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short grand canyon backpack


John B
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The grand canyon presents an early season opportunity to enjoy summer conditions.  My friend Tom and I did a "hit and run" one night backpack trip in the canyon March 24 to March 27.  Tom drove from Denver area to my home in Montrose Thursday, March 23.  We left Montrose Friday, and camped at Monument Valley (just into Arizona off of US 163).  I had never been there before, and found the area very impressive--had great sunset and sunrise views.  Saturday found us up early, and witness to several hundred ultra runners taking off at 7am for 50 mile or 50 kilometer races.  After a great breakfast, we were off to the south rim of grand canyon, arriving at noon, picking up our permit for one night in the canyon.  We took off from grandview point down the grandview trail at 2pm, arriving at our camp area (horseshoe mesa), which is about halfway down from the rim in terms of vertical. The south rim has an elevation of 7200 feet, and we dropped 2400 feet to our campsite.  Got intermittent rain during our hike down, but nothing substantial enough to bother us much.  Arrived at campsite 4pm, at which point the wind decided to welcome us.  We had 35-40mph winds until midnight or so, at which point they quit just as if someone had flipped a switch.  The wind didn't prevent us from hiking from our campsite out to the end of the mesa, which has great views both east and west along the canyon.  We had an excellent overlook of an area called granite canyon.  Sunday morning arrived with perfectly calm weather, and not a cloud in the sky.  We agreed that a return hike to the end of the mesa was a perfect way to start the day.  Returned to our camp for breakfast, broke camp, and had an invigorating climb back up to the south rim.  We spent the afternoon exploring the tourist viewpoints along the rim, and camped for the night at Mather campground, which is adjacent to grand canyon village.  I had not been back to the canyon for 45 years, and must say the degree of development since then was pretty astounding.  In spite of this, getting down from the rim on any of the numerous trails down to the Colorado river soon solves the tourist issue!  We were up early Monday morning, and decided to just drive straight back to my home in western Colorado--it's only a 6 1/2 hour drive.  What a great preview of summer hikes to come!   Here are a few pictures:

link to all pictures:  pix.sfly.com/sJ0QD5pu

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Very nice!! I was just there in February but didn't have time to actually do any hiking :(   Just a quick day trip.  I'm a little jealous. Next time I will!

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Thanks!  I'm planning a trip to the north rim next time, probably next year.

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