October 20, 2011
Solo Exploration: Lava, Chuar, and Carbon
I arrived at the east entrance to Grand Canyon around 11:30, then headed directly to Lipan Point. There I met a group of six backpackers from Ohio who were eagerly arranging and sorting gear in the parking lot. I was a little surprised when they asked if I knew where the trail was, but to be honest, it isn't obvious. By 12:00 I was on my way while the others were still futzing with their gear.
The Tanner Trail began as a route used by native Americans to access the river. In 1890 the route was improved by Seth Tanner to gain better access to mining claims. The Tanner Trail was also the southern section of the infamous Horsethief Route. The trail begins by heading down a gully immediately east of Lipan Point.
goal for the afternoon was to hike the 3.5 miles from Lipan
Point to a great camping spot north of Cardenas Butte where
the trail turns to the east and begins a very steep descent
through the Redwall. Not only was I carrying food for
8 days, but because tonight would be a dry camp, I was also
carrying 5 liters of water. My pack felt very heavy.
I had seen a weather report earlier that
showed sunny and warm for the next 9 days, so I was planning
on swapping out my 2.5 pound tent for my 1 pound tarp. But
in my haste to get going, I forgot and didnít remember until
I was already about an hour down the trail. Damn! I
thought that I might just leave it with my cache at camp,
and that it might be welcome on the exposed bench where I
was planning to camp.
on this bench once before (October, 2007). It is a large, flat area
with spectacular views of the Colorado River and the vast expanse of
the Grand Canyon Supergroup. It was starting to rapidly cool off when I
got there. It is fairly high elevation, 5600 feet, and only 1700
feet below Lipan Point. But the sky was clear and there was no
wind, so I decided not to set up my tent. I know Iíve mentioned
this before, but I really hate sleeping in a tent. It is too
confining, and prevents you from seeing the stars.
After getting to bed, I noticed several mosquitoes swarming around my head. I kind of wished I had set up my tent. I was starting to think that it might be a good idea to carry my tent for the rest of the trip, considering I'd be camping by a spring for a few nights.
I brought my iPod with me, loaded up with books and some music. I started listening to Steven Pinkerís new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature.