Report from the North Rim (from Nat'l Park Service "Critical Backcountry Updates"
posted Oct 24, 2013)
Most concessioner services and regularly scheduled ranger-led programs have ended for the season. The National Park Service will continue its operations including the North Rim Visitor Center and Bookstore, as well as the Backcountry Permits Office through October 31.
November 1 through December 1 the North Rim will be open for day use only unless snow closes Highway 67 prior to that date. NO OVERNIGHT PARKING will be allowed along the Highway 67 corridor inside the park, this includes the North Kaibab Trailhead and North Rim Campground.
From November 1 through December 1:
Services: The North Rim is day use only in November, defined as dawn to dusk. No overnight parking is permitted along the Highway 67 corridor inside the park, this includes the North Kaibab Trailhead and North Rim Campground. The North Rim Visitor Center, Backcountry Permits Office, and all other services are closed starting November 1. Water is available outside the Backcountry Permits Office. Pay-at-the-pump gas and diesel will still be available.
North Rim Campground: Camping will be available provided a backcountry use permit has been obtained in advance – these permits are available through the South Rim Backcountry Information Center, and at the Visitor Center at Pipe Spring National Monument located in Fredonia, Arizona. No car camping. Overnight parking of vehicles is not allowed.
Backpacking: Hikers (with a backcountry permit) may proceed to open trailheads. Those descending the North Kaibab Trail will need to be dropped off by friends or arrive via a commercial shuttle bus.
Weather: Come November, short days and cold nights have arrived. Remember the North Rim is at 8,000 feet (2,438 m) which means that nighttime temperatures are guaranteed to be in the in the 20's F and 30's F (-6C to -1C) at best. Watch the weather carefully and talk with experienced friends or park rangers, know when to call off your trip. A few feet of snow could easily fall in a powerful, early winter storm.
Roads: Unimproved roads to destinations such as North Bass Trail and Point Sublime are open until winter weather closes them. Be aware, tree fall is common on the North Rim and you should have alternate routes for getting to and from trailheads (the possibility exists that the road you enter on may be blocked upon your exit). The roads to Point Imperial and Cape Royal Road are closed for the season, all other roads remain open until December 1 unless Highway 67 closes.Water Line Breakage
UPDATE: Thursday, October 3, 2013 I also rec'd this email message today concerning my own Rim2Rim Trip: Dear BRIAN LANE, Sincerely, Ranger Wunner UPDATE: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 UPDATE: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 UPDATE: Friday, October 11, 2013
As of October 1st, 2013, all visitors to Grand Canyon National Park have 48 hours to exit the park due to the Republican shutdown of the government. Please call your Congressman to express your sentiments toward this useless government closure.
Grand Canyon National Park is currently sending emails to those with backcountry permits through October 12th (as of this date) that their trips, for which they had secured permits, (and usually trained many months for), have been canceled. No word yet concerning refunds or rescheduling. I too have a permit to go Rim2Rim starting on October 16th - we'll see?!?
Republicans are hurting the economy, raising the deficit and national debt, and injuring thousands of small businesses and families across the country for what? They willfully injure people over an ideology that has been solidly rejected by the majority of the people across this great country.
This closure is indefinite. I will keep you posted.
Hwy 64 from the South Entrance of Grand Canyon National Park has been closed through the East Park Entrance/Exit at Desert View. (Hwy 64 from Williams to Tusayan will remain open.) The highway had been open these last few days but it seems that people were abusing the system a bit by moving barricades and accessing closed areas (some to protest the closure).
This is the message I rec'd from Arizona Dept of Transportation (ADOT) today:
Your Input: Although the National Park is closed, will Hwy 64 from the South Entrance to the East Entrance of GCNP remain open to traffic? 10/2/2013 10:07:20 AM
ADOT Response: Mr. Lane, Thank you for contacting the Arizona Department of Transportation. Unfortunately, Officials at Grand Canyon National Park have confirmed that SR 64 is now closed to through traffic within the park, from the south entrance over to the Desert View entrance (both directions). SR 64 remains OPEN between Williams and Tusatan.
10/3/2013 9:44:53 AM
The Press Release from GCNP contained the following info:
The highway (Hwy 64) had been open to through traffic, but visitors were pulling off the road and removing barricades from overlooks to get a glimpse of the canyon. Park spokeswoman Maureen Oltrogge says motorists also were turning around on blind corners, tour buses were parking on the roadside and visitors were darting in front of ongoing traffic. She says the highway closure is to ensure safety and protect resources. She says anyone caught in restricted areas could receive a citation or be arrested.
Due to a Congressional impasse on the 2014 government appropriations bill, the federal government has shut down many services. As a result Grand Canyon National Park, as of Tuesday October 1st. was closed to visitation. Until the government is funded, hikers are not authorized to enter the canyon and previously issued backcountry permits, as stated under item 1 on the pack of your permit, are rescinded. All staff at the Backcountry Information Center have been furloughed and are not available to respond to emails or take calls. Once the government is funded and the park re-opens, permitted trips will be allowed to resume as scheduled. At that time, we will attempt to contact all permit holders affected by the closure, in order to address options related to the cancelation of permits and related fees. We apologize for the unsettling nature of the closure and the great inconvenience that this has caused.
Supervisor, Backcountry Information Center
I have highlighted the sentence stating that "permitted trips will be allowed to resume as scheduled" once the park reopens. So, those of you with a permit that have rec'd this notice, don't burn it protest or anything. Hold on until your entry date gets closer, if you can. I know those with travel plans will have the most difficult time deciding what to do - "should I stay or should I go now," (courtesy of The Clash).
My trip was to start on Wednesday, October 16 - Cottonwood CG, to Bright Angel CG, to Indian Garden, and out. The classic Rim2Rim route where I was going to use my new GoPro camera to record trail highlights, record GPS coordinates, and update trail information and photos for my books. And of course enjoy basking in one of the world's most spectacular natural wonders.
