Thursday, April 9, 2015

Garden Creek Grand Canyon Spring 2015

This weekend a group of us went hiking down the Bright Angel trail in Grand Canyon National Park.

 We made it to Indian Gardens, then followed Garden Creek down through the Tapeats Sandstone. Soon, we stopped at trailside to change into wetsuits. We got some odd looks from passing rim-to-river hikers.

Garden Creek cuts a gorgeous slot canyon through the Vishnu Schist. Despite its proximity to one of the most popular trails in the world, the canyon remained largely unheralded until a few years ago, when the book "Grand Canyoneering" was published.

Following the beta in the book, we headed into the canyon, soon arriving to descend a massive 400-foot multi-stage waterfall rappel.

There are multiple rappels in the canyon, each of them down a spectacular waterfall. The pink granite twists and turns, and each drop brings a new grotto and water-carved rock.  Its a spectacular, first-class canyon. Kind of miraculous when you think about how many thousands of hikers trot past the canyon with no idea of what lies within. You can see part of the flow from Plateau point, but to really see the canyon, you have to rig up and descend into its depths. 

This is pay-to-play territory. Beside the technical requirements to descend the canyon, you've got haul all those pounds of wetsuits and wet rope up and down 5000 feet of elevation change. We camped at Indian Gardens, meaning we needed to haul overnight gear as well. Despite the difficulty, I'd do this trip again in a heartbeat. This was adventure on a grand scale.

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