I've been dreaming of this trip for a few years.
The route is planned, GPS loaded...
and the bike is ready.
I leave town around 11 AM.
I can't wait to leave the triple digit heat behind. I'm already regretting wearing the winter jacket and pants.
I have 11 days to get all the way around the Grand Canyon to as many backcountry viewpoints as possible.
But first, the super-slab.
At Tusayan I turn off the pavement and leave the regular tourists behind.
There are MILLIONS of visitors to the Grand Canyon each year. You may think getting away from everyone
would be more difficult, but I've heard of a place even here on the South Rim where you can be alone.
It will cost you though...
I cross the tracks for the Grand Canyon Railroad...
and get reacquainted with my bike in the gravel.
I haven't been able to ride much over the summer.
I enter the Havasupai Reservation.
I reach a gate and am contacted by a Tribal Ranger. Actually, he was a teenager wearing jeans, t-shirt, and an
unbuttoned official looking ranger uniform shirt. He was polite and asked where I was going.
"Havasupai Point" I answer. He asked for $25 and I handed it over. I knew this ahead of time
and was prepared (financially and emotionally). He tells me they have an elk hunt going on
and warns that all of the other roads are off limits and he opened the gate for me.
My $25 allows me access to about four miles of this "road".
At this intersection I turn right onto the South Bass Road.
The "road" went up a wash with heavy erosion damage. The trench and washouts crisscross the road requiring repeated crossings.
At times the entire track was washed out with loose sand and rocks making it interesting.
I leave the Tribal Lands and enter the National Forest...
and then into the National Park. No one asked to see my annual park pass.
The trail doesn't improve in the park.
I reach the Grand Canyon at the South Bass Trailhead. There were two SUVs in the parking lot, but the owners were off hiking.
South Bass Trailhead View
I head back a short ways and cross this puddle again.
I find the left turn towards Havasupai Point.
The trail gets narrower and it is obvious not as many people venture out this way.
This log wasn't to big so I decided to ride over my first ever log even though I could have gone around it.
I was surprised at how easy the bike rolled over it. This may have contributed to an over-confidence issue later in the trip...
I reach Havasupai Point on a different route than planned. The purple line is the intended route, but that
trail is now closed. You must ride almost all the way to the South Bass Trailhead before taking the squiggly
line over to Havasupai Point.
I like it here.
I think I'll be like this cactus and hang out at the edge here awhile.
The Colorado River flows thousands of feet below me.
I set up camp and make dinner plans...
while I watch the sunset.
After dinner I crawl into the tent and read a book before going to sleep. It feels nice to be alone at the Grand Canyon again.
This place isn't even that far from home.
Day 1 Tracks in Google Earth