This was a good hike.  We had a lot of snow at the top of the Tanner Trail and this was my first time to use a traction device on my boots.  Keith and I both used Kahtoola Microspikes and I highly recommend them.  They provided excellent traction.

     The Park taxi service has a fixed-rate schedule for service to the various trailheads.  It cost us $50 to go to Lipan Point with lower fees for the closer trailheads.  You are not allowed to reserve a taxi for a set time or even call before your actual departure time.  Consequently, you are a little at the mercy of taxi availability when ordering service.

     The short-cut we took to the west about a half-mile above Tanner Rapids turned out to be a good move and only required some minor scrambling down one pour-off.  It probably saved us a half-hour.

     I carried three foldable six-quart Platypus containers so we could fill them with the muddy Colorado River water and allow sediment to settle out.  They fold up to a very small size and weigh practically nothing.  We were able to filter one quart of water from the top of each container in about an hour.  All the water was crystal clear the next morning.  Filtering directly from a muddy River may clog your filter.

     I have always taken the High Route from Neville Rapids to Papago Creek.  That requires you to climb up high at the rapids, follow the trail at the same elevation over, and then make a nearly vertical descent down to Papago Creek.  Camping on the beach below Neville Rapids and getting a raft ride by the Slide allowed us to check out the low or beach route.  It is sand for three-fourths of the way to Papago Creek and then appears to only require minor scrambling after that.  That will be the way I will go if I ever do this trail again.

     I have been by the Papago Slide four times.  I climbed over it my first time by and then hitched a raft ride by it the next three times, so I guess I have been lucky.  If you have to climb over it, be prepared for a steep and arduous climb that has an element of danger in it. 

     I tried out a new Rainbow Tarptent on this hike.  It is considered a 1-2 person tent and weighs two pounds.  It was quite roomy for one person and sets up relatively easily.  I like it a lot.  I also like the Sublite Tarptent I used on my last hike.  It weighs one pound, but is a lot smaller than the Rainbow.  This is the second hike to use my Thermorest Neoair sleeping pad.  It is first rate, light, and very compact, much more so than my old Thermorest Pro-Lite 4.  I sleep on my side and don't have to worry about hitting bottom with my Neoair.

     Numerous critters such as mice, ravens, squirrels, and ringtails are a threat to attack your food in the inner Canyon.  For many years, there were two widely used defenses against critter attack: the Ratsack Cache bag, a mesh, stainless steel bag, which came in three sizes, and the Ursack, a bag made with a Spectra material.  I bought both, but preferred the Ratsack because it was larger, cheaper, and had a superior Velcro closure system.  Even though the Ratsack company website is still active and will accept your money, most people now indicate they never received their order, their money was never returned, and they could not get the company to return a phone call.  Due to the widely reported difficulties and lack of response from the Ratsack company, that product is no longer carried by the General Store in Grand Canyon Village.  Two new products have recently come forward to fill the void:  the Outsak and the Foodsack.  Both are similar in design to the Ratsack and utilize a mesh stainless steel bag with a Velcro closure system.  The Outsak is a lighter duty version and some people report that animals were able to penetrate it.  The Foodsack is the heavy duty version and appears to be bullet-proof, so it is the product that I recommend.  I have and use the Foodsack.


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