Kanab Creek Wilderness
October 29 through November 4, 2017
This map (above) shows my overall route. The green lines were a day-hike on day 2.
Click on photos to see larger image.
This trip was my first Grand Canyon backpacking trip since I got helicoptered out of the Canyon last April due to back problems. My doctors could find nothing wrong with my back that they could confidently say was responsible for my pain. The pain is mostly from my mid and lower back. I was very concerned about doing this hike, but the terrain in this area is relatively friendly, and there are lots of options for modifying the trip if necessary. So I decided to do it.
Our overall plan was virtually the same as we did in 2014: Starting from Sowats trailhead, hike down to the head of Kwagunt Hollow, then continue down Kwagunt to Jumpup Canyon. Place a cache there for our last two or three days, then continue up Jumpup a ways until we find a nice camping place. On day 2, we planned to get on the Ranger trail and continue around Jumpup Point on the Esplanade to a location where there would likely be pothole water. On day 3 we would continue on the Ranger Trail, drop into Kanab Canyon via the Hack-Lawson Trail, hike down Kanab to Chamberlain, up Chamberlain to the Esplanade, then over to the top of Flipoff Canyon. This would be a long day. On day 4 we would hike down Flipoff to Kanab, down Kanab to Jumpup, and up Jumpup to Kwagunt and retrieve our cache. On day 5, hike into Indian Hollow via the Redwall route and camp at a place we have often camped and which is near the best place to begin a day hike to Racetrack Knoll. On day 6 we would hike up to the Esplanade and dry-camp there. Then hike out via Sowats Trail on day 7. All of this hike would be in Kanab Creek Wilderness, although Indian Hollow drainage is the boundary between Grand Canyon National Park and the Wilderness area.
It had been unusually dry during the month preceding this trip, and we had a couple of recent reports that water sources were drying up. The only safe way to do days 2 and 3 would be for each of us to start day 2 carrying at least 6 quarts of water, which weighs 12 pounds. That would increase my pack weight by 40%. I didn't want to take the chance of having back trouble on that route, so I decided to skip that section and perhaps hike over to Kanab via the Redwall on day 2 or 3.
I had previously hiked every part of our planned route at least twice, but it is a beautiful area that I always enjoy. And I was looking forward to seeing how my back would hold up.
There were a total of 8 of us, but several people came in late and/or left early. Four of us complete all 7 days: Bert, Marcey, Mark, and me. Anne Mariah hiked out by herself at the end of day 4, and Ethan hiked in that afternoon (they met each other in Kwagunt). Tom and Wendy hiked out on the morning of day 6, and Ethan hiked out in the late afternoon of day 6.
I always like having a full moon, although others find it difficult to sleep with the bright light. We started the trip with a half moon (first quarter?) and ended with a full moon.
The night before the trip we car-camped near the Sowats Trailhead. Marcey provided a wonderful dinner.
Note: Virtually all of the trails and routes used on this trip have been hiked by me on previous trips. If you are interested in more detail, check out my other trip reports.
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