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Day 8 - Nankoweap Creek to Colorado River, Little Nankoweap Route to above Redwall

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Sunday, April 17, 2005

7:45p - Above Redwall in Little Nankoweap canyon

I got up at 5 this morning and packed up my camp by headlamp until it was light enough to see. I was all packed and ready to go by 5:45 and headed off down Nankoweap Creek to the Colorado River and the granary ruins in the cliffs there. I had hoped to get there by 8 am to catch first sun on them but Nankoweap Creek had other plans for me. I thought the hike would take about 2 hours since is only about 3 miles, and nothing particularly challenging. It ended up taking over 3 hours and I did not get to the granary until about 9:15. There was still a little sun on one corner of the granary but it was mostly in shadow already.

Nankoweap Creek has an amazing amount of water coming down it, also related to the melting snow on the north rim. The springs along its banks are also flowing at a very high volume so the closer you get to the Colorado River the wider the creek becomes. The grade of the creek to the river below my camping area is also steeper than that above so the creek also runs faster. Above my camping area it was possible to rock hop across the creek but below the camping area that was impossible and whenever I was forced to switch sides I had to take off my hiking boots, put on my Tevas, cross to the other side, take off the Tevas, put my hiking boots back on... I did this 6 or 7 times on the way to the river and each time consumed somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes. I didn't plan on any on this. I still got some pretty good shots of the river and the granary though so "ces't la vie."

Chuck and Sam came down to the river after me and we hung out on the beach at the mouth of Little Nankoweap canyon for most of the afternoon. It was a nice relaxing day.

We had an early dinner, filled up our water bottles and started up Little Nankoweap just before 5, hoping to camp on top of the Redwall. We made it obviously. The bottom portion of the canyon was a lot rougher than I expected with numerous pour-offs to be bypassed. The Redwall itself, in contrast, did not seem that bad. There was one tricky spot near the top where we had to use rope to raise our packs but that was about it. I am not sure what I would have done after scouting the route myself. The problem is there is there is nothing I could not have got up myself but coming down would have been nasty with a pack on.

So I am sleeping without my tent tonight basically because there is no room to pitch it up here. I have a space just barely large enough for my sleeping bad and that's about it. I am not worried about the normal creepy/crawlies way up here though... this is a no animals land. It looks like it is going to be a beautiful night. It's cool with a soft breeze and there is a first quarter Moon almost directly overhead. It's going to be gorgeous when the stars come out.

Heading down Nankoweap Creek to the Colorado River

Nankoweap granary and the Colorado River

Arizona Stemless Hymenoxys above the Colorado River

Beavertail Cactus and Arizona Stemless Hymenoxys

The beach next to Little Nankoweap Canyon

Chuck heading up Little Nankoweap Canyon

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