Day 11 – Lower Bass (109)
River Miles: zero
Hiking Miles: 4
March 28, 2013
I had some visions of grandeur when it was decided we’d take a layover day at the bottom of the North Bass Trail. There’s a lot of the Grand Canyon that I had yet to explore in the area, like up Shinumo Creek toward Merlin and Modred Abyss.
A realistic look at the distance of such a hike stymied my initial hopes, and then the reality of being here revealed that I didn’t care to be ambitious at all.
With unfailing Carpe Diem-ness, Team McCumber and Chris Forsyth took off early to the White Creek Narrows for a canyoneering adventure. The rest of us simply ambled about at camp and did some shorter hikes.
Here’s a video depicting their day of canyoneering. They set out early in the morning and didn’t return until dinner.
Jackie and I went on a leisurely hike to see the relics at the old Bass Camp up Shinumo Creek.
In the 1890s, pioneer William Wallace Bass established the first complete “rim-to-rim” route for the tourists of the day, complete with a rickety cable car that spanned the Colorado River.
These trails are still used by experienced backcountry hikers, and a lot of historic evidence could be found here at the bottom of the Grand Canyon (Most of this was washed away in a more recent flash flood since 2013).
The main inner-canyon camp was on the north side of the river, in a homely area that was was once complete with a garden and an orchard. If things had worked out differently in the history of the Canyon, this could easily have become the site of today’s Phantom Ranch.
We extended our hike to within sight of the place where the trail leaves the creek and begins climbing up the canyon. From there we turned around and returned to camp. Jackie really liked this quaint little corner of the Canyon, with all its greenery and imaginative visions of gardens and orchards.
almost April 🙂
views along our return to camp
This was just a great day to relax and disconnect from the rigors of the trip. We were fortunate to be on cook duty today. The kitchen was already set up, and we had plenty of time available to prepare the meal. It was a charcoal dinner of wild salmon, wild rice, and canned asparagus, starting off with a green salad as the appetizer.
Dessert called for a “cookie cake,” basically cookie dough cooked in a big clump and cut to order. It was my first experience cooking with a dutch oven, and I messed up the dessert quite effectively. It was fortunately still edible, and everybody was nice about it.
It was also a nice time to take stock of things and do some re-organizing, particularly counting and rationing how many beers Jackie and I had left for the the rest of the trip! I pulled out our reserves (Switching from Tecate to PBR) and re-loaded the drag bag.
The Canyon was our home and the rafts were like the clothes on our backs. I think everyone felt a consistent shot of pleasure at the sight of the boats all tied up in a neat little row. More in the group began to sleep on the rafts, amid the squeaks of rubber and the gentle lap of the waves.
It didn’t rain today – perfect for sleeping beneath the Canyon stars.