I have spoken with many people who work in and around the Canyon and this Republican shutdown of the government might not hurt a single Congressman, as they literally get giddy and drunk on the House Floor, but small businesses in Northern Arizona are certainly feeling the injurious effects of this Republican insanity as they keep people out of their parks and monuments (which is still minor in comparison to the thousands they starve every day).
Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over-and-over again and expecting a different result. Republicans in the House voted over 42 times to abolish the Affordable Care Act. Forty-two times! And each time expecting a different result?!?
When we, as a nation, elect people that hate government,
what we get is really horrible governing!
The Republican shutdown of our government continues into its eighth day with no end in sight...
Yesterday on the trail here in Sedona, Ariz., I met quite a few folks hiking that were supposed to be visiting the Grand Canyon but could not due to the Republican shutdown. I have begun referring to them jokingly as the 'Grand Canyon Refugees.' Many have found alternatives such as hiking the San Francisco Peaks of Flagstaff, visiting Monument Valley and other Navajo Monuments, (which will remain open), or coming down here to Sedona - the day hiking capital of the world.
For local hikes in Sedona try Devil's Bridge Trail, nice views (short/moderate), Bear Mountain, awesome views (4-6 hrs/very difficult), Sterling Pass, to visit Vultee Arch (3-4 hrs/difficult), or Brins Mesa, nice views (moderate/moderate).
A few other notable hikes in the area include Sycamore Canyon (near Cottonwood, AZ), West Fork Oak Creek (Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona), and West Clear Creek (Camp Verde, AZ).
Hope that helps some of the Grand Canyon Refugees.
The Republican shutdown of our government continues into its ninth day with no end in sight...
Citations Being Issued to Those Entering the Closed Park
A story from the Associated Press yesterday afternoon states that 21 people have so far been issued citations for entering Grand Canyon National Park illegally. The article states that "people have been caught at the South Rim, on the trails, attempting rim-to-rim hikes, or trying to sneak in through dirt roads."
As I wait 'til this Saturday (Oct. 12) to begin canceling my own Rim2Rim trip scheduled to start next Wednesday (Oct. 16) I have begun to see the stories of some of the folks most affected by this Republican shutdown...
An article from Flagstaff's Arizona Daily Sun titled "Grand Canyon Food Shortage Turns Dire" appeared yesterday as St. Mary's Food Bank in Phoenix is trying to help the estimated 2,200 people who remain inside the park, mostly concession employees stuck in limbo. Read the full story HERE
On the High Country News (HCN) Blog we get an article titled "The Shutdown Hits the West Harder," discussing how the Republican forced shutdown hurts the economy of the west harder than other areas of the country. The full story is HERE
Also on the HCN blog the "Trickle-Down Effect of the Federal Shutdown" HERE
The Republican shutdown of our government continues into its eleventh day with little end in sight...
NORTH RIM GRAND CANYON LODGE NOW OFFICIALLY
CLOSED FOR THE SEASON - updated October 12, 2013 - the North Rim Lodge has re-opened for its last few days of the season
Forever Resorts (North Rim Concessionaire) has confirmed that they are now closed for the season and should reopen next May, 2014. I rec'd an email notice and phone message last evening that my reservation for next week has been canceled.
Brian J. Lane
UPDATE: Thursday, October 3, 2013 I also rec'd this email message today concerning my own Rim2Rim Trip: Dear BRIAN LANE, Sincerely, Ranger Wunner UPDATE: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 UPDATE: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 UPDATE: Friday, October 11, 2013
I also rec'd this email message today concerning my own Rim2Rim Trip:
Dear BRIAN LANE,
UPDATE: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
UPDATE: Wednesday, October 9, 2013
UPDATE: Friday, October 11, 2013
Storm clouds move in - View from Shoeshone Point (Photo: Brian Lane)
Finally, September has arrived at the Canyon and the heat is beginning to moderate just a bit as temperatures at Phantom Ranch begin slipping out of the 100+ degree range and into the 90s, with nights in the high 60s. Monsoon season officially ends on September 30th, but afternoon thunderstorms remain quite active, occurring with some regularity most afternoons, some with fierce downpours creating flash flood conditions along backcountry trails.
Late August/Early September is a bit laid back and visitation decreases inside the Canyon as kids head back to school, summer's family vacation season ends, and the stifling summer heat and humidity keep many from exploring the Canyon's Inner Gorge. Many folks, myself included, are gearing up for the fall hiking season, as soon the air will cool, the humidity brought on by the monsoons will dissipate, and the Inner Canyon will once again invite those of us wanting to bask in its temperate climate. Gotta love September!
Remember: Backcountry permit applications for trips starting in February, 2014, can be submitted by mail or fax, on or after October, 1st, 2013.
On to other news....
North Kaibab Trail Damaged
August 29, 2013, the North Kaibab Trail was damaged as a result of a severe thunderstorm that washed sections of trail between Supai Tunnel and the Redwall Bridge. The trail has been narrowed but is still passable. Crews will be working to make repairs and this may cause temporary delays to hikers travelling along this route.
ALSO: Be sure to check with the Backcountry Information Center (BIC) for any road closures prior to attempting access to remote trailheads since many backcountry roads, especially along the North Rim, have been hit particularly hard by recent monsoon storms.
Snake season is winding down too as most snake varieties will go into hibernation for the winter by the end of next month (Oct). Still, they are around and they have babies - little eight inch long rattlesnake babies, and the problem with young rattle snakes is they have not yet developed a rattle to warn you away, and if provoked, they may strike several times. While they are not as dangerous as adult rattlers and often do not inject any venom at all, they are still very dangerous. Make sure you watch where you step and do not reach under shrubs or in dark corners without looking first, taking care not to disturb these wonderful creatures.
Mule Rides Now Available from Yaki to Shoshone Point
Xanterra (the South Rim concessionaire) is now offering a new mule ride excursion along the South Rim to replace the West Rim's Abyss Overlook Mule Ride. The new trip will go from Yaki Point heading east for about four miles to Shoshone Point, and includes and interpretive van shuttle from Grand Canyon Village to the Yaki Mule Barn where the trip originates. Shoshone Point has traditionally been one of those "secret" places locals knew for its great views, impressive monolith...and its solitude. (So much for that, I guess we'lll have to find another "secret place.") The East Rim Mule Ride is being offered twice a day, operating from March 15 - October 31, 2013.Visit www.grandcanyonlodges.com for more information.
