Buckskin Gulch day hike

Ben

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In October, on our way down to the Grand Canyon. We didn't get quite the days that we wanted for our hike in the Grand, our first night was monday in stead of saturday, but we made the best of it, and stopped along the way down. It helped to break up the drive some any way. We got to the trail head after dark on saturday, camped there, and then hiked after breakfast through the morning. I think it was just some thing like three hours out, two hours back. We still had a few hours of driving to do to Mather camp ground on the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

Packing up camp that morning. Beautiful day.
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The wash leading out to Wire Pass. DSCF3002.JPG

Walls first start to rise. They'd fall away, but come back very quickly. DSCF3003.JPG

And then we entered Wire Pass proper.
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A couple minor obstacles on the way down. There was a boulder that was a bigger step, but a worse picture.
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Wire Pass stays narrow until it's confluence with Buckskin Gulch where it opens up some. Pretty rocks, Wire Pass is the slot on the left.DSCF3015.JPG

We came across a couple other day hikers at the petroglyphs at the confluence. DSCF3016.JPG

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The wave here goes all the way to the end of the wall in the picture. I liked it. DSCF3032.JPG
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Starting down Buckskin from the confluence. DSCF3045.JPG

Shortly we came to a pool. On the way back i think we counted sixteen each within a minute or two of each other, and then no pools for quite a long ways. This first one was the deepest, up to my sternum. I don't know how recently it had rained before we were there. Most of the way was still damp mud though. DSCF3047.JPG

Slot continues.
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Wading again. The rest of the pools were only mid thigh deep, many of them only shin deep. DSCF3059.JPG
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Brittinei, skeptical. DSCF3093.JPG

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Looking up. DSCF3106.JPG

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Log jam.
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Under the jam.DSCF3130.JPG

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After a ways the slot opens up a little bit. It did this a couple time through the section we traveled. Here are a couple who were backpacking four days to Lee's Ferry. We leap frogged with them a couple times before staying ahead of them until we turned around.DSCF3152.JPG
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Odd perspective. DSCF3162.JPG

Narrowing again. DSCF3167.JPG

Stripes. DSCF3177.JPG

Ellen in front of a giant wall. DSCF3181.JPG DSCF3189.JPG

Sun shine.
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Cottonwoods as we entered a short stretch with some very large boulders we had to climb. DSCF3211.JPG

A little ways beyond the boulders the gulch slotted up again, and then there was an other pool. The girls weren't interested in getting their feet wet again. Their shoes had mostly dried out, and it was quite a ways back to the other group of pools. We'd almost used up half our time any way, so we started heading back.

Here the girls are descending the boulders, Ellen in mid air.
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Looking back up. Big rocks there.DSCF3222.JPG

Looking up the gulch.
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It turns out a pair of girls makes for great perspective. DSCF3234.JPG
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Brittinei in front of a deep under cut. DSCF3263.JPG

Black rocks. DSCF3267.JPG
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I loved the lines here. DSCF3274.JPG

And here. DSCF3282.JPG

Back in to the slot.DSCF3286.JPG

Stepped in the mud. Very disappointed about it.
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Is there a proper name for those little pockets?DSCF3299.JPG

And here i am crossing back through that first deep pool. I also happen to be breaking my ipod in this picture. Took it out of my pocket on the way out, but not on the way back.
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On the way out.
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I saw less people than i expected for the number of cars that were at the trail head by the time we got started. But may be some of them were headed to Coyote Buttes, and may be some of them just stayed ahead of us for the whole day. I think we saw may be ten people total while we were in.

As we were exiting, we were passed by a group of three young men about the time that we were going through the pools again. It was the last day of their backpack from Lee's Ferry. I asked the first one that came by where they were coming from, and he asked me what we were doing also. I told him that we were just hiking for a day on our way to the Grand Canyon for a week. He replied 'this is way cooler than the Grand Canyon,' a comment that stuck with me through the rest of the trip, and beyond. May be i just didn't see enough of Buckskin Gulch. I thought it was great. But i've seen enough of the Grand Canyon to wonder if he had ever seen it. Or if he had, if he had set foot below the rim. I'm still baffled.

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Is there a proper name for those little pockets?

I call it tafoni. I think I read that maybe in a Steve Allen book (?). I've heard other people call them huecos.

Nice trip report. I still need to visit 'the buckskin'. Without knowing them, I'd bet those people just assumed you were doing the typical grand canyon visit (look at it from the rim), not a real backpacking trip.
 
  1. Honeycomb weathering

  2. Honeycomb weathering, also known as fretting, cavernous weathering, alveoli/alveolar weathering, stone lattice, stone lace or miniature tafoni weathering(Mustoe, 1982) is a form of salt weatheringcommon on coastal and semi-arid granites, sandstones and limestones (Mustoe 1982).
 
I'd bet those people just assumed you were doing the typical grand canyon visit (look at it from the rim), not a real backpacking trip.

i did say that we were going to be there a week. i don't know what they assumed, but i can't imagine how boring sitting on the rim for seven days would be.
 
Great pics! I did exactly the same day hike in June, to the same point before turning around. I have several pics almost identical to some of yours, I had totally dry conditions though. Might write up a short trip report...
 
As we were exiting, we were passed by a group of three young men about the time that we were going through the pools again. It was the last day of their backpack from Lee's Ferry. I asked the first one that came by where they were coming from, and he asked me what we were doing also. I told him that we were just hiking for a day on our way to the Grand Canyon for a week. He replied 'this is way cooler than the Grand Canyon,' a comment that stuck with me through the rest of the trip, and beyond. May be i just didn't see enough of Buckskin Gulch. I thought it was great. But i've seen enough of the Grand Canyon to wonder if he had ever seen it. Or if he had, if he had set foot below the rim. I'm still baffled.
When people say stuff like this I always chuckle. Its like they want to sound cool. Most people never go down below the rim to start with, and the ones that do almost always go to Bright Angel. So I could see how those people might have that opinion. But there is so much more to the Grand Canyon than that. LOL, and you will see more people down the Paria/Buckskin than most areas of the Grand Canyon. Both places are great though.

Also, @kcwins read Ben's report here. You might want to do this on your trip south this coming year.

Great photos and write up Ben! Thanks
 
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