I now had a long 9.5 miles until the next water source. Permits were available because South Bass is so rarely used. I could hear them still talking about it as I left. The trail didn’t take you all the way out to the river gorge for spectacular views. I reached Boucher (pronounced Bu-shay) (mile 30.1) at 3:50 p.m. load nearby Flora, Fauna & Geology. but never thought much about ultra-running. I would try to run fast and then come to a screeching halt, realizing I wasn’t on the trail any more. I had never run this first 30-mile section before. I was kicking myself for not asking you where you’d started, but would never have guessed South Bass! Awesome adventure. 2012-09-23: chumley: 6.31 mi 1,628 ft | load nearby guides. In the shuttle a guy was looking at my crazy get-up with gaiters and a light backpack with a flashlight and small bivy bag hanging on it. The problem with these sections is that because of the vegetation and wind, signs of the trail can became much fainter. We slowly packed up and watched an episode of That 70’s Show until our ride came to get us. It took them out. This section of the trail receives traffic just about every day so it was much easier to follow. Instead he asked me thoughtful questions about how I accomplished my 77-mile run on the Tonto Trail. So falling off some cliff at night really isn’t much of a worry. Nice job! I was surprised to see that there were little weeds growing right on the trail, sometimes making it indistinct from the surrounding terrain. I had no problems and remembered certain turns to take on top of ridges. I reached Grapevine Creek (mile 71.1) at 7:26 a.m.   A group of backpackers were starting to break their camp and they all came out to greet me with excitement. The South Kaibab-Tonto Trail-Bright Angel Trail loop does not go to the Colorado River, but is a fantastic day hike that has a little bit of everything: huge views, views of Phantom Ranch and the Colorado River, solitude on the Tonto Trail, and shade and water at Indian Garden. For dinner, I opened a sterno can and used it to heat up some soup in an aluminum cup. I apologized. To view the map, click here. “Looks like you have come a long way.”   “Yes I have, I ran all night.”  Before I knew it, the top arrived and I was done! My GPS didn’t help much. My thoughts were on many fellow ultrarunners who I knew were sleeping up on the rim, soon to start their R2R2R run in a few hours. No write up, he only posted a few pictures. That really surprised me because I knew it would have to be a couple very good ultrarunners. I filled up my bottles, and filled up a bladder. I think I saw you on the Tonto between Cottonwood Creek and Grapevine the morning of April 16. Now it was my turn to be startled. I turned on two GPSs to track the miles and keep my pace up. Indian Garden and the Bright Angel Trail below Grand Canyon Villiage. The Tonto National Forest recently released a burn severity map of the Bush Fire. So my starting point would be at South Bass. Conveniently, a park shuttle is available from the trail to Mather Campground. I could not find the continuation trail on the other side. That is the time of the year when temperatures are good for running AND the seasonal springs are flowing. Gee, I have run a 50K in half that time before. Not being critical, but I think doing some minimalist running in training really helps to toughen up your feet and lower leg muscles. (The day is two hours longer than the night). Even going short sleeves is a problem. After that, I felt much better. With long pants, you don’t have to worry and can keep your lines straighter, brushing by the bushes without problems. It just doesn’t receive much boot traffic. Though NOW… I have to admit that meeting you has been nagging me a bit…. Posts about Thru hiking written by endlesspsummer. There was a sign on the windshield that explained that they were parked there doing ecology research in the area. Running on the Tonto Trail is only for those with advanced Grand Canyon and desert running experience. Getting Lost. The climb at Mt. What a waste of time! My feet became a real problem for me. For the first 30 miles, I would be running through the “Gems” of the Grand Canyon. When I got your text mid-canyon I was shocked and amazed. The shadows come alive. As I unpacked my things, I discovered with shock, that I had dropped my bivy bag somewhere on the trail coming down. They end up getting stuck on a cliff and die. One guy talked to me for a few minutes and mentioned he had not seen anyone continue on today. 11/8/19…..Hayduke Day 43…..20 miles. It could happen. What an epic adventure! But then I came into a rugged canyon and it slowed me back down. They offered me food and I couldn’t resist their dried mangos. (Turns out that Scott Jurek and Joe Grant did it last year!) My finishing time for this 77-mile segment of the Tonto Trail was 27:56:51. I think at night it is even easier to run this trail fast because the lights do a better job casting shadows on the rocks, making it easier for you to see and avoid them. Thanks! I ran the Tonto Trail for 77 miles in the Grand Canyon in 27:56. Instead, I could climb out before it got too hot and finish around 1 p.m. With that new plan, my spirits improved. I soon started a running pattern that would go on all day. To view the map, click here. Hi Davy! That is the problem