Free Entry into National Parks on Saturday, September 28
National Public Lands Day is September, 28, 2013, and Grand Canyon National Park will be joining with parks across the country in offering free entry into the park.
Highway 89 South of Page, Ariz., still CLOSED
Just a reminder that Highway 89, about 25 miles south of Page is still closed and should remain so until the summer of 2015. Yup, you heard it, two years to reconstruct the road after a 150 foot section faulted and shifted leaving a huge gash in the highway last spring. The road should be re-engineered to take the fault lines into account. Until that time a more expedient detour has been renovated and paved to accommodate the increased traffic. This new detour goes south from Page along Indian Route 20 (Coppermine Road) to US 89T, and rejoining Hwy 89 at The Gap, Ariz., cutting the detour time in half from the previously recommended route. It is important to note that Hwy 89T will only be open during daylight hours until fencing can be installed along the sides of the roadway.
MAP courtesy of Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) Press Release of 8/28/13
Tusayan Development Hits Obstacle
Stilo Development Group, an Italian developer with big plans to build high-end boutiques, five-star hotels, a cultural center, dude ranch, and hundreds of people boxes recently defaulted on an agreement made with the Town of Tusayan (Grand Canyon's south entrance). Plus, there is a problem with their application to gain access to other inholdings with the US Forest Service. Mediation will begin this month to see if the project will move forward, or not.
Medical Issues Overview: Falls and Sprains
It will do you well to remember that in any direct fall of over twenty feet you will probably break something, or sustain a spinal or head injury. It is impossible to review fully, in this little blog, the myriad of traumatic injuries that can occur from a fall.
To help prevent falls: Do not climb canyon walls unless you are highly trained. Even then, while in a remote wilderness setting, I would not put myself in a situation where these types of injuries could occur. When hiking, keep your eyes and concentration on the trail or you could easily trip and go tumbling butt over teakettle, injuring yourself and possibly others.
Treatment: For simple sprains, RICE it. The acronym stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. So rest the injury, apply ice or cold on the swelling, wrap it, and elevate the sprain. Ice should remain on the site of the injury for no more than twenty minutes. As already stated, the list of possible sprains, fractures, and other blunt-force trauma that can happen from a fall are too numerous to be covered here. Please refer to your first-aid book (I'm sure you'll be carrying one in your first-aid kit - right?) for specific treatments and evacuate as needed.
That's it for this month...
Hike Safe and Have Fun!
Brian J. Lane
View from Cedar Ridge - South Kaibab Trail (photo: Brian Lane)
The Monsoons have been active during the last month making afternoons a bit more humid while often providing clouds to hide the sun and make the heat a bit more tolerable. Still a very busy vacation season here at the canyon with both the North and South Rims usually running at full capacity. Inner Canyon temps continue to linger in the over-100-degree range during the day, and 70s at night. Rim temperatures during the day are in the 90 degree range with 50s at night along the South Rim, and 80s (days) and 50s (nights) at the North Rim. Heat advisories remain in effect for the Inner Grand Canyon.
Reminder: Backcountry permit applications for trips starting in January, 2014 can be submitted by fax or by mail, on or after September 1, 2013.
Hiker Dies on North Kaibab Trail
About 2 p.m. on Friday, August 9, the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received a call from a trail volunteer reporting an unconscious hiker on North Kaibab Trail approximately a half-mile from the trailhead. The man has been identified as 63-year-old Brice Henri Patricot of Precy-Sur-Oise, France. Efforts to revive the man were unsuccessful. The victim was hiking with five others to the 'Eye of the Needle' formation, between the Redwall Bridge and Roaring Springs Day-Use Area. Three members of the group continued down canyon, while Mr. Patricot and his wife decided to hike back up to the trailhead after they had lunch. Inner Canyon temperatures were around 85 degrees at the time, and the incident is under investigation.
Monsoon Flooding affects Bright Angel Trail
On Thursday, July 25, a powerful afternoon thunderstorm dumped nearly two inches of rain causing minor flooding in areas of Grand Canyon Village and along portions of Bright Angel Trail. Garden Creek experienced flash flooding that temporarily closed sections of the trail near Indian Garden. Bright Angel Trail remains open although washouts have impacted sections of the trail between 3 Mile Resthouse and Bright Angel Campground/Phantom Ranch.
South Kaibab Trail Maintenance
The Grand Canyon Trail Crew will be working in the area of Ooh-Aah Point along South Kaibab Trail through September, 2013. Delays to travelers (mostly in August) are possible for up to 45 minutes between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Mather Point Lightning Strike Injures Several Visitors
Around 1 p.m. on Monday, July 15, a lightning strike near Mather Point (one of the most popular overlooks along the South Rim) injured several folks standing near the rim. Four people were transported to the South Rim Clinic for non-life-threatening injuries.
Rare Inner Canyon Lightning Strike Injures River Guide
At 9 p.m. on Sunday, July 21, a river guide from Arizona Raft Adventures was airlifted from the Inner Canyon near 220 Mile Canyon after being struck by lightning. The, as of yet, unidentified river guide was transported to Las Vegas for medical treatment. By far, there are more lightning strikes that hit the higher rims of the canyon than ever make it to the canyon’s bottom, but every once in a while…
North Rim Roads Damaged by Monsoon Flooding
Those folks wanting to use roads around Point Sublime and Swamp Point (specifically Basin Road: N-1 and Kanabownits Road: N-4) are advised to check with the North Rim Backcountry Office prior to heading out after the area received four inches of rain in eight days causing deep mud in some areas.
Fire Restrictions Lifted
Wood and charcoal fires are again being allowed at above-the-rim campgrounds. No fires are allowed inside the Grand Canyon or any other Backcountry areas.
