Grand Canyon in a week – Did I miss anything? Suggestions?
Sep 8, 2018 at 7:22 pm #3555085
So In a week or so I’m hitting the Grand Canyon for a 3 day trip – Hermit Trail to Monument Creek, then across the Tonto trail to Indian Gardens, then out, followed by a night of dispersed camping by Flagstaff or Sedona. Looking for any input – advice on my gear list, and anything I missed?
I don’t have the map yet (Sky Terrain GC map coming Monday), Also just picked up a pack of Micropur tabs for backup water treatment.
I’ll probably bump the smartwater bottles to 1.5 L bottles once i get to AZ so between them, 2 sawyer bags and 2 gatorade bottles I’ll have a bit over 6 liters capacity which (I think) should be enough to get me across the Tonto trail. I’m also considering ditching the zip pants and just wearing the Nike shorts, thoughts? I’ll likely leave the poncho behind if the forecast is clear for the three days. I know the popcorn tin is heavy for food protection but I don’t feel like buying an Outsak, plus it fits all my food for 3 full days.
I’ve done a bunch of dayhikes but am pretty new to camping and backpacking -I did 5 days on the Long Trail last August, and this past April went to Zion and did the Narrows top to bottom followed by the West Rim Trail.
So any thoughts, advice, tips about my gear list, my route or hiking in the canyon in general? I appreciate it!Sep 9, 2018 at 2:45 am #3555146ArthurBPL Member
Fun route. Nice intro to the canyon. Why mesh bivy? No flying bugs there. Unless you are spooked about things crawling on the ground. Scent proof bag? Food is in the can. Why the battery? Is there a phone involved that i missed? There is no phone service over the rim and you have to work hard to get lost if you have a topo on the trails you are hiking. The Tonto will be hot, in the 90’s. The SAR in the GC says it hauls more people off the Tonto than any other area. Have fun, it is a great trip! Try to make time to wander down to the river from Monument and slide down the black Schist slides on the way. Get a really early start, take the first bus out or even thumb out to Hermit. Take a cheat sheet of the different geological layers with you. Not looking at the geology in the Canyon is just wrong, it is what the canyon is all about. Look for the lizard tracks in the Coconino layer about 3/4 mile down on the left side of the Hermit trail. Impressive.Sep 9, 2018 at 3:00 am #3555147Ken ThompsonBPL Member
@hereLocale: Right there
What are the extra clips, biners, batteries for? Three days. Paracord for what? Not hanging food. The Mora? Fine knife, but for what? Pee bottle? Not going to be raining or snowing, so ditch that.Sep 9, 2018 at 4:03 am #3555149Matthew / BPLModerator
^agreed. I think there are a lot of ounces that can be lost from the last section of the list. Will you be hiking at night? If not, pick up a AAA flashlight with a clip for your hat. Repackage your toiletries in smaller containers, you won’t go through 5 ounces of stuff in a couple nights. Lose the pee bottle. I can’t imagine what you need a Mora for in the canyon. Have a nice trip!Sep 9, 2018 at 6:12 am #3555157David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
I’ll grant you more weight for lighting than others – the ability to hike into the night or before daybreak to beat the heat might be an important option. Last month, I started a hike down the South Kaibab at 4:30 am and a really minimal little light was plenty of light.
But skip the Mora. Nice knife, but there are no trees, no firewood to prepare, no fish to fillet and no bears to butcher. A Victorinox Classic is 21 grams – 0.75 ounces. And has more tools on it (scissors are safer to use on Luekotape or food packaging than a blade).
I haven’t checked if 5+ liters of water is appropriate for that route. Respond to the weather forecast and be ready to get up WAY before dawn to get miles done early in the day.
The popcorn tin (which I keep promoting) isn’t light, but sure does give care-free food storage and avoids you having to police against squirrels and ravens all day and all night long.
I see a mini-Bic, but no stove. Either you are taking a stove, or you don’t need the lighter (unless maybe for sterilizing a needle to pop a blister(?). While in other areas, a lighter can start an emergency fire, that doesn’t help in GCNP.
I don’t get any cell reception even at Indian Gardens or on the Bright Angel above until very close to the Rim. That’s a lot of electronic weight if just for tunes – which could be done a lot lighter with a tiny dedicated MP3 player.
Skip the poncho and remember that your tarp can be used as a poncho in a downpour (I’ve been in a few of those in GCNP). Likewise, I’d skip the wind shirt, be ready to rely on the tarp, but would consider a very light puffy if up and about late at night to watch stars or early in the morning to beat the heat. Or wrap yourself in your quilt for the first hour of hiking until you’ve warmed up.
I hate convertible pants – that zipper adds stiffness I don’t like. Lightweight long pants aren’t wrong – complete sun and bug protection and some warmth if needed, but I prefer lighter, more flexibly options.
I’ll often hike in a cotton shirt in the GC and soak it with water as I cross drainages. I find that cools me but isn’t as tiring as sweating out that same amount of water. You only have the two bandanas that will hold water easily. I mostly use one bandana to soak and keep it around my neck, rotating it frequently to move the outer, cool side against my skin.
Be careful of pointy plants and sharp rocks before you lay out your air mattress.
If you do bring the phone, download a sky-watching app such as SkyView. The constellations can be hard to recognize when there are SO MANY stars in the sky. I’ve also enjoyed the satellite tracking apps that tell you when and where satellites will pass overhead.Sep 10, 2018 at 4:25 am #3555273
Thanks for taking a look and the advice – here are the changes I made so far and why I have some of the stuff I listed:
Phone – Arthur you are right I forgot to add the phone in. I am going to carry my Iphone 7 – not that I’m expecting to have any service once I get under the rim but I’m a picture taker while hiking, and first time in the canyon I expect to take a ton of pics! In Zion my phone charge lasted about a day and a half so I expect I’ll need to charge it at least once – that is why the Anker is coming. I did drop the wall charger and the cord for charging the battery I didn’t think of those, thanks! The scent proof bag I have because I’m bringing a pepperoni and a hunk of hard cheese so I’m hoping that will keep the smell out of my pack, plus another layer of protection in case any grease leaks.
