Waterspots of the Grand, Part One
Lee's Ferry to Phantom Ranch
From the rim, you'd never guess these places exist! Looks like a dry gulch down there, except for the Colorado River. Here are some that we visited.
At river mile 20, you can make a rough climb up North Canyon. You go up ledges, take a couple "bypass" routes, use flat rocks that others have stacked to allow you to reach the next level. It's a hot climb.
A bypass route is one that goes up the side of a canyon a bit in order to get past a sheer pourover that you otherwise couldn't get over. This is a common thing in canyon hiking.
You come to a place where the rock is strangely folded, where a lone tree grows. A little farther is a fine pool with a narrow stream of water flowing in from up-canyon over slickrock. The stream wasn't flowing when we were there in 1997, but sometimes it must flow a lot. Use your imagination!
Climbing up North Canyon, and coming back down
The pool in North Canyon
Vasey's Paradise at mile 32 is where springs come out of the limestone wall, many plants grow lushly including poison ivy, and there is a population of endangered-species snails.
There's no water here but the river, yet Redwall Cavern at mile 33 is a favorite place! No camping is allowed, but we had lunch here on our second day.
Redwall Cavern. My yellow cataraft is in here, looking small
The Silver Grotto at mile 29 is said to be very nice, but I've never been up there.
We camped at President Harding Rapid, mile 44. That rapid has one wave, and I think it's the most beautiful wave anywhere! From the camp below, you can walk out by the rapid and contemplate beauty!
The Little Colorado River enters at mile 61. A long drainage that comes all the way from New Mexico and the Mogollan Rim country, the "LC" can be flowing muddy water if it's been raining anywhere upstream. If not, the flow will come only from a spring several miles up, and the water is a brilliant blue, mostly because of the white crystals that form the bottom. If you're lucky, you'll get to have a fine swim in the clear water! We were lucky.
Floating near the mouth of the Little Colorado.
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