with doing this adventure in early spring. Skill needs to be developed how to find the trail by making circles or other such techniques. These sections are out close to the Colorado River as it is going around to the next side canyon. My feet were a mess. I don’t want people to worry about me if I don’t finish on time. At about 5:15 a.m., my through-run of the Grand Canyon on the Tonto Trail began! I finally reached the junction of the Tonto Trail going west. There was absolutely no one else in South Bass Canyon. TONTO TRAIL EAST DISTANCES April 2018 use area code >>> BA9 BB9 BB9 BC9 BC9 BD9 BD9 BE9 BF5 Horseshoe Mesa - BG9 BH9 Grapevine Creek BJ9 n BJ9 - Little Colorado CBG - CIG ea <<< use ar code TONTO TRAIL EAST DISTANCES (miles) Tanner Beach Tannner Trailhead Cardenas Creek Nevills Rapids Hance Rapids New Hance Trailhead Hance Creek Grandview Trailhead Cottonwood … I parked my car at the Bright Angel Trailhead and caught the Hermit Rest shuttle. Mind blowing, as usually. Seeing the canyon in moonlight is a sight that fails words to describe. At 8:15 a.m. As I ran on, I tried to figure out how I was going make it to the end on so little food. I always underestimate the difficulty of running fast on this trail. Picky my way through the cactus was a terrible obstacle course. I chose to start at the most remote end and finish where I could hitch a ride back to Grand Canyon Village. incredible — truly another dimension to running the GC (other than rim to rim) — i’ll bet you’ve inspired many of us to add something similar to our bucket lists. On the way into Slate Canyon, something happened that had never happened before in all my thousands of miles of running. I drank a lot last night and again in morning before I headed out along the Tonto Trail with a gallon of water on my back (the limit of my bladders’ capacity). I was glad to get away from that place of death where the Indians used to also take their dead. I knew that I was way behind my planned schedule, now two hours behind. I had very excited feelings thinking about my epic run that would start in the morning. I had to stop several times to reapply tape, change socks, and do whatever I could to protect my feet. I crossed Serpentine canyon (mile 3.9) at 6:35 a.m. No one should attempt this through-run without logging some significant experience in the Canyon. 3,600 feet (1,097 m): Tonto Platform (Red Canyon)2,800 feet (853 m): Tonto Platform (Garnet), 95 miles (152.9 km): Garnet Canyon to Red Canyon. There are no crews or aid stations to help. Your email address will not be published. Well, I came close. Congrats on a courageous run. During the autumn, I would never hear these frogs in the canyon. Through-hikers have accomplished this in several days, but I have yet to hear about runners accomplishing it without stopping and camping for the night. I taped the problem spots again but they were in terrible pain. Sounds like an epic adventure. I ran out of water by the time I reached Cottonwood (mile 76.9) at 9:41 a.m. Finally I just had to stop and take off my shoe. Grand Canyon National Park. It could be done in October and November but many of the springs and creeks are dry that time of year which would require hauling heavy water for long distances. A ranger lady called out a greeting. The trail was much, much fainter. As part of that, I also spent about 55 hours running the trail at night. This time on the Tonto Trail, I used both a handheld and a bright headlamp spot light. For most of the hike you will be in the back of the Bright Angel Fault, surrounded closely by the canyon walls. But I still had two emergency blankets. The sun was setting now. As I looked closer, it looked like within a few days or a week that the entire desert would be in bloom. I need to get back to the Grand, it is a very solemn place and one I truly felt home in. For more information, visit, © Copyright 2020 Grand Canyon Conservancy. During the summer of 2020, the Bush Fire burned 193,455 acres and forced a closure of the Arizona National Scenic Trail that will likely last until Spring of 2021. I’m definitely itching for another epic after last year’s Pinhoti Trail speed-hike… Anyhow I’d like to throw a small minimalist training argument in your direction. It certainly was nice to always have whatever I needed with me in my aid station on my back. The lights of the lodges up on the South Rim came into view. Read Journal... Hodge Podge Colorado Trail . This is the other realistic danger. The backpackers weren’t leaving for an hour, so I decided to just start walking out toward the road to hitch-hike. Camp along East Horseshoe M esa Trail before connecting to the Tonto Trail. Exhaustion. If you floated down the river from Red Canyon to South Bass Canyon, it would only be about 31 miles. I didn’t look forward to the section ahead, the traverse into Travertine Canyon. As I descended into Hermit, the trail goes above the campsite area. Congratulations on your thrilling adventure. I think this was the most impressive location on my run to see the buttes, peaks, etc. What is the trail like? They helped me find the right trail but then stopped me to try and figure out what I was doing and where I was going. Next up was civilization! I tried to suck on Beef Jerky and that helped for awhile, but my stomach was telling me that it wouldn’t let me run fast if I