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Trip Report - April, 2005 - Nankoweap, Mystic Falls, Kolb Arch and Little Nankoweap

Well, this trip did not go off exactly as planned but it was still a very good trip. I love the Nankoweap area and it would be pretty had to have a bad trip there.

When I started planning this trip I was extremely worried about snow in the vicinity of Saddle Mountain, coming in on the trail from House Rock Valley, because it was going to be so early in the season. Luckily even though it was a very snowy winter on the north rim the spring temperatures were high enough to get rid of most of the snow. I hit a couple of very small patches at the high elevations close to the Nankoweap trailhead but nothing major and nothing at all to worry about.

Unfortunately I had given absolutely no thought to the melting snow and the runoff caused by same. A normally dry drainage coming down from the saddle between Saddle Mountain and the north rim was full of dark brown, snow melt runoff and added a little bit of a complication in a couple of places in getting to the Nankoweap trailhead. Originally I had planned on going in on the Marion-Seiber route and the plans for the rest of the trip were sort of key to this. However, when I arrived at the Nankoweap trailhead I could hear lots of water running down in that drainage as well. Since I had never done the route before but knew there were some normally dry pour-offs to be negotiated, that would now have water running over them, common sense got the better of me and I decided to go in on the Nankoweap Trail instead.

Going in on the Nankoweap Trail totally messed with my day hikes (and my feet), as I was camped but further down in the Nankoweap drainage than I wanted to be. I went from the Nankoweap trailhead to Nankoweap Creek in one day and I could not make myself go any further. Doing a day hike the next day from there to Mystic Falls was very long and took a serious toll on my feet. Doing another day hike from there to within a mile of the Kolb Arch didn't help. The planned day hike to the top of Nankoweap Mesa for the next day got cancelled and I just went down to the river.

I was lucky enough to hook up with Ranger Chuck for the Kolb Arch day hike and he was also interested in trying this new and improved Little Nankoweap Route but he had to go out a day earlier than I wanted. Since the Nankoweap Mesa day hike got canceled this worked out rather well and I took a nice easy day and went down to the Colorado River and the Nankoweap granary in the morning and then over to hang out on the beach at Little Nankoweap in the afternoon. Later that day I started the hike out on the Little Nankoweap Route with Ranger Chuck and Ranger Sam. We camped above the Redwall that night and completed the hike the next morning.

camera Photo map

Day 1 - San Francisco Peaks
Day 2 - Grand Canyon, South Rim
Day 3 - Flagstaff, Airzona
Day 4 - Saddle Mountain Trail to Nankoweap Trailhead
Day 5 - Nankoweap Trail to Nankoweap Creek
Day 6 - Mystic Falls day hike
Day 7 - Kolb Arch day hike
Day 8 - Nankoweap Creek to Colorado River, Little Nankoweap Route to above Redwall
Day 9 - Little Nankoweap Route to rim
Day 10 - Saddle Mountain Trail back to parking area
Day 11 - San Francisco Peaks
Day 12 - Monument Valley day trip
Day 13 - Tuzigoot Ruin day trip
Day 14 - Flagstaff Arboretum

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