Roll Out of Email Permit System Delayed…Again
Although rumors abound concerning the park service’s mythical email permitting system, no one seems to know when it may actually come to fruition. We’ll see.
Trans-Canyon Water Line Breakage
Twice in the last thirty days the Trans-Canyon Water Pipe has required repairs that affected water supplies at Roaring Springs Day-Use, Cottonwood Campground, Bright Angel Campground, and for a time, shut-down operations at Phantom Ranch. Inner Canyon travelers should always carry a water treatment system and be prepared to treat creek water if necessary.
New Concession Contracts Initiate Changes
A couple of the Grand Canyon’s biggest concession contracts, worth reportedly 1.5 billion dollars over 15 years, are coming up for bid. Two of the big players and current concessionaires are Xanterra Parks and Resorts and Delaware North Parks and Resorts. These contracts include the management of guest rooms, grocery stores, restaurants, bars, campgrounds, and mule rides. Changes in the new contracts are said to include large monetary investments by the contract winners toward such issues as expanding patio dining and valet service at El Tovar, updating rooms at Bright Angel, demolishing and rebuilding older south units at Maswik Lodge. The Park Service is also planning to renovate the Desert Tower Gift Shop, making it into an interpretive center. ALSO: For those overnight hikers wanting to stay at Phantom Ranch – there may be a new lottery system set up to compete for cabins and dormitories. I’ll keep you posted.
So, how long has it been since I inserted a shameless plug? I can cure that…
Yes, the 2nd Edition of my award-winning book, “Hikernut’s Grand Canyon Companion - A Guide to Hiking and Backpacking the Most Popular Trails into the Canyon: Bright Angel, South Kaibab, & North Kaibab Trails,” was released in January of this year. Geared for the first-time Canyon explorer, and designed to help keep you safe, it is the essential guide for anyone wanting to hike inside the Grand Canyon.
Over 250 people are rescued from the Inner Canyon each year and Bright Angel Trail was once again named the most dangerous trail in America – don’t become a statistic – buy this book. Light weight , only 96 pages, costing less than ten bucks, and chock full of full color photos. Nearly 10,000 copies have been sold of this multi-award-winning guide!
PLUS… Just released last April, “Hikernut’s Canyon Lands Companion – The Best Canyon Hikes in the American Southwest.” My new book describes the top dozen canyon explorations along the Colorado Plateau - from Moab, Utah, to Sedona, Arizona, and all within a day’s drive. To hike and explore the Southwest Canyon Country is to experience a world unlike any other, and it is a hiker’s paradise. This book includes detailed trail descriptions, permits and logistics, addresses safety and medical concerns, proper gear, tips and advice, wildlife and geology. It’s all there for you. 196 pages and about $17, this book includes over 105 beautiful, full-color photos and 25 maps. A great checklist for you to get out there and experience the best hikes in Canyon Country!
Both titles are published by The Countryman Press and available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, REI, and your local book seller... just ask for it.
…and I thank you for your support.
Hike Safe and Have Fun!
Brian J. Lane
This was my first time at the huge Outdoor Retailer Summer Show held inside the massive Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City and as a self-confessed camping-gear-aholic I just loved it as the smell of new outdoor gear wafted in the air. La Quita and I roamed the hundreds of displays, through the convention center and across the street through the pavilions. I also held two days of book signings from 2-6 p.m. on Wednesday, 7/31, and 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, 8/01.
The Partners Outdoor (Partners West) booth, where I was conducting the signing, was right cross from the escalators, allowing immediate access to visitors just as they entered the main hall. Thank you to Gloria and Jen from Partners West for making us welcome, plus it was great to meet my publisher Kermit Hummel from The Countryman Press and spend time gabbing, and selling of course. We greeted many show-goers, met lots of wholesale reps, got a few excellent deals on new outdoor stuff, and really enjoyed the spectacle of it all. Especially the timeliness of the procession of beer kegs and wine bottles being ushered into the main hall at 4 o’clock to lubricate both buyers and sellers during the final two hours each day. Nothing like free beer and music to cap off the day!
The following is a listing of a few of the items that seemed to make the biggest impression on us from a hiker’s perspective, for whatever reason…
GoPro (www.gopro.com) made a big visual splash with their multiple, large, flat-screen displays constantly streaming video scenes of extreme skiing, biking, hang-gliding, and everything else in between, while promoting the new GoPro Hero3, billing it as “the world’s most versatile camera.” They are the king of hi-def, ultra-wide angle, action video cameras. I keep telling myself that I should do more YouTube type promos and GoPro is the go-to camera to record your most cherished (and sometimes terrifying) memories of extreme adventuring, or maybe just recording your Disney explorations with a hands-free camera.
Light My Fire: FireKnife a light weight version of the classic Swedish Mora knife with a built in fire striker and a good belt-clipped sheath. Inexpensive, I bought one on the spot. (www.lightmyfire.com)
Scrubba Wash Bag: A great invention for anyone needing to wash clothes while hiking, camping, or traveling. Light (6.5 oz) and easy, this washer works great, and it is a great invention, although some may consider their price a bit high. (www.thescrubba.com)
Need Portable Power? Goal Zero has a nice assortment of portable solar chargers in a wide price range (www.goalzero.com). Eton carries some less expensive solar and hand-crank chargers, as well as back-up batteries (www.etoncorp.com), and Solio included a bevy of solar devices, including chargers and lights (www.solio.com).
