Monday, April 29, 2013

Tanner Trail - Grand Canyon NP

Tanner Trail Hike
Grand Canyon National Park
Kaibab National Forest
Mileage - 17
Time - 8:01
AEG - 5,452ft

I think there's a reason we were the only day hikers on the Tanner Trail... Compared to Bright Angel, North and South Kaibab, Hermit, New Hance and Granview; this one was by far the toughest I have faced in the canyon.  This remote section of the park is typically reserved as an overnight backpacking trip done in stages.  The biggest challenge to overcome is a lack of an available water source, exposure to the sun, and a trail that's incredibly steep with several hazards, including uneven footing over loose rock and scree. Oh, and a 1,200 foot climb in the final mile (right) back to Lipan Point.

Bob and I embarked on our 3rd annual Grand Canyon adventure, after his first visit in 2011, we've made it a tradition to return the last weekend in April every year.  This trip would include camping for two nights above the rim at Mather Campground, a day hike on the Tanner to the river and back, and a short stop to summit Slate Mountain near Flagstaff on Sunday to break up the drive home.

Like I said, the Tanner trail is rough.  It was a gut check for the two of us, and one of those treks you learn a lot from.  Bob suffered in the heat, and my legs felt the fatigue of long hiking mileage up steep terrain.  My aerobic conditioning is in better shape than recent years, though it's been several months since I've put in those kind of "canyon miles."

I don't want you to think we didn't have a good time out there.  I remember telling Bob that "there's no other place I'd rather be right now."  A trek into the depths of the GC seems to have an effect on my psyche, giving me a real sense of being alive.  Most of the time I was in awe of the sheer magnitude of this incredible place, which was a helpful distraction from grueling task at hand.  The sights along the Tanner are quite different than the rest of the corridor trails, a more panoramic view if you will (Unkar Delta - pictured above left).  The color scheme is also unique with more white and purple contrasts near the river than anywhere else I've seen.  An 8-hour hike below the rim will always make you appreciate a cold drink and a shower, and that's exactly what we treated ourselves to at camp.  Overall, this was a great trip, one I will certainly not forget.

Boone at the top of Lipan Point 7,400ft (South Rim behind to the West)

Interesting formations along the Tanner Trail (5 miles below the rim)

Bob eager to reach the river for a cool down


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