As I look back on my experience floating down the Grand Canyon, I can’t help but smile. Those were memories and experiences that I won’t trade for anything. It’s funny how easy it is in the moment to look past what you’re seeing and experiencing, always looking forward to that next rapid, that next drop, that next sunset. But there were a few hikes that I won’t forget that were inspiring and still make me wonder so many things about them.
The first was the Nankoweep granary hike. This hike had a twofold benefit, the first being the expansive view from the top, you could see up and down the mighty Colorado as you were at the top of the world. The second was the chance to touch a little bit of ancient history.
The Nankoweep granary is a section of small windows created by the native American’s to store their grain. They were built high up on the canyon underneath an overhang. As you hiked up to see them you couldn’t quite understand their motivation for storing their grain in such a difficult place to get to. Then as you reached them you looked down over where you’d come, and you wondered “where on earth did they raise crops in this canyon?”. These questions were so intriguing to me, partly because we probably won’t ever have those answers. There may be some guessing, but we just won’t ever know the truth, because it was here-and- gone a long time before we traveled the river here in the modern age.
The next hike was Deer Creek Falls. First off the falls itself is incredible, and we couldn’t help but run as hard as we could to get underneath the waterfall so we could let it cascade down on our backs with a vengeance, only to quickly retreat back out of its path. Looking up at its grandeur was enough, but little did I know there was a hike that would take us up above it to a small canyon with the creek the feeds the falls.
Like the first hike this one was mainly vertical, but well worth the trek. Once on top and farther into the canyon you’re greeted with an impressive view of rocks that have been shaped by thousands of years or water, wind, and sand. You keep trying to gaze over the edge to see exactly how the water fall is fed, but often times you don’t have a clear view.
The real gift is at the end right where the canyon opens up and you are greeted with a much smaller cascading waterfall that empties into the creek below; this is the creek that fills the final massive waterfall that is Deer Creek Falls. The sights and the sounds are impossible to relay to someone who hasn’t experienced it, but equally impossible to forget.
Those are just a couple of my favorite hikes in the Grand Canyon.
-Clay H. GCE River Guest