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Trek to Clear Creek in the Grand Canyon

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Creative Visualization by Keven Siegert

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Trek to Clear Creek in the Grand Canyon

February 14th, 2017 · 1 Comment

 

 

 

Clear Creek is a remote oasis deep within the Grand Canyon. To reach it, five of us hiked the Bright Angel Trail at sunrise to the Bright Angel Campground on the first day, then across the Clear Creek Trail to our destination on the second day.

 

 

 

Colorado River

 

The Clear Creek Trail was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. It’s a long shadeless trail with breathtaking panoramas as it roller coasters along the Tonto Platform.

 

 

At the trail’s end lies a steep and tricky descent into a gorge of slippery red shale, with the perennial Clear Creek happily bubbling through it.

 

 

 

 

 

We saw plenty of Engleman prickly pear, Mormon Tea, brittlebrush and beautiful abstracts of lichen on rock.

The trail starts by hugging the steep Tapeats cliffs, with expansive views of the Colorado River and the twin bridges below. The rock formation of “the Seahorse” can be seen upon rounding one of the corners.

 

 

We passed the imposing Sumner Butte and then the famous spire of Zoroaster. The clouds were heavy and low in the sky, with occasional spits of rain. It was a fine cool day, perfect for hiking.

 

Sumner Butte

 

Zoroaster Temple

 

The trail then opens up to a classic desert vista with plentiful yucca, agave and mesquite. We moved along at a relaxed pace, taking in the views of the stratus of the South Rim wall from our unique perspective.

 

The trail then turns kind of northeastern and skirts along the Vishnu gorge of Zoroaster canyon and we can finally see an immense canyon, which hosts Clear Creek.

 

From here, it’s a steep descent on Hakatai shale, gorgeous red color, but really tricky because of the exposure and our heavy packs. It was a great thrill ride to the bottom!

 

 

We made camp here by the water and enjoyed a relaxed afternoon of exploring the area. My tent site had a lot of rocks strewn about, so I created a mini “rock garden”.

That evening we enjoyed great meals (smoked salmon with brown rice and veggies) washed down with plenty of good Irish whiskey, as the rain continued to drizzle down. We were all well prepared for the weather though, so it was actually quite comfortable.

 

The sound of the rushing water along with the patter of rain on the tent and perfect temperatures created a restful night for sleeping and I crashed hard – waking only once during the night.

 

The next day, we hiked back out the way we came in, with very low clouds hovering above the spires and hoodoos above – creating a kind of spiritual feeling, especially along the top ridges of the canyon walls. We hiked along comfortably and all agreed it was one of the best hikes any of us had ever enjoyed.

 

 

 

After a final night at Bright Angel Campground, we made our way out of the canyon in about six hours – extremely grateful and happy to have had the privilege of being able to spend time in one of the most magnificent places on Earth.

 

What a Great trip!

 

                

 

 

        

 

 

 

Tags: Camping · Cooking · fauna · flora · Landscapes · love · Weather · wildlife

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Dr Zee... // Feb 15, 2017 at 8:38 am

    I am more than envious…mostly that you can even manage that rigorous a hike, let alone, get out there and do it!!! I haven’t done the GC since I was 20, when I hiked Hermits trail…still one of the fondest memories of my life…such a spiritual place!! I’m only stuck in this BioMed hell for a mere 4 more weeks…and then it’s time to get back into Grand Canyon shape, as i’m going to join my wild land fire fighting daughter whilst she tries to get back into shape for this season after her 2 back surgeries (which of course brings her down to my level till she heals more…lol)…I hope our paths will cross and we might do some hiking together as well…or at least talk about it over some good whiskey! In cleaning out the office I’ve found lots of old photos…including from the adventure at ‘Camp Coronado’, the retreat we took to learn how to be’ better’ workers…you and I look SO young…but then, I guess we were…you are still looking great my brother…retirement is suiting you well!! End of March I’m out of here…and i’m hoping it will improve my health as well!! Stay in touch…I’ll be a free man…sort of…!? Z

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