Joe's Ultralight Trip Reports
Grand Canyon Corridor Trails (5 days), 4/99
- Total pack weight for the 5-day trip: 16 lbs. 4 ozs. including food (but
not water). Note that I didn't share any gear/food load with my friends,
since I was trying to gather data for a solo trip. Didn't lose any body
weight, was never left hungry, and had food left over as well. Had some light
rain and snow, and one night at Indian Garden campground that dipped into the
mid-20's, but was warm and comfortable the whole trip. Was acting as the trip
leader / guide for a friend from Florida and his wife. (Hi Bob and Juli!)
- Goals of Trip:
#1 - HAVE FUN!
#2 - Test my experimental ultralight food menu, to see if it would keep
me satiated, full of energy for various levels of hiking, and satisfy
the taste buds as well.
#3 - HAVE FUN!
#4 - Test some variations in gear load, replacing lexan water bottles with
new Platypus 1-liter bladders, squishing a 5-day load into my 2300 ci
Mountainsmith Peak (vs. my 3000 ci Gregory Gravity which I would usually
take), using the Esbit stove for the first time on a week-long trip,
dropping sock liners, etc.
#5 - HAVE FUN!
- Trip Profile Overview ("Slacker Schedule"):
Day 1 - Mileage: 7+ miles.
Elevation: 5000 ft loss.
Details: South Kaibab Trailhead to Bright Angel Campground. Carried
extra pack (fellow last 3 miles.
Day 2 - Mileage: 7+ miles.
Elevation: 1800 ft elevation gain.
Details: Bright Angel Campground to Cottonwood Campground.
Day 3 - Mileage: 14+ miles.
Elevation: 1800 ft loss (to BA), plus scrambling along Clear Creek Trail.
Details: Cottonwood Campground back to Bright Angel Campground (with
side trip to Ribbon Falls), followed by 6+ miles (roundtrip)
fastpacking with full pack along Clear Creek Trail.
Day 4 - Mileage: 14+ miles.
Elevations: 5000 ft gain, followed by 2000 ft loss.
Details: Bright Angel Campground to Indian Garden Campground, followed
by 9+ miles roundtrip of fastpacking up BA Trail to the South
Rim (to buy cookies and candy bars for old and new friends
back at Indian Garden).
Day 5 - Mileage: 8+ miles.
Elevation: 2000 ft gain.
Details: Indian Garden to Plateau Point, then back up Bright Angel Trail
to South Rim, finally to Backcountry Office.
- My 2300 ci Mountainsmith Peak worked so well for the 5-day trip that I may
have to (VERY reluctantly) relegate my Gregory Gravity to the closet as far
as 3-season trips go. By adding an external strap-on pocket or two to the
Peak, I could easily carry 7-8 days worth of food and gear. In fact I now plan
to use the Peak on my JMT trip (7 days between resupply points).
- Used the Esbit Pocket Stove the entire trip. Windscreen was/is a definite
must for the Esbit, since it's a "passive" flame instead of being force-fed
like a gas stove. One fuel tab boiled 1/2 a liter of water nicely at both
2300 ft and 4000 ft ASL. Leaves a black residue on the bottom of my titanium
pot that I'd rather not have smeared all over my pack, so a little extra
cleaning is necessary. The Esbit performed flawlessly, and will be my primary
stove from now on, using my Whisperlite only for snowcamping or trips where
I'll be staying on exposed high altitude ridges that lack natural wind shelter.
- Typical menu for a day was:
Breakfast - 2 packets instant Cream of Wheat, Malt-o-Meal, or Instant Oatmeal
added to 1/4 liter of boiling water.
Lunch - 2 or 3 "stripes" of Ultralight Joe's Moose Goo on a large flour
Dinner - 1 cup Instant Rice, 1/2 cup dehydrated refried black beans, and
seasoning powder (Knorr's "Rice Mates" were particularly tasty) added
to 2/3 liter of boiling water.
- Met some great folks on the trip. (Howdy to Michelle and Ray, "Old Man of
the Canyon" Rodger ;-) and his grandson Kyle, and the two women and their
daughters whose names I keep forgetting to write down!). Also encountered the
enigmatic Fruit Boy, who quickly became infamous in the Canyon. Why? Two
15-lb watermelons were only part of the 100-lb load he carried into the
Canyon. In nearly two decades of backpacking, I've never seen anything like
it! That's right, a single one of his watermelons weighed only 1 lb less than
my entire 5-day load. We were like matter and antimatter standing next to
each other. :-)
Back to Joe's Ultralight Backpacking