Nankoweap, Kwagunt, and Malgosa

This map (above) shows our overall route.

Click on photos to see larger image.

This trip ended up being much different than originally planned, although we had planned to be flexible, and we had even thought that a change in our itinerary was likely.  This trip was originally planned for 11 participants, but three people bailed about a month before the start.  One person failed to show up at the trailhead, so we ended up with a group of seven.  Trip members included Bert, Marcey, Fred, Jim, Chuck, Ben, and me.  The hike was to start and end at Saddle Mountain Trailhead, which provides easy access to the Nankoweap Trail.  We planned to hike down the Nankoweap Trail to the creek the first day, and take two days to hike out, staying the last night just above Tilted Mesa.  Marcey had arranged for a cache to be placed by a river trip several weeks prior to our start.   Many thanks to Chuck for allowing me to include many of his photos.

October 7, 2010. I left Boulder a couple of days early with the intention of not only checking out Bryce Canyon National Park and Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, but also to put in a water and food cache part way down the Nankoweap Trail.  I knew I would probably be one of the slowest in our group, so I wanted to level the playing field a little.  I left Boulder early and drove straight to the trailhead, stopping only briefly for food and gas.  I turned off the paved road in House Rock Valley at around sunset (18:00).  I immediately noticed that the road had seen a lot of recent rain, and a few of the wash crossings were muddy and rutted.  Very good omens.  After about 45 minutes I arrived at the trailhead where I re-organized my stuff so I could sleep in the back of my Cherokee.

October 8, 2010. I got up at first light (around 6:00), quickly ate breakfast, and packed up 7 quarts of water (some was Gatorade), lunch, and a small food cache that I would leave somewhere along the trail.  I noticed a truck parked at the trailhead with GCHBA bumper sticker and Arizona plates.  I wondered if it belonged to Doug Nering, who I knew was going to be in the area.  I reached the saddle (and the official Nankoweap Trail) in a little over 1-1/2 hours.  It is about 3 miles and 1400-ft elevation gain from the trailhead to the saddle.  I dropped three quarts at the saddle and continued on.  After about another two hours I reached Marion Point, where the trail takes an almost 180 degree left turn.  I knew our last camp would be further down the trail, but I didnít want to spend any more time Ė wanting to get back to Kanab, food, and a shower before dark.  So I left 3 quarts and a couple of pounds of food and returned to the car.  By the time I got back to the saddle I had already drunk one quart, and was getting thirsty, so I picked up one of the quarts at the saddle.  Thus two quarts remained at the saddle and three at Marion Point.  I drove to Kanab and checked into the Comfort Inn.

October 9, 2010. After an early breakfast I headed for Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park outside of Kanab.  Although the dunes were pretty, I was disappointed with all the dune buggies and tire tracks.  From here I headed north to Bryce.  When I was a kid (back in the 50s and early 60s), I visited Bryce (and other National Parks in Utah) a couple of times.  Bryce was always my favorite, but I hadnít been back there since.  It was mostly how I remembered it, with spectacularly colorful towers and erosion surfaces.  It was also smaller than I remembered -- too small for backpacking -- but I told myself that I need to come back and spend a day or two day-hiking.  From there I drove back to Kanab, had lunch, and headed back to Saddle Canyon to meet my group.  I got to the trailhead just as a group of 8 or so was finishing a day hike.  As I was talking with them, Marcey showed up.  She was returning from a hike to the Saddle to leave some water.  She had already found a nice camping place just across the road from the trailhead.  We set up camp and talked for only an hour or so when the others showed up.  The others had flown into Phoenix and Chuck (from Tucson) picked them up there.  Marcey, as usual, had a wonderful meal prepared for all of us.


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