Shinimu Wash-Marble/Grand Canyon - 12 miles-5000’ elevation gain and loss
Our group of five included my son Jake, friends and hiking partners Dan, Lorenzo, and John left around 7:00 Friday evening and stopped in Flag for dinner and libations at the Beaver Street Brewery. Our evening destination was our favorite staging area, the Cameron Trading Post. The Trading Post’s spacious rooms, nice restaurant and beautiful garden courtyard at a reasonable price, keeps us coming back. En route we were delayed over an hour on highway 89 due to a fatal collision involving a Semi. We had earlier discussed the necessary caution of driving this road late on Friday evening due to the frequent level of accidents.
We arrived close to midnight and had to hunt down the Security guard for our room key. The Post closes at 9:00 P.M. We finally hit the rack close to 1:00 A.M.
In the morning we took Navajo road 6120 West at Cedar Ridge for 21 miles to the trailhead. We followed the directions laid out in Steck’s Loop Hikes II and they were right on. Bill Orman’s input also very helpful.
We were on the well used horse trail at 9:15 A.M.
Note: This hike was featured in the September issue of Arizona Highways. The article categorized the route a “tough trek” on an “elusive, little –used trail”. The author of the article wrote that her group had lost the trail countless times and had to build cairns to help find their way back. This group ran out of water halfway to their destination so you can take it from there.
The facts are that this trail is extremely well defined and over cairned, probably due to their distribution. The article’s author could perhaps benefit from some leave no trace education and possibly would be better suited to the main corridor trails.
This is a very easy rim to river route. I know that the difficulty factor is relative to the individual and their respective physical condition, skills, and experience, but this route requires just 5000’ elevation gain/loss with very little exposure.
The route was created by the Bureau of Reclamation’s in the 50s in an attempt to further Dam the Canyon.
Thank God the Sierra Club was able to obtain enough public support to put an early end to the project. Apparently, an urgent full page ad was put in the New York Times appealing for the protection of the Grand Canyon. If you have read Cadillac Desert, you may not be a big fan of the Bureau of Reclamation’s and the Army Corp of Engineers. These two agencies were purported to be in competition and built too many Dams that serve no useful purpose and did not have business case justification.
We hiked about six miles and followed the fence fault down to the River. There is a nice beach area but we opted to camp about twenty five feet above the Colorado. This site is in my all time top five. It provided us with a gorgeous quarter mile river view. We arrived at 1:00 P.M. and decided to set up camp and relax instead of continuing a couple of miles to Vasey’s Paradise. Having seen it from South Canyon there was no burning desire to get another glimpse. We enjoyed watching a private river party pass by late in the afternoon. Clad in their wet suits, the people on the numerous rafts and kayaks were having a great time. They smiled and waved. The sun sparkled brilliantly on the water.
The evening was spent sipping “Jack D” and enjoying the good cigars that Dan brought. Normally, I stay away from alcohol in the Canyon (Phantom Ranch the exception) but we were not real concerned with dehydration. There were a couple of water pockets on the trail. The temperature range was between 40 and 60 degrees, perfect for Canyon Hiking.
On the way out we were amazed to see a very large porcupine on the trail! Dan and John almost walked right into him. The big fella’s quills blended in perfectly with the brush. We were all delighted with this sighting. I never expected to run into a porcupine in the Canyon.
The last mile to the rim was a little challenging as you gain about 1000’.
The atmosphere at the rim was surrealistic. A beautiful, unique assembly of soft clouds in the sky, a snow covered North Rim to the West, and the colorful Vermilion Cliffs to the North plugged us into a feeling. We broke out the Sierra Nevada’s that Lorenzo brought and cranked up John’s CD player with “While my guitar gently weeps”. Toasts were made all around, hoisted in the direction of the heavens “to George Harrison.”
We again stopped at the Beaver Street Brewery for dinner and libations and got back to Scottsdale close to 7:00 P.M.
Overall this trip is rated a 9.7. It would have been a solid 10 if not for the over kill of cairns and the weak Arizona Highways article. Thanks to John for driving, and the time shared with my son and the group.
The Popular--- Men Behaving Badly Section
-John and EL Lobo not eating and drinking things at the Beaver Street Brewery that their stomachs and upper intestines could break down. Their stench and volume nearly killed the other three members of the group on the hike down. In addition, they both tried to blame each offensive ugly incident on the other. They both had the nerve to shout “Jeez” when the other did it!
-Famous Quote by John: “ I am humbly honored to now have hiked where Steve Yahner, Master Canyoneer, has not gone. In fact, Steve and El Lobo could not even find this trailhead last year. I am now at the advanced level! Wait until I tell my Dad! Steve told him I was a beginner.”
-Famous quote by Dan. “I have hiked in tougher terrain in the San Gabriels! You are not S*&T, John!
-El Lobo brought Bud Lights but drank the Pale Ales and left the Bud Lights for John.