Pocket Disc: A woven-fabric Frisbee, light and fun, in your choice of hundreds of colorful designs. (www.pocketdisc.com)
SPOT Gen3: More ergonomic, boasting twice the battery life, and easier to use, the next generation of SPOT communicators was recently released to compete with the next generation of lighter personal location beacons (PL emergency communicators. Lots of other new features, for more info visit their website. (www.findmespot.com)
The BioLite Kettlepot is a great companion to its Campstove. The revolutionary Campstove uses an internal fan to efficiently burn wood fuel (sticks and twigs) to boil water, plus, it can also charge iPhones and other such devices via a USB port. The new, and not yet released, Kettlepot is an easy pour kettle that cooks like a pot. I really like the company and their mission (especially with their BioLite Homestove project), but due to the heavier weight of the stove and pot I would still recommend the SoloStove (9 oz.) for those wanting a wood burning cook stove for the backcountry. (www.biolitestove.com)
Big Agnes/Helinox Chair One: Introduced last year but such an awesome light weight and comfortable seat for backpackers at only 2 lbs. (www.bigagnes.com)
LifeStraw: Great for emergency kits, and for those hiking near water sources. Super light weight, the LifeStraw will treat over 250 gallons. Really easy to use and maintain. I love this company for its efforts in helping deliver clean drinking water to thousands who would otherwise go without. Under $25, visit their website for more info. (www.lifestraw.com)
Sales of hands-free hydration systems sales are growing and outfitters like Camelbak (www.camelbak.com) and Osprey (www.ospreypacks.com) are producing some nice streamlined hydration packs. Geigerrig, a manufacturer that I had not heard of has a nice feature with their pressurized hydration packs, allowing one to spray themselves to help keep cool. (www.geigerrig.com)
New designs for water bottles include the one-handed Avex (www.avexsport.com) bottle with their push-the-button-to-sip autoseal feature for totally spillproof use. The collapsible Vapor Anti-Bottle (www.vapur.us) comes in a variety of sizes and colors, while the unique Bubi Bottle (www.bubibottle.com) is the world’s first scrunchable multi-use bottle (seen above).
In another category of water bottle comes the AquaZinger from Zing Anything (www.zinganything.com), a bottle with a bottom-mounted grinder that pulverizes ingredients, (fruits, herbs, veggies, etc.), to infuse the water with natural flavors. I really like this idea and I purchased two, and should get them in the next few days to try out.
Water Treatments/Hydration Enhancements: The folks at ORAL I.V. (www.oraliv.com) say their water additive will contribute to peak performance and shorter recovery by using its proprietary formula of crystalloid electrolytes. On the other hand, Elete electrolyte add-in drops tells you exactly what it has in it and includes proven performance enhancers like potassium and magnesium, along with electrolytes. (www.eletewater.com)
Tents: The biggest trend is toward lighter tents but with two different strategies. One is to use fewer or no poles (air chambers, use of trekking pole supports) to enhance its lighter weight, or using lighter materials to create a larger inner space and more headroom. Some of the more inovative tents are being produced by Nemo Equipment (www.nemoequipment.com).
Packs: Folks seem to be looking for more technical features, while requiring durable but light weight equipment. Osprey appears to be the top contender in sales of both daypacks and backpacks.
Sleeping Bags: The newest thing in bags has been the introduction of water resistant down.
Down has always been the most lightweight insulation but if it got wet, it was useless, while polyfilled bags were heavier and less efficient. Now with water repellent down on the market the sleep bag environment is about to change. The new down uses polymers to coat the down to resist soaking up moisture, and it dries much quicker too. See Big Agnes and Brooks-Range for more info. (www.bigagnes.com) and (www.brooks-range.com)
ENO (www.eaglesnestoutfitters.com) has come up with a line of colorful ultra light hammocks with their Pronest Series weighing in at 13 oz.
Klymit Sleep Pads: Making light weight sleeping pads by utilizing a more Swiss cheese approach - while still having reliable support. (www.klymit.com)
LazerBrite Modular Flashlights (www.lazerbrite.com) have plenty of optional accessories to make this a wonderfully versatile light. Combine the Multi-Lux light unit with the optional Iris attachment for a great lightweight light that shines forward and down on the trail too. Great for night hiking!
LuminAID inflatable lights: What an awesome and unique camp light. This is a solar charged light that blows up to a dome-light pillow, great for hanging in camp. Ultra light weight (only 3 oz!), it takes 7 hours of sunlight for 15 hours of LED light, water-resistant and it floats. LuminAid has distributed thousands of these awesome lights through its "Give Light, Get Light" project in more than a dozen countries helping provide safe, clean light.
Columbia Sportswear has come out with its Omni-Freeze Zero line of cooling and wicking clothing that improves a shirt’s and your body’s cooling ability. Not only will this fabric keep you warm and dry, but its sweat activated cooling really works to cool the body. Representatives were handing out some 5” forearm samples and then spraying them with water and I have to say I was surprised at the cooling effect. (www.columbia.com)
Patagonia: Quita’s favorite jacket was the Women’s Ultralight Down Jacket in Polar Blue. Excellent top layer for chilly mornings and evenings.
The North Face: One of my favorites was the Men’s Momentum Thermal ½ Zip. It is a light, stylish, and comfortable jacket for cool temps.
Hike Shoes for Canyon Country: The best hiking shoes combine technical performance with style. The market for hiking boots is increasing while the sale of trail runners and multisport shoes has declined. Buyers are looking for time-tested traditional construction. Merrell and Salewa are two of my favorites for light, rugged, stylish, comfortable shoes for hiking along the Colorado Plateau. (www.merrell.com) and (www.salewa.us)
Barefooters "Feel Great" shoes look like great warm weather foot protection with features like reflexology massage insoles and made with anti-microbial, breathable, washable, and low environmental impact materials. Yes, I bought a pair, so I'll find out soon. (www.mybarefooters.com)
Meanwhile the Baffin: T2R shoe looks awesome for combined hiking/water sports with a shoe sole that uses a water channeling system to drain water out through the bottom of the shoe while keeping out dirt and debris. Nice design! (www.baffin.com)
Ortholite high-performance insoles: These insoles have it all…long-term cushioning, breathable, washable, lightweight, antimicrobial, and moisture wicking. What more do you want? (www.ortholite.us)
Baktuli Active Use Towel: Natural cotton workout towels with antimicrobial properties and a slit used to slip one end of the towel through to hold it in place when wrapped around your neck. (www.baktuli.com)
Paracord items: The company Survival Straps (www.survivalstraps.com) I believe was the first company to come out with their line of paracord survival bracelets a few years ago, since then sales of paracord survival items has really expanded with many outdoor companies producing different accessories (such as including mini-LED lights). Now we see a myriad of colors and styles in bracelets, plus paracord belts, key rings, lanyards, and dog leashes. Some of the most stylish and functional are now being produced by Bison Designs (www.bisondesigns.com).