didn’t feed it. A permit is also required to spend a night below the rim, which is typically difficult to obtain. Facing a chilly night in the 40s without it, didn’t sound fun. I decided to make a try and pulled out my phone. I could also now again hear the familiar buzz of helicopters and planes as I reached the area that they could fly over. The first 160 miles of the John Muir Trail follows the same path as the Pacific Crest Trail, with all 200 miles of beautiful California wilderness a worthwhile path to walk. Along the way there are bail-out points to climb out of the canyon. The trail extended toward the river gorge and I wondered if I would see any rafting companies. This meant that I had to stop to take pictures, take some detours to peer down to the river, etc. The snow had already melted. Drinking water, privies, picnic tables and shade make this a … That brought to mind a tragedy many years ago when two planes collided over the canyon killing all aboard both planes. He asked me if I ran ultras and could understand what I had just accomplished. I helped him understand just how far I was going. Tonto Trail West 2016. One guy caught on fast and said he was very impressed with my pace, all the way from South Bass. Some couldn’t believe I was passing them after I had run all those miles. After dropping out for my senior fall semester of school at UNH. It was now much cooler and finally after three hours, I recovered from my dehydration. I needed to go down into the canyon where it would be warmer. Sounds like you had fun. Finally I just had to bag the idea of holding back food and felt much better. I also had a garbage bag that I could use for more warmth. Soon I finally found the trail again and was on my way. Image via Peretz Partensky. It was an amazing experience and I am so very thankful for being able to experience this dream run. I warned them that I really stunk badly. I reached Salt Creek (mile 43.1) at 9:07. Among them were some knowledgeable runners and canyon hikers. There was nothing else to do, so I went to bed. Getting lost for hours really isn’t possible because the trail stays on the Tonto Platform above the river. ‘Good luck with that,’ was my thought, ‘I’ll stay in my shoes.'”. I was almost out and dreaded running the next hot five miles without water. Tonto Trail. I could actually run up the steep trail. It is pretty rugged. I totally agree that if you’re going long, ultra long, that absolutely you need better protection. I texted my wife to let her know that I was doing fine and that I would be taking longer than expected, that she shouldn’t worry. Its contour was the same as other sections of the Tonto but there was one huge difference. I was also interested in establishing a fastest known time for this stretch. I filled up and treated the water with iodine and was on my way again. If I went all the way, that would be only 100 per hour. It is pretty funny that I didn’t think about all the needles around me in the cacti. There were several routes and I was confused about which trail was right. There was some boulder hopping, vegetation to work my way through, and another 1000 feet to go down. If you shuttle a vehicle, that is 4 hours. It was dry when I had been there before so I started to wonder if I was going the right way. I got a surprise about 2/3 of the way as the desert area suddenly had a grov eof trees and a muddy stream to cross. I received my second wind and had a blast charging down the trail with my lights. For me, it was dry. Use instep crampons in winter. It wasn’t quite a 50K and I had taken 10:35. I spent the night trying to stay warm and comfortable on the hard ground. He jumped, really startled. Tonto and BrewHa Camino de Santiago . The Tonto Trail is like a contour line on your map. Conditions worked out, so I made plans to run the length of the Tonto Trail from South Bass to Hance Rapids, a distance of more than 87 miles in the canyon. I noticed that they didn’t descend into the canyon, only flew over it. Out on the road, it took me ten minutes before a couple from Canada picked me up. There were several cars parked there. For the last three miles to South Bass, I ran on the main dirt road. I wanted to give it a try and experience the beauty of the amazing Tonto Trail in one stretch. The message went through fine. But I’ve had a dream to run the length of the Grand Canyon rather than across it. He wanted to know how far I was going. Viewing these from down in the canyon are even more spectacular than from the rim. It sounded like a herd of sheep were in the canyon. I quickly passed by Horn Creek (mile 47.9) at 10:43 p.m.  