Indian Hollow and Fishtail Mesa via Flipoff Route

March 28 Thru April 2, 2010

I feel lucky that this trip even took place.  May friends Bert, Marcey, Ben and I (along with some others) had done Steck's Deer Creek / Kanab Creek Loop last October.  Jim, one of our regular hiking companions, missed the October trip and wanted to do it in the spring.  So Bert organized another trip into the area, but none of us wanted to hike along the river from Deer Creek to Kanab Creek (as we did in October).  And I wanted to hike around Fishtail Mesa.  I had attempted it in November by myself, but the dry conditions stopped me.  As March neared, Jim had to bail again, and the huge snowfall on the north rim would prevent us from getting to either Indian Hollow Campground or Sowats Point trailhead.  I was determined to find another way in.  Bert, who had once hiked in via Hack Canyon (and didn't like it much), vetoed that idea.  Besides, it would have added another day just to get into Indian Hollow.  Perhaps we could have hiked in from the Jumpup trailhead, and although lower in elevation, is still fairly high and may not have been possible either.  So I posted a question on the Yahoo Grand Canyon Hiking forum asking for alternate access route suggestions.  Several people suggested Flipoff or Chamberlain.  The road to the start of the Flipoff route was about 1300 feet lower than the winter road into Indian Hollow Campground, so we thought we might have a shot.  Then came a huge snowstorm a few weeks before our start date.  But I was optimistic, and the weather turned warm and dry for a couple of weeks before our start date.  We decided to go for it.

I had flown into Las Vegas the week before with my daughter, Brianna.  I rented a car and drove to the south rim where we began a 6-day backpack.  After our trip, we drove back to Las Vegas.  The next morning Brianna flew back to Boulder and I met up with a couple of friends who flew in that morning (March 27).  We drove to Kanab, Utah, where we met 4 others.  There would be 8 of us all together (Skip, Bert, Bruce, Ben. Marcey, Jane, Susan, and me).  Then off to the Flipoff rim.  Flipoff, by the way, is an un-named side-canyon of Kanab Creek, located a little south of Chamberlain canyon.  We headed down the Mt. Trumbull road towards Tuweep Ranger Station before eventually turning off and heading for Flipoff.  The roads were in great shape.  Total distance on the dirt roads was about 55 miles.  We arrived at our starting point around 4 PM where we set up camp for the night.  We were less than a mile from the rim.  We hiked out to the rim before sunset to make sure we could find the descent route.  It was easy to find, thanks to information I got from Doug Nering, Rich Rudow, and Dave Mortenson.  Many thanks.

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