Day 1

February 27, 2014

Grandview Trailhead to Grapevine Creek


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Today's route stats: 

    Distance:  10 miles

    Elevation Gain:  0 feet

    Elevation Loss:  3800 feet

The taxi (a large van) picked us up in front of Maswik at first light, and drove us to the parking lot at the Grandview Overlook.  It took about 20 minutes to get to the trailhead.  We spent another 20 minutes futzing with gear before starting down the trail.  We started hiking around 8:45.

It took us about 90 minutes to reach Horseshoe Mesa, while dropping about 2500 feet.  We took a short break at the stone structure built by the miners.  In the 1890s, Peter Berry, prospector and miner, built the trail to Horseshoe Mesa.  He operated the "Last Chance Mine" that produced high grade copper ore.  Many old artifacts are scattered around the mesa.

We dropped our packs at the old rock structure and headed off to see the Cave of the Domes, located just below the rim of the mesa on the west side.  We spent about 30 minutes looking around in the cave before heading back to our packs.  This isn't a great cave, but it does go back several hundred feet and has a few interesting formations.

After lunch, we started out again, heading for Cottonwood Creek off the west side of the mesa.  The trail starts out very steep, dropping about 900 feet in the first mile.  Once you reach the Cottonwood Creek drainage, the trail levels out.  We soon reached the side canyon that contains a spring and we encountered our first water (it is not always here).  In another half mile we reached the campsites located in the drainage where it begins to form narrows.  We picked up a couple of quarts of water and continued on, following the contours above the deepening canyon of Cottonwood Creek. 


View from Grandview Overlook. At the old miners ruin on Grandview Mesa. Contouring around Cottonwood Creek.

As we rounded the point between Cottonwood and Grapevine creeks, we came to the large cairn marking the old and abandoned trail to the river.  This was the extension of the original Grandview Trail.  We opted to keep going because we had a pretty long day as is, and I had already been down the trail with my daughter, Brianna, back in 2010. 

Granite Gorge from Tonto Trail. My Home at Grapevine Creek. Our Camp at Grapevine Creek.

There was plenty of good water at Grapevine Creek.  Rain was threatening, so we all set up tents.  At this time of year, the nights are very long -- over 12 hours of darkness.  That's a long time to be confined to a tent.  But I brought along audio books on my iPhone.

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