Bug Away: Bella Rose has put out a wonderfully scented mix of witch hazel and essential oils that naturally repels insects. (www.bellarosenaturals.com)
Honey Stinger Organic Waffles: Passes the taste test BY FAR! I ordered two cases, one lemon and one strawberry. Best tasting trail/energy food at the show! (www.honeystinger.com)
Cache Lake (www.cachelake.com): I am sooo sick of eating Ramon noodles. Finally folks like those at Cache Lake are making wonderfully palatable dehydrated meals and fry breads. (Others not at the show that I really like are Hungry Hikers, and Packit Gourmet).
Mamma Chia Squeeze: Mamma Chia drinks were introduced in the last few years but now comes the packable Mamma Chia Squeeze. In four delicious flavors, chia seeds are the new health food craze for their energy, fiber, protein, omega-3s, antioxidents, calcium, and magnesium. (www.mammachia.com)
Saquito Mix: Following up on the chia seed craze comes another excellent offering, the Saquito Mix. Not a bar (which requires added sugars and binders), the Saquito Mix is a loose, pourable mix of tasty chia seeds with goji, rice bran and hemp seeds. Light on sugar and VERY tasty! (www.saquitomix.com)
Bear Grylls: The Bear is everywhere! Between Craghoppers Clothing, Bear River Outdoor Gear, and Gerber Knives, Bear Grylls has developed a full line of outdoor necessities. If you’re looking for good sturdy gear just look for his lines of (usually) grey and orange colored outdoor gear, everything I've tried has been excellent quality.
Biggest growing sport: What’s SUP? By the number of booths and their high profile at the show, I’d have to say the Stand Up Paddling community is by far the newest outdoor fad growing in numbers exponentially. Who knows, maybe I’ll try it out when me and my buddy John Ducasse attend the Outdoor Writer conference’s Demo Day next month in Lake Placid.
Hope you enjoyed looking at a few things that caught our attention at the show...
Hike Safe and Have Fun!
Hikernut, Brian Lane
Plateau Point looking east (photo: Brian Lane)
Excessive Heat Warning Still in Effect
The oppressive, record-breaking heatwave gripping the West is beginning to subside a bit as temperatures get back to normal, which is still over 105 degrees in the shade of the Inner Canyon. The dog days of summer are here and only those well acclimated to this kind of heat should be hiking the Inner Canyon unless special precautions are taken. Hike only during the cooler time of day (4pm - 9am), wear cotton clothing and keep it wet to help cool you down, drink a minimum of one quart per hour while hiking, and eat salty snacks. This kind of heat kills, so please remember that it's much better to be safe than to be sorry.
Reminder: Applications for backcountry permits for trips starting in December, 2013, can be submitted by fax on August 1st.
Other Canyon News:
Woman Dies While Hiking South Kaibab Trail
On Sunday, June 30, 2013, 48-year old Sibylle Borger of Fredricksburg, Virginia passed away while hiking with five other friends on South Kaibab Trail. At about 3:30pm a call was received at the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center reporting an unconscious hiker three-quarters of a mile from Phantom Ranch. Rangers responded but were unsuccessful in resuscitating Borger. The woman's body was flown to the Coconino County Medical Examiner's office and an investigation is underway. Temperatures along the Canyon's Inner Gorge were near 115 degrees in the shade on that day - and there is little to no shade along South Kaibab Trail, so we presume the heat was a major factor in this death.
Fire Restrictions in place at the Grand Canyon
Due to extreme fire danger restrictions are now in place at GCNP. This includes the banning of all wood or charcoal burning fires while inside the park. Smokers can light up only while in an enclosed vehicle or if they are on a paved surface. These restrictions will remain in place until Monsoon moisture decreases the danger of wildfire.
Arizona Monsoon Season
The rainy season is coming. We currently have only a slight chance of afternoon thunderstorms - but you never know where these strong, yet isolated storms might hit. The Arizona Monsoon season officially runs from June 15 - September 15.
Trans-Canyon Water Line Breaks
The water line serving the Inner Canyon at Phantom Ranch, Roaring Springs, and Cottonwood Campground broke during the weekend of June 28, 2013. The breakage caused a temporary suspension of operations at Phantom Ranch. The water pipe was fixed by Sunday afternoon, June 30.
All Inner Canyon, Cross-Corridor hikers and backpackers should always carry a water treatment system in case the water line breaks - as it so often does.
Mable Canyon Lodge Burns
On the morning of June 19, 2013, a fire swept through the historic Marble Canyon Lodge. Located along Highway 89A near Lees Ferry, Ariz., the lodge has been a local landmark for many a Grand Canyon river runner, and was established in 1926. The fire destroyed the dining hall and kitchen, store, and office. The hotel rooms were not damaged and remain open at this time.
Grand Canyon Skywalk Information
First of all, the Skywalk is NOT at Grand Canyon National Park. It is located 250 miles (about a five hour drive) west, closer to Las Vegas, on Hualapai Tribal Lands. Second, it costs nearly $90.00 per person (including taxes and fees) to actually walk on the horseshoe-shaped, glass-bottomed "Skywalk" itself. For more info you can visit grandcanyonwest.com.
The Skywalk was in the news recently as its developer passed away last month. 51-year old David Jin, a Las Vegas businessman and Chinese tour operator died after battling cancer for the last four years. He had invested some 30 million dollars for the construction of the tourist attraction.
"How to Survive the Canyon" Lecture at Phoenix R.E.I.
I will be conducting a slideshow lecture at the R.E.I. store in Paradise Valley on July 11, 2013 from 6-8 p.m. The lecture is titled - Hike Safe in the Grand Canyon. The store is located at 12634 N.Paradise Village Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ. Call (602)996-5400 for more information. All are welcome to attend.
