|Spring Break 2007:
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|Author:||Sir Sam [ Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:02 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Spring Break 2007:|
Looking Glass rock:
Looking Glass rock is a domed rock formation with a nearly circular arch-hole for which it is named. Looking Glass rock is on BLM lands. The east side is best for viewing in the morning, and the west side best in the afternoon. The east side view requires a little bit of walking from the west side parking lot.
The Klondike Bluffs are located just inside Arches National Park, these pictures are taken from Utah State land looking toward the bluffs at sunset.
Water Holes Slot Canyon:
Water Holes Slot Canyon is located just a few miles south of Page, is easily accessible by car and a short climb and offers a slot canyon experience to even the most novice hiker to those with experience with rappelling. Water Holes canyon is accessible as an "at large" hiking area, however both lower and upper Antelope Canyons are more regulated and costly. Water holes requires a hiking permit which can be purchased at the Lechee-e Chapter Navajo Nation permit office, the office is a little tricky to locate as you must drive past a few buildings to find the permit office which is located in something resembling a portable office or double wide. A nice new building is under construction next to it and may be the future home of the permit office. The permit costs $6 per person per day. In about 4 hours you can see all the of the Water Holes Slot Canyon that does not require rappelling.
Both Lower and Upper Antelope Canyon are more expensive and more crowded however, the fee for Lower Antelope Canyon is $21 per person for one hour and a Similar fee exists for the upper Canyon. I can only surmise that there is a penalty if you were to stay in the lower canyon for more than one hour, there is a photographers permit available for unlimited time, however I did not inquire as to the cost. The names of Upper and Lower are something of a misnomer, the Lower Canyon is located to the North, and the Upper to the South. To visit the Upper canyon you pay your fee, park in the parking lot, and then are driven in by Jeep to the Lower Canyon, I do not know of the time limit imposed there. The lower canyon parking lot is just on the other side of the road, you pay your fee and then are allowed to hike freely in the Canyon, however there is a guide down in the canyon to provide assistance, or in other words, to keep you honest down there.
The parking lot for Water Holes Canyon is on the North-East side of the bridge crossing the canyon. There is an entrance through the fence that leads to a marked path that descends into the canyon. The path from the lot to the rim of the canyon is little more than a walking trail, but the descent requires some routefinding and careful footing but is relatively short. From where the path reaches the bottom of the canyon you can go either east or west. Heading east will take you through a short section of slot canyon and then into a wider open canyon. If you continue on east for 10-15 minutes of hike time you will reach the "Good Narrows" this is one of the more interesting parts of the canyon that is accessible by foot and does not require climbing gear, eventually you will reach a large fall that you will be unable to climb without equipment. During my visit a group had descended from further up the canyon with the assistance of a rappel rope, they had hiked further east overland and then entered the canyon.
Now if you head west from the slot canyon entrance you will need to descend 2 large obstacles, The first being a sandstone dropoff about 8 feet high, and the second being an unidentified car wedged into the slot at about 10-12 feet higher than the canyon floor below. Both are possible to traverse without any climbing equipment bit with a little skill and sure footing, as is typical both are easier to climb back up, so if you make it down you should have less trouble getting back up. After you get over these two obstacles you will go a short distance through a fairly tight slot until the canyon opens up and there is a large drop-off into a tight slot canyon that is about 15 feet deep. You will need climbing gear to pass this point or to enter the canyon via an overland route and then descend into the canyon further west.
All of the waypoints shown on the following map are only approximate since all of the locations are very easy to identify from the main paved road.
The Great Thumb of the Grand Canyon:
The Great Thumb of the Grand Canyon is a region located in the mostly unvisited western portion of Grand Canyon National Park. The area is accessible by road from the South Rim, and by hiking in from the canyon. While the Great Thumb is part of the National Park the road to access it rests on what was formerly National Park but is now tribal land. Most of the mesa top has been returned to the Havasupai. The Havasupai view all of the mesa top as sacred land and refuse to admit that they are suppose to allow passage through their land to access National Park. I attempted to access the great thumb this March of 2007, and while I had back-country permits from the National Park Service for the Fossil Bay back-country area the Havasupai tribal police refused access across their Tribal land.
The South Bass trailhead lies within the National Park, however accessing the trailhead essentially requires that you cross Tribal lands for a short period for which the Havasupai are more than willing to charge $25 per vehicle per entry; meaning if you leave the road on tribal lands, go into town for food and come back, you will need to pay $25 to re-enter the tribal lands. When you pay to enter tribal lands you must declare how long you stay will be inside the park and therefore when you will be exiting, I can only surmise that they will also charge a fee if you were to come out later than you declared on your permit, therefore it may be a good precautionary measure to show that you will be out for one or two more days than you plan to.
It *may* be possible to access the South Bass trailhead without passing through Tribal lands, but in the end you will probably think it would have been easy, quicker, and a less bumpy ride to pay the $25. On the map the park boundary road appears to stay completely in the park bounds and goto the South Bass trailhead, however after I made my attempt to access the Great Thumb and returned to the Grand Canyon National Park back-country office to report back on what I had learned(they new very little since very few if any people attempt to do this), I was informed that the park boundary road is closed to the public and that it was marked as closed. My only comment is that it is possible to get into the park boundary road and avoid paying the $25 fee without passing any "road closed" or "do not enter" signs, however, like I said before, the road is VERY rough and you will probably wish you had paid the $25. After a short while on the park boundary road I cut over to the pasture wash road and paid to cross tribal land. When you enter the tribal land there will be a cattle guard at the boundary between the reservation and the national forest, there will also be a sign showing that there is a permit fee to cross into the tribal lands, however the fee is not collected until a short distance later where you cannot tell if there is a person waiting to collect the fee.
Now lets talk about the South Bass trailhead. Now that you have somehow gotten out to the mesa, three camping possibilities exist on the Mesa all of which require a back-country permit from the back-country office. The first is at the trailhead, there is essentially just a dirt parking lot where you can park at the trailhead, this is also the designated campsite for that area. Its ok if you need to stage yourself at the trailhead for your hike out or down. The next two exist on a side-road that goes off towards the east, each one is open to canyon views of the east and is undeveloped camping(hey its the back-country). The last of these two camp spots is right on the end of the mesa at Havasupai point. This campsite is one of the most remote and breathtaking spots you can drive to, the campsite is open and exposed out on the point and offers views to the east and west. A definite must if you have the time to go out there, the drive is short from the trailhead, but is bumpy and winds through cedar and pinon trees which will try and scrape the paint off your nice new SUV.
The Havasupai point campsite is located at 36° 11.276' N by 112° 20.968' W.
The Signal Hill campsite is located at 36° 10.234' N by 112° 21.121' W.
Now lets say you attempt to access the Great Thumb from the Pasture Wash road, once on Tribal lands there are no gates, only cattle-guards until you reach the split-off for the Supai Trail road and the Great thumb road. This closed(but not locked) gate is located at:
36° 12.466' N by 112° 33.006' W.
All of these are indicated below on the graphical Topo and the included ".tpo" file.
Here are the .tpo and .jpg topo files for the Great Thumb area of the National Park. The red route indicates how I initially drove the park boundary road only to switch to the main Pasture Wash road, the other campsites and such are the way-points.
This dead Elk is just off of the park boundary road, it appears to have gotten tangled in the boundary fence while attempting to cross:
Morning at the Havasupai overlook:
Looking toward the east:
Looking toward the north:
South Bass Trailhead:
Parking lot/campsite at trailhead:
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