Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tackling a Small Piece of the Grandview Trail

Friday, April 6, 2012 – Fred and I left Joann to do a bit of sightseeing on her own while we stretched our ‘hiking legs’. I had been having my eye on the Grandview Trail since we were last here two years ago. This trail descends steeply to Horseshoe Mesa, where you could connect to several loop trails and campgrounds if you were making a multi-day backpack trip. We were only interested in a nice day hike, but I had wondered just how steep the trail was…in case we should want to backpack it some day.

Grandview Point at 7,400 feet elevation, is the highest point on the South Rim. The Grandview Trail drops 2,500 vertical feet over 3.1 miles to the junction with Horseshoe Mesa. We were not planning to hike all the way to Horseshoe Mesa, but only to hike as far as we wanted for a nice day hike before heading back up.


The trail was, as promised,  steep and rocky and narrow…….


Threading along sheer cliffs. Look closely at this photo and you can pick out the trail running diagonally across the middle of the rock face. Timber ‘cribbing’ helps support the sides of the trail.


Other sections of trail are covered with rip-rap (large, flat rocks set on their sides, like cobblestones).


There was beauty all around us…….The views of the canyon, and Horseshoe Mesa (pictured here) were awesome.

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And we found beauty even underfoot…..


As we spent a lot of time looking down … the rough footing…..and me, focusing closely on the footing, and trying not to look down over the edge!


This is an example of the timber cribbing used to ‘bridge’ a gap in the trail. From the side, it looks much more precarious than it felt. The trail surface was filled in with dirt and rock, and seemed continuous.


We hiked about 1.5miles and 1,500 feet down into the canyon…..very slowly (I am a very timid downhill hiker)…in about 2 hours. We had gotten a taste of the trail, and were ready to head back. We had passed this broad landing, the Coconino Saddle, on our way down. It seemed perfect for a lunch break, so we stopped there on our way back up……


Lunch with a view…….This trail was aptly named….. Grandview……

I should say…..the hike back up was not as bad as I had worried that it might be. This trail IS steep and not for beginners….but I am glad that we were able to add this trail to the ones that we have hiked in the Canyon.

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