The bivy two reasons – 1) I made it and would like to use it, and 2) I am a little nervous about the critters, scorpions and i read somewhere the mice just run over you at some of the popular sites at night. Don’t know how true that is but it doesn’t sound fun lol. Foolish concerns? I’ve never been there so I don’t know, plus all of my limited camping has ben in a hammock so I haven’t thought about it until now! I am open to dropping it though ( I think) – I actually found a Black Contractor bag in my closet so I cut that up into a 86X34 groundsheet, heavy at 4.5 oz but would still save me 7.2 oz.
I was planning on exactly that – catching the first bus to Hermit so I can hopefully get don to the river too. And thanks for the tip on the geology cheat sheet I’ll see if I can find something. And the lizard tracks very cool – photo op!
I had the paracord and 6 small binder clips thinking I would throw up a line to dry my stuff, but I guess its dry enough I won’t have to worry about it. And the biners were 2 small nite ize plastic ones in case i wanted to hang something on the pack. Anyway I dropped them all so saved 2.6 oz there, thanks! The pee bottle i figured with that i wouldn’t have to get out of the bivy (when) I have to pee a 2 AM. I cut it out so another 1.8 oz gone.
I’ve already repackaged most of the toiletries – a good portion of the 5 oz is from the Glide container (I’ve got the bigger one not the little ones). I’ll take another look and see what I can trim there. I’m planning on getting 5 AM starts or so to try to beat the heat, especially day 2 across the Tonto. I’ll look into a smaller clip on flashlight tomorrow and see if I can find something locally.
Your older posts on the popcorn tin is where I got the idea so thank you! A bit heavy but easy and I found one at Goodwill for $1.00 that perfectly fits all my food so it works for me! I’m assuming you just leave it out and stick a rock on top right?
I know Target by me carries the Victorinox Classic for $10-$12 or so, I can go there tomorrow at some point. I was actually bringing the Mora because I already have it and I was thinking something like that for cutting the pepperoni and cheese mentioned above.
You are right I’m going stoveless so I dropped the bic – .3 oz gone. As far as water for the Tonto I’ve heard anywhere from 4-7 Liters so i figure a bit over 6 would work, however now I’m thinking maybe I do want to get to 7 so I might keep the 2 1 liter bottles (side pockets), the 2 bags, the 2 gatorade bottles (shoulder strap attachments) and add a 2 liter bottle just to be safe.
I dumped the poncho – saved 6.7 oz. I’ll probably toss it in my other suitcase just so I have it but won’t bring it unless the weather changes from what it says today. I was thinking for what the night temps would likely be I would be able to get by with the hiking shirt, the t shirt and throwing the windshirt on top to seal in the body heat – but you think I might need something more? I could either bring an Apex 2.5 short sleeve zip neck shirt I’m almost finished with (6.7 oz) or a lightweight Columbia fleece (8.9 oz).
Downloaded Skyview great tip Thanks!Sep 10, 2018 at 5:02 am #3555284Ken ThompsonBPL Member
@hereLocale: Right there
Have a great trip.Sep 10, 2018 at 5:19 am #3555286
There’s usually water at Horn Creek. There is some uranium contamination in the area, but all the evidence I’ve seen shows that it’s not dangerous for occasional consumption. I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to drink it if you’re out of water on the Tonto in summer, the risk of harm from dehydration is much greater.
There’s a thread here where I’ve linked to and summarized research data.Sep 10, 2018 at 5:40 am #3555289
Your gear list looks great to me. You do get mice running around, I’ve had them run across me dozens of times if that’s something likely to bother you. It’s usually just a quick scuttle around the area when it first gets dark to check whether your smells mean food is there, once they’ve figured that out they don’t keep bothering you. But in many many nights in the GC with an open groundsheet I’ve never been bothered by anything nasty. The risk from snakes and scorpions is exaggerated.
The biggest change in mindset is water management becoming a life or death matter. I can’t tell you how much will be enough for you, because it will vary so much depending on your build and fitness level and the temperature, but obviously be conservative until you get a sense of what you find you need in these conditions. It sounds like you’re already adopting the common sense strategy of not putting all of your water in one big bladder.
Are you taking electrolytes? The lightest form is the SaltStick capsules (you can find them on Amazon). Some energy bars these days are oriented to the health conscious and have too little salt for a hiker in these conditions. But if you have salted almonds or something like that to snack on that’s probably enough.Sep 11, 2018 at 2:57 am #3555404
Yeah I read about the water at Horn. I’m hoping I’ll have enough water to make it across but if i need it I’ll drink there for sure. I’m actually rethinking the SW bottles and keeping them as 1 liter bottles, but throwing a 3 L Poland Spring jugas well in my pack too just to be safe.
I tried the SaltStick pills once and my body didn’t really dig them. I’ve got a good amount of sodium packed in my food (3500 mg/ day) but I’m going to bring along a baggie of sea salt as well to add to water periodically.Sep 11, 2018 at 4:07 am #3555414
I take the 2L collapsible platypus bottles for extra capacity in the desert. They are light and strong. They are also a good size and shape if you ever need to settle out Colorado sediment with alum, easy to shake vigorously to dissolve the alum, tall and narrow so you can decant off the clean water while sediment sits on the bottom. (Not an issue for you on this trip, no sediment in the side canyon streams except in floods.)
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