Twig Adventures

GC Day 9: Elves Chasm

Tuesday, February 27th 2024
110 Mile Camp to Fossil Camp mile 125.4
15.4 miles, elevation 2075′

Everyone was feeling well-rested after a day off. I for one was antsy to get back on the river and make some progress, even though we were well along the way. Only 7 miles downriver, we came to Elves Chasm, a popular side hike to an enchanted waterfall. We clambered a short ways up to the desired spot. I wasn’t wearing my drysuit, so wasn’t inclined to do what several did in climbing into the rocks and coming out halfway up the waterfall for a jump into the pool. It looked like a lot of fun. Charlie actually did it without a drysuit. We had lunch afterwards, warming up in the sun. Later I looked at a map and some trip reports to see that this was the furthest point a hiker could reach from the South Rim via the Royal Arch route and/or Tonto West/South Bass trails. Meaning the only other chances of seeing hikers beyond this point were from the North Rim (i.e. Bill Hall Trail to Tapeats or Deer Creek and/or Hayduke route down Saddle Canyon) or points very far west like Havasu Canyon.

This trip really opened my eyes to just how much of the canyon remains to be explored by foot, following very long, arduous, and remote canyons like Kanab creek. Every side canyon we passed sparked my imagination, making me wonder how many might be possible to get down. The Royal Arch route requires a 20′ rappel and a lot of scrambling at a minimum. I wanted so much to explore more of the Grand Canyon and yet I consistently felt more and more leery of it. I’d come to find out, a lot can go wrong pretty quickly and easily and when it does, you’re stuck in a really tough place.

The remaining half of the day was pretty uneventful. We had no big rapids and got to camp pretty early. I rowed Charlie’s raft a fair bit, tackling more fun smaller rapids. Magnus, Lucas, Dania, and I all went for an afternoon hike to look for, you guessed it, fossils in Fossil Canyon. We went just about 3 miles round trip and got back just before dark. We found tons of worm tubes in the Tapeats sandstone, which I guess is famous for them. I really liked the view from my tentsite, which I positioned high up on the hill. Another great day!

One comment

  1. Hi Twig,
    Have you read anything by or about Harvey Butchart? He was a math professor at ASC/NAU in Flagstaff and probably hiked more of the remote parts of the GC than anyone else. Even more than Colin Fletcher. What is your next excursion?

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