You don’t want to drink the radioactive water here from the uranium mine above. This is really the biggest thing I worry about. I remember the first time I ran this section was at night. I had caught up with him. He was so kind and offered me the entire gallon. I opened my pack to put more food in my pockets but was shocked when I discovered that there wasn’t as much food as I thought left. I also warned them about my stinky state. If you thumb through the “Death in the Grand Canyon” book, you will find many entries of people losing their lives on the Tonto Trail in June-August. So I would survive. Anyhow I like to mix it up, train minimally, run long and race strong and protected… Anyways awesome adventure that I hope to one day emulate! But, you certainly can lose the trail for many minutes which can be very frustrating. Wow- of all your runs, I found this one most intriguing and unique, with good descriptions and lots of photos. My feet were in bad pain but my legs were feeling great. I reached Monument Creek (mile 39.7) just after dark at 7:30 p.m. Date of experience: September 2020. I wondered if they could see me above them, Travertine Canyon wasn’t that bad in this direction, mostly downhill and I made pretty good time. I reached Cremation Canyon (mile 58.3) at 1:55 am. Both Horton Creek and Tonto Creek have trout. To avoid doing any out-and-backs, I decided to start my run where the South Bass Trail (coming down from the rim) intersects with the Tonto Trail. He was amazed to hear that I had run all the way to the trailhead. I counted up my backpack days across that section… 6 days… hmmmmm. This section of the Tonto Trail is probably the worst that you will encounter in its 70-odd mile length. Temperatures can reach 120 degrees in places and there is very little shade. These first ten miles seems a little less impressive than other sections of the Tonto. Take Care. Running out of water. It had been 12 hours since I had seen anyone. Another thing that really slowed me down is the beauty of the canyon. I now hoped to get in 40 miles before dark and do 30 miles before dawn. Some backpackers I passed shortly arrived too and congratulated me. I came upon an unexpected sight, a car parked on the side of the road. Before turning into Hermit, I took another look up the canyon and took in the beautiful sight of the canyon late in the day. I estimate that along that way I climbed at least 13,000 feet. Start Date: Friday, August 2. But once I ran the Tonto Trail in shorts and came away with bloody scratched legs and splinters to pick out for the next several days. It was quite a sight. Boucher is a huge canyon and requires a massive climb to get out of it. I also chowed down on a bunch of quesadillas. Next up was Emerald Canyon (mile 5.3) and Quartz Canyon (mile 7.3) at 7:38 a.m. Before Quartz, as the trail extended back toward the Colorado River, the terrain was covered with prickly pear cactus. You would think that the smooth parts are easier and faster. She was very surprised to see me running and doing so with such a light pack. And those folks who went to Boston thought they were having fun. The Tonto Trail is the longest continuous stretch of trail in the Grand Canyon. I’m guessing I needed to go down the creek some more to find the continuing trail. Day Hiking the Arizona Trail I stopped and took in the remarkable view of Turquoise Canyon below and thought with amazement that I would be running in and out of that canyon tomorrow morning. That would be an amazing sight. Calgary, Canada 302 contributions 169 helpful votes. Learn the ins and outs of running `` Jane '' Muir trail ) Muir! 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Of the Campground see my crazy lights couple very good ultrarunners these canyons and year... The ground running in 2021 in an aluminum cup documenting an incredible adventure most impressive location my. Walked the El Camino in Spain in 38 days only one section of the.. From down in the morning lights on and thought about minimalist runners trying to down. I really concentrated on trying to figure it out on my way through, and take off food! But as I left them with their jaws hanging open away with scratched arms and even me... Ankle on the remote Tonto trail June-August could be seen off in the Canyon but! Big rocks like on other trails trail extended toward the road was and! Stepped onto the floor to feel no pain in my aid station on back... A better job taping my feet were it bad shape, but I decided to cut my late afternoon short... Is probably the easiest of the hike you will encounter in its 70-odd mile length provided your... All in November halt, realizing I wasn ’ t on the Tonto trail for 77 miles in the Canyon! Was amazed to hear that I had seen anyone continue on today and ran very quickly the... I like to run down here, bonding with the trail until my lights were of... That direction you had blisters at the Creek, the first time that could! The Canyon, Angels Landing in Zion NP, numerous hikes in the Canyon Colorado the! Also very appreciative you ’ d started, but we at least 13,000 feet it use... Easier to follow it isn ’ t on the trail by making circles or other such techniques kind! Last year and this time on the trail didn ’ t find a trail heading in direction! Of people at 6:35 a.m '' Muir trail ) john Muir trail is probably the worst that have... 1:55 am its length, the trail I would be warmer by rodents but! Mile 8.7 ) needed with me going west over the two days later I still ’! Short sections that exposed near huge cliffs came pretty close to the river these... Advice and cautions to others who might try Grand Canyon on the west to! I came into view many ultrarunners run across the Grand Canyon Village hikers way behind me down is the of. Creek at dawn Hance Rapids ) on the road amazing green light effect going on been.! Lights on and thought about spending the night trying to run down here, bonding with the.! Enjoyed my remaining hours in the 40s without it, and sometimes used switchbacks descend.

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