Days 1 thru 10

Kanab Point Trailhead to Scotty's Hollow


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Day 1.  October 18.  Kanab Point Trail to Esplanade.

I had previously been down this "trail" twice before, and up it once.  The last time was five years ago, and my age is starting to seriously affect my off-trail hiking ability.  The most difficult part for me is the long, steep, and loose talus slope. 

A good description of the trail, from George Steck's Grand Canyon Loop Hikes II, follows:

The trail, probably originally designed for stock, is now nothing more than a fairly good game trail.  It starts down a small drainage a few yards west of the end of the road.  The drainage steepens abruptly and the trail goes down 60 feet or so to a tiny valley parallel and follows its length until it, too, steepens abruptly.  After a diagonal descent of 100 feet or so, we were faced with the problem of getting through about 20 feet of crumbly cliff.  This was our first real obstacle.  Get down it as best you can and, from my recollection, earlier is better than later.

From here we contoured/angled down to the northwest to a small promontory where there was an old weathered pickax.  The route to the point is somewhat indistinct, but beyond it the trail is well defined.  It continues steeply down a sandy hillside 100 feet or so to a small cliff and contours west on the edge of this cliff to the long talus runout leading to the Esplanade. 


Kanab Point Panorama Overlooking Confluence of Kanab Creek and Colorado River.


Because no rain was in the forecast, Ben and I decided to leave our tents behind.  This can be pretty risky, especially for a 10-day trip, but we figured there are lots of great overhangs in the Supai. 

The route begins by hiking down to a shallow trough-like drainage, then the couple of hundred yards to a very steep descent.  We picked up the "trail" again and began contouring towards the north.  It is a bit confusing here -- there seems to be more than one trail.  Soon the trail fades away as you come to a kind of ridge.  I was tempted to go high during a previous trip, but down is the better option.  But it is a bit steep and loose here.  Once over the "ridge", the trail reappears again.  We followed it until it kind of pinches out on a ledge.  The ledge looks possible, but a bit scary.  So instead of continuing on, we climbed down a steep but short cliff-band in the Coconino. We handed down our packs here.  We then continued contouring for quite a ways until we came to the long, steep talus slope that leads to the Esplanade. 

The Trail Begins to Steepen. Trail Contours Above Cliffband. Kanab Point Trail.
The trail Follows Ledges. Begin Bench Hiking (hiking out last day). Almost Down on the Esplanade.


Once we reached the Esplanade, the hiking became much easier.  But it took us almost two hours and we were pretty exhausted.  Without the strength and agility I once had, I end up straining my leg muscles even more on the way down.  We headed directly to the first drainage we came to.  We found a very small set of drips near the top of this canyon, but too small to do us much good.  We continued on down to a nice camping area.  We decided we would camp there and hike back to the drips for water.  The drips were so slow that we weren't sure we could collect enough.  And it was now getting really hot.  And we were getting really worried, thinking we might have to hike back out tomorrow.  While resting, Ben decided to look down canyon for water.  He didn't find any in our canyon, but he contoured around on ledges to the next branch of the drainage and found water.  So we continued on and camped near the water. 


Contouring Around to Adjacent Canyon. View Down into Kanab Creek Drainage. Plentiful Water at Camp.


Day 2.  October 19.  Esplanade Towards Scotty's Hollow


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Today we were planning to hike over to Scotty's and find a campsite near water.  It was excruciatingly hot.  We each started out with 3 liters of water.  We looked for water as we moved along, checking out some of the locations I got from Rich Rudow, but we didn't find any.    When we got to the place where Ben and I found some drips 6 years ago, it was completely dry.  On that trip, we also found a small pothole down in the un-named canyon below the drips, but that water was so bitter that it was undrinkable.  We passed by that pothole on this trip,  but it was a ways down in the canyon and we decided to continue on without checking it out.  Ben didn't want to go down there because he expected the water to be unpalatable, and I was just too tired and hot to go myself.  So we continued on a bit farther to the next small drainage.   By the way, all these side-canyons drain into Scotty's. We found a nice campsite, then scoured the canyon up and down, but didn't find any water.  This was a morale buster.  We were nearly out of water and it was a long way back to our first camp.  After exhausting all the reasonable options we could think of, Ben decided to hike back to the bitter pothole to collect water, figuring it was better than nothing.  He was pleasantly surprised that the water was good, so he picked up 5-6 liters and headed back to camp.   We were now set for the night.  Tomorrow we were headed down into Scotty's where we were pretty sure we would find water.


  Second Campsite. Second Campsite.


Day 3.  October 20.  To Upper Scotty's Hollow

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We got a pretty early start today, not being sure where we would end up.  We doubted we would make it all the way down to Kanab Creek, but we thought we would be able to get to the top of the Redwall.  Our first objective was to find a way down into Scotty's.  We climbed up to higher ground and began contouring towards the head of Scotty's.  We passed a side canyon that looked much too difficult to descend.  But the next one looked good.  Part way down we encountered the mushroom rock that Steck mentions as the exit route, so we knew our side canyon would go. 

Steck's Mushroom Rock. Finding Our Way Down Scotty's. First Water We Encountered in Scotty's.


We passed some nice potholes and a good camping area, but we continued on, hoping to get to the Redwall.  But the canyon bottom began to get congested with brush and huge boulders.  And it was very hot.  We decided to quit for the day and head back to the nice campsite we had passed.


