Clear Creek, Phantom Creek
“Excessively Dangerous Hike! Hiker insisted on Itinerary!” That’s what the permit said. We applied for a permit to be in the Clear Creek use area on the first day. The letter from the Ranger said that many hikers attempt to hike to Clear Creek on the first day and fail. He reminded me that we would not be allowed to stay at Bright Angel Campground no matter what. I had to explain the plan for the whole trip and list all the other trips we had done, and then describe all of my equipment (presumably so they could identify our stuff if they couldn’t find our bodies). All we wanted to do was to hike down South Kaibab trail, hang out at BAC and Phantom Ranch a few hours and then get back up to the Tonto to camp that night. No illusions of making it to Clear Creek on the first day. After the explanation, they issued the permit complete with disclaimer.
Cross the River and Up to the Tonto
We left the car in lot D, near the Bright Angel Lodge, so it would be handy upon our exit out the
To Clear Creek
Hiked to CC camp in 4 hours. Having the 2 hours out of the way from Sunday night’s work was nice. It seems like you must be near CC about an hour before you really are. The trail just keeps going around washes off washes. The last 30 minutes are loose with steep drop-offs on one side. There are 4 well used sites. 3 have shade. There are ammo boxes to protect food from varmints. We didn’t see any. There is a pretty decent pit toilet. Norm and Jerry hiked up CC a mile or two in Teva’s splashing in the creek, and taking side trails occasionally. It seemed the walk to Cheyava falls would be “wet boots time”.
Cheyava Falls and Start Back
At breakfast we had gnats like never before in the Canyon. John and Jerry hiked up to Cheyava falls. They were back by with dry feet. About we headed back toward BAC. We passed an excellent site at about 6 and found a suitable site amongst some sand stone outcroppings at about .
Down to Bright Angel Creek and Back Up to Utah Flats Back to North Kiabab Trail by due to the head start Tuesday night. The highlight of the trip was to be a hike down Phantom Creek. The end of such a hike requires crossing
We ate in the shade and then walked back to Phantom Ranch for an Iced Tea and sent some post cards. Then we hung out at BAC. Norm and Jerry bathed and did laundry in the creek. About when the whole trail was in the shade we started up toward Piano Alley and Utah Flats. It was a demanding hour. The first ¾ is steep and loose. It is much easier going up than down. We learned that last trip. The last ¼ is through the huge sandstone “pianos”. This is Norm’s favorite part. The route is not obvious so it takes some thought, and the footing is non-skid because of the sandstone. It’s great!
We couldn’t find the spot we had slept our other two nights on
Across to Phantom Creek
We started across cactus flats working our way west. There is no trail although now and then it seemed there might be one. If there is, it fades frequently. The terrain takes you to the right and across the slope down to the creek (not near any edge though). Eventually we saw a well worn trail working its way west. It took a right turn north and then was down, down, down to the creek. The first part of the descent is quite steep and loose. The pitch decreases a bit. There is a fork in the trail which Norm missed. The right fork took us right down near the water fall. The left fork gets to the creek about a half mile upstream. As we descended we tried to pick out the route up and over on the north side to get past the water fall. We thought a large rock slide right off the camp site by the falls would work. Norm went over to the falls. There is no longer a log to help climb. On the left someone has anchored a loop of cable in the rock. Perhaps you can rappel from that? There was no means for these three guys to climb down at the waterfall. Norm had several Internet communications about routes around the falls but we neglected to study them while we were AT the falls. We hiked upstream to the overhanging sandstone where we had stayed last time. We seemed to be the only ones in the use area that day. Norm went back to check out the rock slide. It showed no signs of being part of a trail and many of the rocks moved. Norm got to the top and contoured around toward the falls, but there was no trail up there. Upon returning to
Down Phantom Creek
We hiked back to the falls. Norm found the first cairn and up we went. This trail is steep but has several
Back to the South Rim
John had to be at a wedding by in