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Trip Report - April, 2017 - Nankoweap, Kolb Natural Bridge & Marion-Seiber Backpacking Trip

So I finally got another shot at Nankoweap and the Kolb Natural Bridge. This trip was originally supposed to happen in the previous year, April 2017, but that trip never even got off of the ground because of a couple of friends/hiking buddies that signed up for it who were not prepared for what they were signing up for. Crap happens... and this trip made up for it. It actually worked out better this way as the weather this year was much nicer.

The team for this trip consisted of: my cousin John, who had been on two previous trips with me to Deer Creek and Thunder River; my friend Max, who had done a previous trip with me down to Phantom Ranch and also the second trip with John to Deer Creek and Thunder River; my friend Janice, who had done the first trip with John to Deer Creek and Thunder River; and myself. Max has also done several long day hikes with me in the mountains of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Janice did a couple of mountains with Max and I when he was getting ready for his Deer Creek/Thunder River Trip. There were no Grand Canyon virgins on this trip. My hiking buddy Pam did do this trip with me back in 2012 as a Grand Canyon virgin and considering she had never hiked the Grand Canyon before it was a remarkable accomplishment.

This time the trip went off without a hitch and the pieces just fell into place as they should. Everyone had read the trip reports and knew what to expect... mostly. It wasn't until the last day when we were hiking out on the Marion-Seiber Route that Janice told me she did not understand there was a difference between a "trail" and a "route". She thought they were just different names for the same thing. Surprise! 😎

Everyone did remarkably well and there were no major injuries. There were some sore knees and some blisters but that's usually par for the course for a Grand Canyon trip and to be expected, especially on a trip as rugged as this one.

John and Max did not make it up to the Kolb Natural Bridge and it was just Janice and myself who made it up there. John bailed out at the bottom of bypass to get around the pour-off leading up to the bridge because of some knee trouble. He took one look at the slope we had to climb to get around it and wanted no part of having to climb back down. Max gave out just above the pour-off as he had just run out of energy and decided it was better to just have a long rest in some shade.

We all missed out on the other ruins up near Mystic Falls as we just ran out of time on that day. I decided on a later start for the camp move over to Marion-Seiber and the route getting over there ended up taking a lot longer than it should have. We all made it down to the granary at the Colorado River though so no big loss on that.

Trip highlights

  • Doing another Grand Canyon backpacking trip with John, Max and Janice
  • Absolutely gorgeous weather
  • Sleeping out under the stars for five nights
  • Late moon rises and dark skies at night
  • An incredible bloom of flowers
  • Playing in the water at the Colorado River
  • Free beer for all of us from a river trip
  • Getting to see the Kolb Natural Bridge again
  • Bringing someone else to see the Kolb Natural Bridge
  • Being more successfully at reconnecting with the Nankoweap Trail than on the prior trip


Day 1 - Saddle Mountain trailhead to Marion Point camp
Day 2 - Marion Point camp to Nankoweap Creek
Day 3 - Nankoweap granary day hike and moving camp to upper Nankoweap
Day 4 - Day hiking to the Kolb Natural Bridge
Day 5 - Moving camp over to Marion-Seiber
Day 6 - Hiking the Marion-Seiber Route back to the Nankoweap Trail
Day 7 - Epilogue
Larger version (1224 x 1584) camera Photo map
Larger version (1224 x 1584) camera Photo map

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