Difficult Hiking Down-Canyon. Our Camp (for 3 nights). Potholes Near Camp.


Days 4 & 5.  October 21 & 22.  Upper Scotty's Hollow

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The next day (Day 4) we pretty much hung out in camp all day.  It was still really hot, and we were tired. 

On Day 5, we decided to hike down Scotty's without packs to see how hard it would be to continue down.  We found a reasonable way thru the jumble, but it would not have been very easy.  Past the jumble it looked like it would start getting a lot easier.  But below the jumble of rocks and brush was a relatively open canyon that looked hot and dry.  So we turned around and headed back to camp. 


Rich & Ben Heading Down Scotty's. Ben and I Heading Down Scotty's. Jumble of Brush and Boulders.

Bob on Dayhike Down Scotty's. Ben and I Relaxing at Camp. View Up-Canyon From Our Camp.


Day 6.  October 23.  Scotty's to Esplanade

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Our objective for the day was to hike back up to the Esplanade, then over to the small pothole we found on Day 2 and camp there.  After a short but brisk hike to the Esplanade, we contoured around and back to our previous campsite.  We decided to continue around to some nice ledges above the potholes and camp there.  The next day we planned to pick up enough water for a dry camp the next day.

When we got to our new campsite on ledges above the pothole canyon, we went down to our pothole to collect water.  The pothole was smaller than we remembered, and it had probably dried out some too.  We began collecting water, but we quickly drained the pothole.  After collecting all the water we could get, we virtually drained the pothole.  We didn't have nearly enough water for the rest of the day and a dry camp for tomorrow night.  This was another morale buster.  We had plenty of water for the night, but not nearly enough for tomorrow.  We were wondering if we would have to call for a rescue, a thought that was abhorrent to all of us. 


Exiting Scotty's Near Mushroom Rock. Taking a Break.  Hiking to Esplanade. Our Camp


Day 7.  October 24.  Collect Water & Dry Camp on the Esplanade

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In the morning, Ben decided to hike farther down into the pothole canyon to see if there was more water.  It didn't look promising from above as the canyon quickly narrowed and steepened into a spooky defile.  Ben found potholes with water.   He thought he could get to them, but we might need to drop a pot on webbing in order to actually get water.  We gathered our two sections of webbing (probably 70 ft total) and all of our water bags, and descended to the potholes.  Once we got close, it didn't look as foreboding as we expected.  Ben was able to climb down to the upper pool, fill our bags, and had them back up to me and Rich.  The water quality was excellent, and we now had plenty of water for a dry camp.  I suspect these potholes are reliable most of the year.


Potholes Were Way Down in this Canyon. Looking Steeply Down Towards Potholes. Potholes Above a Sickening Drop-off.

Potholes. Rich and Ben at the Potholes. Ben Getting Water.


Now our objective was to cover enough ground so that tomorrow would be an easy hike back to our first campsite and water.  The temperatures had diminished a bit, making for more pleasant hiking, although it was still pretty hot. 

The Esplanade in this area is very flat and easy hiking.  It didn't take long to get to the next side canyon, only about 1.5 miles away.  We dropped down into the canyon to find a shady campsite.


Day 8.  October 25.  Hike Back to Our First Camp.


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After a leisurely breakfast, we packed up and headed for the canyon where we camped the first night.  We had plenty of water left over from dinner and breakfast.  It was a very easy and short day, and the temperatures have dropped significantly.  We didn't get going until late morning.  


Bob Heading a Side Canyon. Dropping Down to Our First Campsite. Tarantula.


Day 9.  October 26.  Hike To a Point Closer to Our Exit


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To make tomorrow's hike out as easy as possible, we hiked back to a campsite close to the drips we found on Day 1.  This only took about 45 minutes, so we got a very leisurely start.  We would need to haul enough water for a dry camp and the hike out tomorrow, 


Hiking Towards Our Last Camp. Our Last Campsite Ben with Our Exit Route in Background.


Day 10.  October 27.  Hike to Rim Via Kanab Point Trail


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We began hiking shortly after 8 AM.  In less than an hour we were climbing the steep section of the talus.  The temperatures were the lowest we've had.  We ran into a rattle snake while hiking along one of the ledges.  Rich was so startled that I thought he was going to go over the edge. 

We had two issues hiking out.  The first was finding the right ledge at the top of the talus.  I knew it was the very last ledge, but Ben and Rich turned off onto one of the lower ledges.  They couldn't see that there was another higher one.  The second problem occurred after crossing the "ridge" mentioned on Day 1.  Once over the ridge, we should have climbed higher to access the steep chute that goes almost to the top.  The trail has been washed out in this area, so it was a bit confusing.  We contoured on at about the same level until it was obvious we were not in the right location.  We though we might be able to climb another chute that we saw ahead of us, but when we got there it was virtually impossible.  So we turned around and kept an eye out for the correct chute.  When we finally determined the right chute, we (mostly Ben) decided to climb directly to the chute rather than contouring over to it's beginning.  It was a very steep climb (Class 3+).  We were very relieved when our shortcut brought us to the correct chute and a faint trail.

Once at the car, we drove back to Kanab and the Rocking V for dinner.  Then the drive to Page and the motel.  Rich and Ben had flights the next morning, and I drove back to Taos.


Begin the Long Climb Out. After the Talus Comes the Ledge Walk. Awesome Views.

Ben and Rich Hiking Along Ledges. Spectacular Views All the Way Up. View Near the Top.


Panorama From Toroweap. 


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