Day 2

October 29, 2012

Salt Trail to Colorado River via LCR

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I was hoping to have enough time to take a side venture to Emerald Pool in Big Canyon, but I just wasn't up for it after hiking yesterday, and this morning everyone wanted to get a very early start to avoid the heat.  Bert was up before dawn to get the stoves started and put water on for breakfast.  I was expecting a pretty easy day.  But it started out by having to thrash through Tammies and Catclaw for the first several hundred yards.  We found a high route that avoided much of it, but I still didn't like it.

Tom. Mark. Marcey, Bert and Me.

Once we got through the brush the going got easier, but there were still plenty of small obstacles to deal with.  Our plan for today was to hike down the Little Colorado, past the Hopi Sipapu, and on to the Colorado River.  The Park Service does not allow camping at the confluence, so we planned to camp at a small beach about half a mile down-canyon from the confluence.

Travertine Pools on LCR. Travertine Pools. Crossing Point on Travertine Dam.

The Little Colorado was incredibly beautiful.  I knew there would be travertine dams, but I didn't expect them to be almost continuous all the way to the Colorado.  After about an hour of hiking we had to cross to the other side.  The water was fairly deep -- about 4 feet in places.  This was deep enough that we had to take special precautions not to get our gear (e.g. sleeping bags) wet.  I opted to walk across one of the travertine dams in the hopes of avoiding the deep water.



More Travertine Dams and Pools.

After we crossed to the other side of the LCR, it was less than an hour before we came to the Sipapu, where the Hopis believe their ancestors emerged from more primitive worlds beneath.  On top of the Sipapu is a hole, a couple of feet in diameter, that contains bubbling water 8 feet or so below the surface. 

From the Sipapu, it took us a little more than 3 hours of hiking to get to Beamer's Cabin near the confluence of the Colorado and LCR.  Ben Beamer constructed his cabin in the 1890 by remodeling an ancient Puebloan ruin built against a wall of Tapeats sandstone.  He also built what is now called the Beamer Trail, which parallels the Colorado River between the LCR and the Tanner Trail.  Beamer prospected for gold and silver but mostly found copper and asbestos. 

Bert and Beamer's Cabin. Inside Beamer's Cabin. Ancient Travertine Deposits.

The confluence of the Colorado River and the LCR is only a few hundred yards from Beamer's Cabin.  The Colorado was running very green and clear.  I knew this from viewing it from Moran Point before the hike.  Because it was clear I decided to bring along a new gravity water filter.  It works extremely well with clean water, but would probably clog quickly if the Colorado had been running brown. 

Our camp for the night would be a small beach about half a mile down-canyon from the confluence.  It is illegal to camp close to the confluence.  The beach was small, but adequate.  Tom and Chuck brought along fishing gear and soon set out to catch trout for dinner.  I can't remember whether they caught fish this night, but they did later on during this hike.

Confluence of LCR and Colorado River. Confluence of LCR and Colorado River. Small Beach Camp Below Confluence.

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