Other Sports Magazine

Day 52: Grand Canyon: North Bass Trail

By Erin "wired" Saver @ErinWiredSaver
May 13thColorado River(784.8)-Teddy's Cabin(795.1)10.3mi
Alternate Title: The Uphill Battle
It was pretty wonderful to sleep in this morning. We needed to wait for our shuttle to come down river. There was a large commercial rafting group about 100yds upstream and they told us to be ready between 8-8:30am. That meant we got to sleep in! I did sleep in a bit, but then was wide awake. It was nice to lay in my tent and lounge. It's been hot and I did sweat overnight, so I focused on drinking through the morning and got 2L down, which is a lot for me. I got to watch half an episode of House of Cards and that was great. Just a leisurely beach morning before the tough 4600ft climb ahead to the North Rim. Whew!
The rafting group arrived at 8:45am and we were hiking by 9:05am. The hitch was great fun! It was a motorized raft, and the group was doing 7 days after hiking down the Bright Angel trail. Sounds like a fun trip. Just on our short few minutes with them, we got two historical stories off sites along the river and got to ride the Bass Rapids, which technically they aren't allowed to do, but the guide kindly deemed it safer than the other options for dropping us off. Great fun and the guide even offered to take our trash for us! Here's a montage of photos with our pickup, rapids ride, waving goodbye, and the view from our climb looking back on the rapids and the beach we camped on. Day 52: Grand Canyon: North Bass Trail
We started our hike up the now North Bass Trail. It was a steady climb and pretty hot for the first mile until we got the unexpected reprieve of Shinumo Creek. It was a nice little stretch with trees, hiking along the creek, and crossing it a few times. Day 52: Grand Canyon: North Bass Trail
We had an option to continue on Shinumo or take the higher route that paralleled it and would be less time consuming. Even though the first part was nice, we felt like we had had our fill and took the high route and we're happy with it. We knew we had a big day of climbing ahead of us...sadly, we were right. It was not an easy day. We ended up hiking just 10mi over the 9hr day today with about 2hrs of breaks.  That's a 1.4mi/hr pace excluding the breaks. That's pretty darn slow. I'm still low on energy from my period and Gavin was feeling a bit dehydrated the last couple days despite drinking plenty of water. The whole day was the 4600ft climb up to Muav Saddle with added hurdles to impede the process. Fortunately, the heat and sun were only around the first half of the day. Clouds and cooler temps in the low 70s came in the afternoon and that was a huge benefit! Our luck with weather has been unbelievable. We have totally scored on lunch spots and found shade below a large rock next to a pour off with running water. Great spot! Knowing we'd be dry camping up top tonight, I cooked my dinner for lunch...a Mountain House from Chris and Charles! I saved four Mountian Houses for this leg knowing how tiring and long it would be. Thank you Chris and Charles!Day 52: Grand Canyon: North Bass Trail
After lunch, we continued up White Creek and to the top of Muav Canyon. It started off as a nice gravel wash with some rocks or boulders from time to time. Then came the creek and we hopped back and forth a bit. Then the real fun started with dense brush added to the mix. We had heard there may have been a washout caused by a fire last year that made this trail less enjoyable, so I don't know if it's always been like this, but it wasn't very enjoyable. The brush slowed us significantly and the extended period of it really hit my claustrophobic nerve. Day 52: Grand Canyon: North Bass Trail
Day 52: Grand Canyon: North Bass Trail
Day 52: Grand Canyon: North Bass Trail
Partway through, we met a ranger who was the only other person on the trail and that's our first ranger we've seen in the backcountry since being in the Grand Canyon. We didn't expect to see him way out here! He even asked if we were Haydukers and said no one else would be out on this trail, ha! The final climb up was a doozy and I was spent despite the low mileage day by the time we reached the top. Here is a shot looking up the final turn to the saddle and a shot looking back on what we had climbed up and through the whole day, whew!Day 52: Grand Canyon: North Bass Trail
Day 52: Grand Canyon: North Bass Trail
At the top, in the saddle, is Teddy's Cabin. It was originally built in 1925, but seems to have been redone recently as it was quite nice. There was a register in the cabin and we could see past years Haydukers and got to leave an entry for this year's crew coming just behind us. Day 52: Grand Canyon: North Bass Trail
Some would sleep in the the cabin, but we prefer our tents and set up on one of the few flat spots up here, which is right next to the cabin. The winds are strong, but we are in a good protected spot it seems. This trail is crazy with its spectrum of weather. Last night, I sweat through the night down by the river around 2200ft with 80F, and tonight I'm bundled in my sleeping bag, beanie, and wool pjs with temps dropping into the upper 40s at 6800ft. That's the Hayduke for ya! I'm excited for my string cheese to get refrigerated overnight.  I realize I need to get more photos with me in them, so here's one at the camp spot!Day 52: Grand Canyon: North Bass Trail
When we planned this day, with the permits, I cringed to think it would take so long to do 10mi, but according to past Hayduker trail journals, it was quite the slog and they were right! So, day one of three of the toughest on this trail is complete. I am NOT looking forward to tomorrow and have dreaded it all trail. There are two major obstacles. The first is Saddle Canyon, which has a lot of pour offs and many with deep, ice cold, plunge pools that vary in depth, but may be over my head at times. Brrr! After that is the dreaded Tepeats Creek, which we will need to wade across and walk in many times. It is said to be quite swift and not recommended when deep...and there's been rain lately. Yep, not excited about either of those, so it will be a challenging one tomorrow...
One additional note. These last three days have been an additional alternate off the original Hayduke called the Tonto West Bass Trails Alternate. Now that I've done it, I'd say it was not worth adding. I did it to avoid the 25mi road walk on the original route on the north rim, but it ended up being an additional 30+mi that added two days of hiking and food to an already draining leg. I think most of us this year chose one of the alternates to avoid the road walk that does add days/miles, but I'm not sure they are worth the effort. I felt like I saw much of what I had already seen and that it ended up being a whole lot more effort for nothing all that different from what I'd already done on the first Grand Canyon leg. Just my two cents for future Haydukers. Only do the alternate if you really love what you've already done and want more of that...and a tough climb up to the North Rim. I especially wouldn't recommend it on a hot and/or dry year. 

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