Hike safe and have fun!
Brian at Bryce Canyon 2012
WELCOME TO THE #1 GRAND CANYON BLOG!
Tanner Overlook, Tanner Trail (photo: Brian Lane)
HOT, HOT, HOT...The heat of summer is upon us and Inner Canyon temperatures during the day (in the shade) are staying in the 105 degree range. It is a busy time of year for tourists to visit the Canyon as vacation season is in full swing. Just remember, while temps on the South Rim are regularly in the mid-80s, for every 1,000 foot drop in elevation there is a 3-4 degree change in temperature and by the time you reach the Colorado River at the Canyon's bottom you will find temps of 110 degrees or more. I know, I say it time and time again, but if you are exploring the Inner Canyon during the summer make sure you are off trail between 9am and 4pm, the hottest time of day. Drink plenty of water, and eat salty snacks too!
Reminder: Applications for overnight backpacking permits for trips starting in November, 2013, can be submitted starting July 1st.
Other Canyon News:
Hiker Rescued from North Kaibab Trail
On Tuesday, June 4, 2013, a 29-year-old male was found in "severe distress" by other hikers who reported the situation to park authorities. The man told rescuers that he had been drinking plenty of water but had eaten little food. He was diagnosed with hyponatremia after chemical analysis using an iStat device confirmed the prognosis. The hiker was extricated via helicopter utilizing a short haul line (roped and air-lifted into the chopper)from the Redwall area of North Kaibab Trail and taken to the South Rim before being transported to Flagstaff Medical Center. He is expected to recover.
Treating Hyponatremia (also known as Water Intoxication)
In talking with a park ranger at Phantom Ranch, I was told that hyponatremia is the most common problem he saw canyon hikers suffer from. This is another heat-related illness that can happen when you drink a lot of water without eating anything. I have to admit that I’m one of those people who tend to eat less when I’m on the trail. This can cause an imbalance of electrolytes so severe that you could end up suffering a seizure, a coma, or even death. Although this condition is really the opposite of dehydration, the symptoms are nearly identical: disorientation, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.
To prevent hyponatremia don’t drink just water alone; mix in some electrolyte-containing sport drinks. You’ll also need to eat more than your normal intake of food while hiking the canyon.
If you, or someone in your group developed water intoxication they need to stop, rest, and take in some food. If symptoms progress, protect the victim during possible seizures and monitor breathing. Even if you recognize the symptoms and treat this condition right away, the victim may need immediate evacuation.
One Man Dies during Boy Scout Hike at Lake Mead NRA
On Saturday, June 8, 2013, while Lake Mead Nat'l Recreation Area (AZ/NV) was under an excessive heat warning throughout the park (with temps exceeding 110 degrees) a group of six Boy Scouts went for a hike near White Rock Canyon. Early in the afternoon the Mohave County Sheriff's Office was notified that the group was lost in the area of Arizona Hot Springs. Park rangers and other emergency personnel responded and subsequently located one of the men, a 69-year-old Las Vegas resident who had died a mile from the trailhead. A second man was soon located and required advanced life support measures prior to being flown to the hospital for further medical treatment. The remaining four boys were eventually located late in the afternoon and received treatment by paramedics at the trailhead.
With at least two Boy Scout groups needing rescue recently in Canyon Country and a long history of getting these young scouts into trouble on the trail, I have just one question...Do the Boy Scouts test the IQs of their leaders prior to allowing them to take charge of these young kids? I don't want to seem crass, but there have been so many accounts of Boy Scout leaders that make this kind of horrible decision which ultimately puts the young ones at risk, whereas a reasonable human being would employ a modicum of common sense and possibly save lives. As a former Boy Scout myself, I believe there needs to be more accountability and oversight within this organization prior to their being allowed to take on such ventures.
Nik Wallenda to Tightrope over the Little Colorado River
The "King of the High Wire," Nik Wallenda will attempt to walk a tight rope across Grand Canyon's Little Colorado River without a net on June 23, 2013. The high wire act is scheduled to air live on the Discovery Channel that evening at 8pm Eastern Time. The distance across will be similar to that of his recent Niagara Falls crossing, but the height is nearly seven times greater. The Navajo Parks and Recreation is coordinating the stunt and have stated that after the event the area will be returned to its pristine condition.
Explosion of Graffiti Vandalism at U.S. Parks
A New York Times article recently discussed the spike in vandalism at U.S. parks stating that it has found its way into our wilderness areas due in part to photos shared via social media sites. From graffiti on giant saguaro cactus, to the destruction of ancient rock art, and scarred acheological sites, such acts of vandalism have been growing exponentially in recent years.
Here in Sedona, where I climb Bear Mountain on a regular basis I am constantly "erasing" people's names from the sandstone surfaces along the trail. The thing I notice most is that all the graffiti is along the lower sections of the trail, meaning that the people scratching names and arrows on the rocks are basically the wimpers who can't make it to the top of this arduous hike. This kind of graffiti vandalism is one of my pet peeves and I personally would have little mercy for anyone I ever spotted damaging the natural surroundings within our wilderness ares. According to the article, those caught have been fined up to $15,000, but that does not make up for the damage done to these beautiful sites.
You can read the full article at: http://nyti.ms/Zs4XCk.
I will be presenting a slideshow lecture titled, "Hike Safe in the Grand Canyon" at the Paradise Valley R.E.I. on July 11, 2013 from 6pm-8pm. The store is located at 12634 N. Paradise Valley Village Parkway, Phoenix, Ariz. Call the store at (602) 996-5400 for more information. The event is free and all are welcome to attend. Hope to see you there!
COMING SOON: The Arizona Monsoon Season officially runs from June 15 - September 15, 2013. Expect afternoon (sometimes severe) thunderstorms to occur on a regular basis.
Hike safe and have fun!
