I’ve never done these kind of big miles in the Grand Canyon before. Having done many backpacking trips here in the past with friends, I think the longest days were maybe 14 miles. Actually, I lie. Having done a Rim-Rim-Rim trail run twice already, my longest day ever here in GC was 47 miles in 12-13 hours. But that doesn’t count in the sense that I wasn’t really carrying pack weight.
Either way, all three of us are really tired, even Cuban B, yet I know he doesn’t really want to admit it. This is the first time I’ve ever done the Nankoweap Trail, and thus far it is my favorite of all the GC trails I’ve done. Disclaimer though, it was not that easy, but there is a cherry on top with whip cream too. Starting at almost 9000 feet, the trail drops you all the way down to the Colorado River at 2800 feet. You do the math. I usually don’t have knee pain going downhill, but this trail gave it to me. Also, if you are afraid of heights, I warn you. This trail has steep drop off exposures with narrow trail. The funny thing about this trail is that it meanders, contouring along the Supai formation (of course after dropping from the Kaibab Limestone, Toroweap formation, and Coconino Sandstone) for about 5 miles until it finds a fault and break in the Redwall Limestone. Those 5 miles were all soft foreplay. All of a sudden..Bam!!!! Take that up the ass. The trail just starts dropping elevation, practically made us base jump, almost 2500 feet in 3 miles. More so, the Bright Angle Shale layer had lots of loose pebbles resembling marbles. I didn’t fall thank god, but I came close several times.
Finally at mile 10 for the day, we arrived at Nankoweap Creek, yes, an actual perennial creek. Lunchtime was had here along with a break and wetting of our feet and face. We still had 3 miles to the Colorado River. It was near here, the mouth of Nankoweap Canyon where the famous cliff granaries are located. And of course we climbed up to see them. I’ve been wanting to see these ancient granaries for years. Finally I witnessed them. These granaries are perched up about 700 feet above the River. The views of the River and the Canyon from the granaries are, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful and amazingly picturesque. Wow!! If you can only ever do one hike in the Grand Canyon, you gotta do this one, just so you can have the honor of this view. Pictures won’t do it justice. You have to see it in person. I was really disappointed in Pete for not bothering to climb up to see the granaries and the view. All this way to miss out. It’s like going to the Sistene Chapel and not bothering to look up to enjoy Michealangelo’s artwork. WTF, Pete?
After the granaries, our mission was to make it to Kwagunt Creek 4.5 miles away along a “trail” (more of a billy-goat trail) next to the River. Haa!! It was ugly slow going, definitely not pretty. Despite the arduousness of this billy-goat route, we did make it to Kwagunt Creek by sunset. Overall, 20 miles or so we hiked from 7:30am to 7:10 pm. Good night!!