Grandview Trail Area
The mini-blogs

Various Short Trip Reports

by Dennis Foster


Horseshoe Mesa dominates the view along the Grandview trail.


Click on any picture to see a larger image.

     Writing up a full-fledged trip report for every hike I have done in the Grand Canyon would suffer from at least two problems.  One, there are plenty of trips where not much happened.  This was especially the case for day trips that I took mostly for the purpose of hiking down and back as fast as I could.  Second, it would get repetitive.  How many trip reports do you need to read on hiking to Plateau Point?  Well, just one really.  But, there are usually some interesting features to remark on for every hike, and some unique photos.  So, I will endeavor to fill in this page (and, others) with these short stories and photos.  They are arranged, from top to bottom, in chronological order and linked to the list below.

2012/08/09 - To O'Neill Spring ... Again

 

To O'Neill Spring ... Again
Thursday, August 9, 2012

     This past April, I had made two trips to find O'Neill Spring (again) and see if there was any water in its pool.  There was none.  Now, deep into our monsoon season, I decided to make another check to see if this spot might serve as a pothole source of water.  But, despite a lot of rain in the past month, this site was bone dry.  So, if any water does trickle in here, it must disappear into some deeper space.  So it goes.
     I left home at 5 a.m. with a pretty light pack - 18 pounds, which included one gallon of water.  I had two liters frozen to cache at the Coconino saddle and just above the mesa.  That turned out to be a bit of a mistake.  Both bottles retained a lot of ice and I couldn't retrieve the ice cubes for my water bladder!  When they did melt (after I was home) they accounted for 12 ounces.  Since I reached the top with barely 6 ounces in my camelpak bag, in a pinch I would have been sorely tempted to pull out my knife and cut into these containers.  One of my buddies, John Eastwood, takes along frozen water in 2 liter juice bottles and he does cut them open - note to self.
     A bit after 7 a.m. I was on the trail and reached the "junction" with the O'Neill Spring trail at 9:25 a.m.  I put up a cairn here (on the other side of the trail) and proceeded to follow this old route to the spring site.  I had improved the route in April and did some more improvements on this hike.  There are some spots that are obscure and where the footing is a bit sketchy, but I added in enough cairns to stay on the route.  There is at least one cairn someone else left that is not on the route, but I haven't made the effort to climb up and knock it down.  Because I was doing some trail work, I didn't reach the dry spring site for an hour.  I stayed for 40 minutes and started on my way back at 11 a.m., with the temperature rising and a blue sky overhead.
     I reached my water cache above the mesa at 11:50 a.m. and was starting to feel the effects of the heat.  But the icy water tasted great.  I knew that we had a significant chance of rain and was counting on cloud cover.  But, it wasn't looking too good at this time.  So, after 15 minutes I got up and on my way, counting on gaining elevation fast enough to counteract the effects of the heat.  That worked fine, and, in fact the clouds did roll in while I was marching up through the Supai layer.  At the Coconino saddle, which I reached at 1:20 p.m., I laid out on a rock and it got dark and started to rain lightly.  That wasn't as concerning as the thunder, which was noticeable since I left the mesa.
     The thunder got louder and the lightening got closer.  I decided I didn't like my position amidst the tall trees of this saddle, so off I went.  I was hoping to find enough of an overhang in the Coconino to duck out from the storm, but had no luck.  Still the lightening got closer and one strike was so loud and close that I fell to my knees and covered my ears with my hands.  At a switchback ahead of me, two hikers missed getting hit by mere yards.  They backtracked down the trail to where I caught up with them and we waited there for 20-30 minutes while this slow moving storm moved away.  We had light rain off and on all the way to the rim, which we reached at 3:30 p.m.  There, the rain became heavier and more constant.  After making a stop at Buggeln to change into some dry clothes (there were tons of people at Grandview) I got back on my way and reached home at 6 p.m. (by way of Del Taco, naturally!).


A view of the rock cairn I put up
at O'Neill Spring, with the
Coconino saddle in the
background.  

A structure near the old cook house. 

Trail as it arrives at the spring. 

The hole above the spring - 16" deep.

The storm obscures Horseshoe Mesa.

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dfoster@kaibabjournal.com