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Day 1 - Park Boundary to Redwall camp

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Sunday, September 17, 2000

05:30 The day did not start off well. My body had not yet adjusted to the time shift and I was awake at 02:30 (05:30 EDT). I tossed and turned and tried to get back to sleep until 5:30 when I decided to just get up and start getting ready. The lodge started serving breakfast at 04:00 because it was hunting season and all of the hunters like to get an early start, so it was no problem getting breakfast. I was all set to go and ended up leaving Jacob Lake at 07:00.
07:45 Reached the turn-off for the Forest Service roads and that's where the "fun" began. I realized earlier in the morning that I did not have my directions to the trailhead and neither did I have a map of the Forest Service roads. All I had was the crap directions that the Backcountry Office gives you with your permit. No mileages, just road numbers... for roads that have no numbers and which all look alike. Luckily there were quite a few hunters on the roads and they did have maps though none of them had any knowledge of Swamp Ridge Road or roads leading to the National Park boundary since they are not allowed to hunt there. After stopping and asking for help a couple of times I finally found my way to roads that looked at least slightly familiar from the prior year.
09:00 Arrived at Swamp Ridge Road and drove about a half mile in past the park boundary and found a place to park the car.
09:15 Started walking the 8 miles or so to Swamp Point. At this point I was thinking that I would only have to walk about half the distance to Swamp Point. Some members from the Grand Canyon Pioneers Society were planning a weeekend trip to Powell Plateau and I was hoping to have them catch up with me about mid-way to Swamp Point and that I would get a ride the rest of the way. Unfortunately someone in the group ended up getting a flat tire which put them a bit behind schedule and as a result I ended up walking all the way to Swamp Point.
10:15 - 10:30 Short rest after walking non-stop for an hour, just about the time I was hoping for my road to show up. The scent of the Ponderosa pines wafting through the forest was wonderful and it was a much more pleasant smell than that of the prior year, when numerous controlled burns in the forest had my nostrils burning from all of the smoke. I was also enjoying the cool breezes and knew I would miss these once I started out below the rim. The southwest was in the middle of a heat wave and I was expecting temperatures near 100 degrees in the inner canyon. Some people were calling the heat wave their Indian Summer but that made no sense to me since Indian Summer (at least back east) usually comes well after the end of the real summer and that was still almost a week away.
11:40 Arrived at Swamp Point still feeling pretty good in spite of the 8-mile walk. I was already thinking about extending the hike for the day in an effort to get further into the Canyon and further away from the "civilized" world. At this point I was beginning to wonder what had happened to the GCPS folks. There were numerous vehicles parked at Swamp Point and I was wondering if maybe they had decided to start out earlier than they had originally planned or maybe I had gotten the dates confused. It was still early and I had plenty of time so I sat down on the rim and had my lunch and just rested and waited.

Some people finally showed up a little after noon and told me of the problem with the flat tire. I got to meet Dan and Dianne Cassidy and Betty Leavengood and handful of others whose names I just don't remember at this point. We talked a while and took some "interesting" photos while just hanging out.

13:10 I took my leave and started down the trail to Muav Saddle and Teddy's Cabin. It would be so easy to just stay at the cabin that night and I was sorely tempted to do so. It would also be very nice to wake up further on down into the Canyon. I could not make up my mind. My permit would be good regardless of what I decided so I just headed for the cabin and would worry about it a little later.
13:35 Arrived at the cabin and met some of the GCPS folks who had just hauled some water down from the rim in preparation for their Powell Plateau adventure. There is no water up on the plateau and you must bring whatever you will need with you. For several days this can amount to quite a bit of water. We talked some more and took some more photos and I signed myself in at the cabin's visitor register. I felt too good and it was still too early to quit for the day so I decided I would try to make it to the Redwall gorge for the first night's camp.
14:30 Put on a fresh pair of socks and took to the trail again.
14:45 Passed the big cairn that marks the start of the descent to White Creek and the floor of Muav Canyon.
15:00 I reached the dry bed of White Creek and began following it. Yipes!!! I had almost forgotten how truly awful this section of the trail was. It has got to be the worst stretch of the entire trail but luckily it does not really take that long... mostly because it is little more than a controlled slide to the floor of the canyon.

After about 5 minutes longer I reached a section where there was some water flowing and stopped for a 10-minute rest before continuing on. I immediately noticed that there was not nearly as much water flowing as there had been in the prior year.

16:15 - 16:30 I stopped again to refill my water bottles because the creek was starting to dry up and I did not want to have to go hunting for water before making camp for the night.
16:50 Reached the top of the Redwall gorge and starting looking for a good camp site as I continued down the trail. There really are not very many open spaces for camping in this area but there are a few.
17:00 I finally found a good location that was right on the edge of the Redwall rim. The view was to-die-for and my timing was perfect. I setup camp and sat down for dinner at 17:30 and watched the fading sun and deepening shadows on the cliffs over on the eastern side of Muav Canyon. The day had started off bad but had gotten progressively better and I hoped that this was a good sign for the rest of the trip. I had hiked probably close to 11 miles, still felt almost as fresh as when I had started, and didn't even have a single blister or sore muscle to show for it.


Swamp Ridge Road heading out to Swamp Point

Trees along Swamp Ridge Road

Bob at Swamp Point

Muav Canyon from Muav Saddle

Rainbow Plateau from Muav Canyon

View down Muav Canyon

USGS triangulation benchmark

Camp for first night, above Redwall in Muav Canyon

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