I have wanted to hike this trail for about 16 years now and was finally able to pull it off this year. I just want to share with the group the way that I did it which I totally enjoyed and is a bit different approach. I call it the Whitney Style as this is the way I hike Mount Whitney. I'll leave the details of getting there to the other, better writers. I'll just say I took Buffalo Ranch Road to camp at the trail head, where I was greeted by what I was told was a Grand Canyon Rattler at the camp site of my first choice. I choose another. I considered its greeting an auspicious beginning. To keep this post brief and to the point, I hiked day one from the trailhead to Tilted Mesa for a total of eight miles +/-. The first three miles to the actual Nankoweap Trailhead were the toughest as I had more than enough water and a heavy pack. No seap action at Marion and you shouldn't count on it. I stashed two liters for the return like a good little hiker. I pitched my tent on Tilted and had one of the most pleasant evenings ever. There was not the slighest breeze that night and a new moon so the stars were more brilliant than most can imagine.
The next day I left my camp at Tilted and day hiked to the river. The plan was to do this difficult section fast and light. All the trip reports I've read decribe this as the most difficult part of the trail so I wanted to make it a little easier. I left my tent at Tilted very well anchored to a tree as I 've read that it gets windy there. This is good advice. Since it was already getting up to near 100 degrees at the river, I did not want to camp there or spend too much time. Tilted was a very agreeable temperature this time of year. This style of hiking does not leave much time at the river however I had ample time to explore the graneries and cool off in the eddy. I left the river just before noon and filtered water from Nankoweap Creek just before leaving the creek bed and heading back up to Tilted. This was a total of 12 miles with minimal weight and I was able to filter more water than I needed. I actually poured out around 3 liters of water on the hike out because I had so much. What a luxury in the canyon. I spent a second night on Tilted but this night was completely different than the first. The winds were howling that night which created a whole other sleeping experience. And I had the place to myself, again.
The third day I hiked out from Tilted and back to my truck at the trailhead for antoher 8 miles. I picked up my stash at Marion which I did not need. I saw a total of 6 people in three days, one of which was a park ranger who asked for my papers. Good thing I had a permit. This is one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done and I strongly recommend it for experienced canyon hikers. The exposure is for real. Take it seriously but don't miss out on this amazing hike. The five miles from the trailhead to Tilted are the most amazing miles ever!
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