Author Brian Lane inside Buckskin Gulch, Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Ariz. (2012)
Spring in the Canyon: Redbud Tree in Bloom, Bright Angel Trail (Photo:Brian Lane)
The spring winds are blowing and the summer heat is on its way. This is wildfire season in the Southwest, and as we get warmer vegetation dries out, and the winds regularly gust up to 35 mph, rapidly spreading any human or naturally caused fires. So far we have been spared any big fires, but it is a long time until the Arizona Monsoon rainy season is ushered in by mid-July bringing much needed rain in the form of afternoon thunderstorms and enough humidity to quell any lingering wildfires.
May in the Canyon, as usual, is teetering on the cusp of triple-digit temperatures and the first heat warnings of the season have been posted as Inner Canyon temps have already climbed over 100 degrees in the shade. It's time to slow your pace and make sure you are off-trail during the hottest time of day: 9 am - 4 pm. I hope you plan to visit us and enjoy the magnificent wonder that is the Grand Canyon, but please explore safely and remember that the extreme heat of the Inner Canyon has killed many a summer hiker.
Reminder: Applications for overnight backpacking permits for trips starting in October, 2013, can be submitted starting June 1st.
Other Canyon News:
North Rim Opens:
On May 15 the North Rim road (AZ Route 67) was opened for the summer season. For those who might enjoy a more quiet setting to experience the Canyon the North Rim offers a wonderful alternative to the busy South Rim. Point Sublime and Swamp Point are accessible, both W-1 and W-4 roads are open at this time.
Drinking Water along the Cross-Canyon Corridor Trails:
All purified drinking water stations along the central corridor trails are on at this time including all three trailheads (Bright Angel, South Kaibab, and North Kaibab), Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse, Three-Mile Resthouse, Indian Garden, Bright Angel Campground, Cottonwood Campground, Roaring Springs, and Supai Tunnel. Subject to water line breaks, Inner Canyon explorers should always carry an alternative water treatment system, just in case.
Remote Trailhead Road Conditions:
All roads to remote trailheads are open at this time. A high-clearance vehicle is highly recommended and summer monsoons can make roads impassable. Check with the Backcountry Information Center for up-to-date road conditions prior to heading into the backcountry.
Bright Angel Trailhead Dedication:
The new and improved Bright Angel Trailhead (NPS Photo)
The ribbon cutting ceremony and trailhead dedication for the new and improved Bright Angel Trailhead took place on Saturday, May 18. The wonderful, and much needed, renovation encompassed 3.5 acres surrounding the trailhead and has resulted in a beautifully designed access area with new backpacker friendly bathrooms, shade structures, and the removal of other unsightly features.
NPS Photo of the Bright Angel Trailhead Dedication Ceremony
Backcountry Permits Online:
By all accounts the National Park Service at Grand Canyon may begin to accept overnight backcountry permit applications online as early as this September. No more calling over-and-over on their fax line to try and get through and perhaps gain the evermore elusive backcountry permit. Hope springs eternal!
Do Not Mail Packages to Phantom Ranch:
As of April, 2013 mules will no longer be delivering packages to Phantom Ranch. This service, enjoyed by boatmen and backpackers since the 1920s has become too expensive according to a Xanterra spokesperson, as many boxes were never picked up and subsequently had to be hauled back up the canyon. Letter service (postcards and letters) to and from Phantom Ranch will continue to be delivered.
Grand Canyon Volunteer Sjors Horstman Honored:
Longtime Canyon volunteer Sjors Horstman recently received the highest volunteer award presented by the State of Arizona, the Governor's Lifetime Achievement Volunteer Service Award. If you have visited the Phantom Ranch area of the Inner Canyon in the last 25 years you may have run into Sjors, who is always willing to stop and talk with visitors. Since 1987 he has logged in nearly 50,000 volunteer hours. Affable and accessible, he has routinely helped others by providing emergency first aid, as a naturalist and interpreter, he has assisted law enforcement, cleaned bathrooms, and done nearly everything in between. The guy does it all and there are so many of us that know Sjors and are glad to see his contribution toward keeping visitors safe and informed finally recognized! Congratulations!
Tusayan Shuttle Route Resumes:
The Tusayan Shuttle began service to Grand Canyon National Park on May 11, 2013. Those staying in the Canyon's neighboring South Rim town of Tusayan, or those wanting to park-and-ride from the town can once again enjoy this shuttle service. Buses run on 20-minute intervals with shuttle stops at the IMAX Theater, Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn, The Grand Hotel, and Big E Steakhouse. Folks using the shuttle must purchase their entrance pass to the park in advance (available at most hotels and many local businesses). Those choosing to park at the Tusayan Greenway parking lot (north end of Tusayan) will have to walk down to the IMAX for the closest shuttle stop. This shuttle operates through Friday, September 6, 2013.
23rd Annual Grand Canyon Star Party:
The Canyon's annual Star Party will take place from Saturday, June 8 thru June 15, 2013. The event is held on both the South and North Rims and includes slide shows and telescope viewing. For more information go to: http://tinyurl.com/2aer4dq
It's once again time to make sure you have plenty of water while hiking in and around the Grand Canyon as temps creep up into the over-100-degree-range. Drink extra fluids a couple days prior to hiking and ensure you have a minimum of one quart of water for every hour you expect to be on the trail. For instance, a day hike to Indian Garden, on Bright Angel Trail, is nearly 9.5 miles round-trip and takes the average person 6-9 hours. So, going down the trail you might consume about 3 quarts of water and climbing back out you'll probably consume more than one gallon (4 quarts). If you perspire a lot, make sure you mix in some sport drinks with electrolytes. Also, to avoid water intoxication (symptoms similar to heat exhaustion), it is very important not only to hydrate, but to eat (salty) snacks along the hike too. Cotton clothing should be worn during hot weather since it stays wet longer and can help keep you a bit cooler.
And again...Please do not hike the Inner Canyon during the hottest time of day from 9am - 4pm when temperatures are expected to reach over 90 degrees inside the Canyon, unless you know your body has an overwhelming tolerance for such extremes!
Hike safe and have fun!