Life on the Edge -- Grand Canyon, Arizona

February 17-28, 2009



We had been waiting and watching the weather forecasts, trying to time a trip to the esplanade when there would be water in the waterpockets. Along this remote northwest corner of the Grand Canyon, these natural rock cisterns are the only water source, besides the river way down at the bottom of the canyon.

Finally, a cold winter weather system swept across the Arizona Strip, with radar maps showing snow over the canyon.

Time to hit the road!

The remote Arizona Strip along the road to Toroweep Point.



It's sixty-one miles of dirt road between Arizona Highway 389 and the the Tuckup trailhead. About half way along we encountered the MUD from the melting snow. After a little slipping and sliding, we decided to hole up nearby, camp out on the desert for the night, and try again in the morning. There was no way we'd make it over 25 miles of deep mud in our little Honda. Just as the sun was setting over Mount Trumbull, a couple of pickup trucks came rumbling along. Yikes! They had high clearance, giant tires, and were completely covered from tire to windshield in a muddy mess.

It was 23 degrees when we emerged from the tent shortly before sunrise the next day. Threw everything in the car and did the next hour and a half driving over the frozen mud, yay! Then we backpacked out a ways along the rim, and ended up making a base camp, only a stone's throw from where Liza is standing over the abyss. At 2500 feet directly above the river, it was a bit like standing on the roof of a two hundred and fifty story building without a handrail. Very exciting spot! We watched the tiny specks of rafters floating below one afternoon.


Fortunately, the waterpockets held fresh pools of rainwater, and we were able to stay out for six days, camped next to our coveted water source.

From there, we took a number of nice day hikes out along the rimrocks. Spectacular skies during our time there, and we watched the snow on the ridges above us slowly melt away during our stay. Fortunately, the mud was mostly dried up by the time we returned six days later, despite the rain showers that drove us into the tent one afternoon.

The ultimate air-chair!






Waterpocket on the rim.