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Day 2 - Redwall camp to Tapeats camp

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Monday, September 18, 2000

05:00 I had a very good night's sleep and was up early. I ate the raisin and cinnamon bagel that was left over from my flight out and it was positively nasty... way too dry. I packed up all of my gear and started out, down the trail, at 05:50.
06:45 Less than an hour later I was at the top of the Redwall descent and took a short rest break to take some photos and eat my M&Ms. I had gone through a couple of sunny patches but for the most part Muav Canyon was still pretty much in shadows. The night had been refereshingly cool and so far the morning was the same. I knew that would change as I descended further and the sun climbed higher.
07:10 Started down the Redwall break.
07:35 Back at the floor of Muav Canyon. The Redwall descent on the North Bass Trail is one of the easiest Redwall routes that I have seen. It does get a little rough near the bottom but it is a lot easier than the descent from Muav Saddle to the bed of White Creek.

The creek at the base of the Redwall descent was still bone dry and I had a bad feeling about this as I seemed to recall that there was water flowing at this point during my previous trip. I started down the creek and found flowing water after less than 10 minutes of walking. I stopped there to rest, drink as much as I could hold and refill my water bottles.

08:10 Back on the trail.
08:55 Reached the bypass around the Bright Angel gorge. There was water flowing here and lots of birds, both seen and heard. I was in the sun again for a brief period on the hike down from the bottom of the Redwall break but now I was back in the shade again and it was nice and cool. I took a short break to relax and enjoy because I knew that the next stretch was going to be sunny and hot. I only had about one-and-a-half more miles to go today though and was very pleased that I had decided to camp above the Redwall the day before. It was making for a very easy day.
09:10 Started off around the bypass.
09:25 Reached the bottom of the bypass and was deposited back in the bed of White Creek. It was now very sunny and also getting very warm. There was only the occasionally little patch of shade and also the occasional cool breeze.
09:50 - 10:00 Found a nice spot of shade and took a 10 minute rest.
10:30 Reached the top of the Tapeats gorge and headed back down into the shade to wait out the heat of the day. The hiking was pretty much over for the day and all I had to do now was wait until later in the day and go back above to find a place to camp for the night. I met a small group of other hikers who had camped at the base of the Redwall the night before and were now heading down to Shinumo Creek and Bass Camp. We talked for a little while before they departed.

Having plenty of time and not much to do I decided to head down to Redwall Canyon and check-out the route up to the Tonto and the burro route. This was part of the plan for getting here early today. I had totally missed the Redwall Canyon route on the prior trip which made for a nightmare of a hike along the burro route from the top of the Tapeats gorge. Using Redwall Canyon to get up to the Tonto should cut a couple of hours off that... if I could do it. From what I had heard there were a couple of steep, dry falls that were 70° or so climbs and these had me a little concerned, having never attempting anything like this before.

When I arrived at the mouth of Redwall Canyon and started walking up it I became immediately concerned. The cliffs were high and the Tonto platform seemed a long way up. When I arrived at the first dry fall I could not immediately see any way to climb it. There was a hugh depression in the gravel directly below the fall which had been created by water coming off of the fall and there was no way to actual get up to the climbable portion of the fall from here. Looking around it seemed possible that I would be able to pull myself up onto a ledge on the left side of the fall and then walk along the ledge to get above it. This seemed the only course so I gave it a try. It turned out to be pretty easy without my backpack but I doubted that I would be able to do it with the pack on. I would have to try to push it up ahead of me or pull it up with a rope later. The first obstacle was out of the way. A little further up the canyon I came to two other falls which were actually very easy to get around without any difficult climbing.

Then I came to the first of the two 70°. climbs. On initially looking at these I said "No way!" and was ready to admit defeat... again. Then I thought about it and said "I really do want to get up there" and went up for a closer look. Yes, the falls were steep, but they were not sheer and highly polished like I had expected. There were numerous ridges and indentations along the sides that could be used for hand and foot holds and maybe I could do this. I started up and was immediately surprised at how easy it was. I did not relish the thought of going back down, though, when I could not see where I was putting my feet. A slight problem.

The next fall seemed to be a little more steep than the prior one but the hand and foot holds seemed to be placed better. After doing the other one this one was a breeze to get up and seemed like it would be a lot easier to get back down. I was now very close to the top of the gorge and the Tonto Platform seemed to be only 40 or 50 feet above me. I walked up the canyon a little further and I saw numerous places where I could probably climb up to the Tonto. I did not even bother to try becuase I knew that after coming this far nothing would stop me from getting out. There was actually a little brush clogged ravine just to the right of the last fall that seemed to be the easiest climb as long as I could get through the brush. That was the plan anyway. Now to see if I could get back down.

The climb down the first fall was a little tricky but easy. I could see all of the footholds and managed to connect with them even if the moves were a little awkward. The second fall was a problem though. I just could not see where to go with my feet because of protruding overhangs above them. It was a lot easier coming up. I noticed a series of ledges over on the right side of canyon and thought I would be able to work my way down using these. The bottom ledge was a bit on the high side but I figured if nothing else I could jump to the floor from there. I knew it would not be possible to go up that way but I should be able to get down and I did.

Getting back out to the mouth of Redwall Canyon from that point was a breeze and in no time I was back with my gear. The big question now was would I be able to get back up Redwall Canyon with my pack on or would I have to be hauling it up behind me. That could wait until the morning. It was now getting close to noon so I sat down and ate some lunch.

I spent the rest of the day just lounging and relaxing in the shade by the creek and waiting for the day to come to an end. I had a book with me and spent most of the time reading. There were a lot of little birds hanging around in the gorge and I really enjoyed watching them as well. There were a number of Canyon Wrens but all of them just made this little peeping noise and not the familar song that I had so come to enjoy. There were also a lot of birds that looked like sparrows and a few others that I could not identify. I also drank as much water as I could to keep myself well hydrated. I knew that tomorrow was going to be a long, hot and dry day with no access to water from the time I left this creek until the time I arrived at Shinumo Creek way over on the other side of Holy Grail Temple. I was also very concerned about the place where I lost the trail during the prior trip and hoped that whatever I missed that time would be a lot more obvious this time.

16:30 I finally decided to move back up onto the Tonto to look for a camp for the night. I refilled all of my water bottles first. I knew I would need to do this again in the morning but figured the more water I pumped now the less I would have to do then. I also wanted to continue to drink as much as possible.
17:00 I had camp setup just above the Tapeats gorge and it again had one of those awesome views that I have come to love about the Canyon. I was still not hungry enough to eat so I sat down on the cliff overlooking the gorge got out my notebook and started to write. I watched the shadows creep up the cliff faces as the day dwindled away into nothingness. The prior evening had been simply gorgeous and this one seemed to be headed in the same direction. After eating dinner and getting ready to retire for the evening I sat down again and watched the first few stars begin to light up in the sky. The color of the sky was the most intense shade of blue and the Canyon itself was fading into various shades of grey. My mind starts to search for song at times like this and the first to come to mind was The Moody Blues Twilight Time - It's great to be a child of the Seventies. One of these days I'm going to say screw the extra weight and bring some music with me. Listening to Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon in a place like this would be a real trip.


Floor of Muav Canyon from just above the Redwall

Moon setting from Muav Canyon

Top of the Bright Angel gorge in White Creek, Muav Canyon

Cliffs of Bright Angel shale, middle Muav Canyon

Chockstone in Tapeats gorge, Muav Canyon

Chockstone in Redwall Canyon

Flowers along White Creek in the Tapeats gorge, Muav Canyon

Camp for second night just above the Tapeats Gorge in Muav Canyon

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