed first to Cottonwood Camp for the night, only 7 miles down, and then on to Phantom Ranch in the early morning to begin an experience of a lifetime rafting the Colorado River.

The North Kaibab Trail is 14 miles to the river with a change of about 6,000 feet (1828 meters) in elevation so begins in a forest and descends into desert getting warmer by about 5 F (15 C) every 1000 feet (304 meters).

Summer hiking in Grand Canyon requires early morning and late afternoon travel with at least three liters of water for each hiker.  Keep hydrated and eat plenty of salty snacks.  Stay in the shade and/or near water between 11am and 4pm.  Know your limits because this is a very challenging hike.

For more information about hiking the inner canyon go to the Grand Canyon National Park website.  And have a great hike!