I arrive at Swamp Point around 10:00 and pack my gear. The views are fantastic in all directions. Last fall we hiked the tough North Bass Trail, but this year I'm expecting a much more relaxed time out on the Powell Plateau.
I find a few blooming flowers, but not nearly as many as in the spring time.
Castle Canyon and Steamboat Mountain are readily visible to the north as I make my way down this very smooth trail. A trail crew reworked the upper sections of the North Bass Trail below the Muav Saddle in 2005, but I wonder if they also worked on this part of the trail just below the trailhead sign. It certainly is a joy to hike on.
In no time at all, I reach the Muav Saddle. I drop my pack and visit Teddy's Cabin, named for Theodore Roosevelt. There is a brand new log book only a few weeks old, so I enter my name in it.
Then it's time for the uphill slog to the Powell Plateau. Some very minor bushwhacking is required to get through several areas of brushy Pin Oaks on the trail.
At the top, I am surprised to find a metal storage shed with shovels and hand tools inside.
The walking on the Powell Plateau is very easy on a quite distinct trail. There are even some markers nailed to trees to help you stay on the trail.
About half-way across the Plateau, the trail becomes faint and I loose it. However, it's hard to miss reaching the Point as one only has to head south and stay on the east edge of the Plateau. Dutton Point is marked on my GPS topo software, so I know exactly how much farther I have to go. One mile from the Point I come to Dutton Canyon, a drainage with about one hundred feet of elevation loss and gain. Unfortunately, the uphill part of the drainage involves a hundred yards or so of serious bushwhacking through thick, dense Catclaw Acacia, thorny Graythorn bushes, Pin Oak, and Manzanita. The going is extremely hard and slow. I'm relieved when I reach the other side of that stuff. I'm glad I had on my long sleeve shirt and long pants.
I was fiddling with my GPS as I walked along and dropped my sunglasses somewhere on the trail. Maybe I'll find them tomorrow on my return. In just a few more ups and downs, I reach Dutton Point, named for geologist Clarence Dutton, and declared by John Wesley Powell in 1895 as his favorite place in the Canyon. At 7,520' the views are amazing.
I find a relatively flat place, set up camp, and take an hour nap.
The clouds roll in this afternoon and it starts to sprinkle. A short video clip taken from Dutton Point can be viewed by clicking here. Arizona sunsets can be extremely beautiful, but this is about all there is this evening.
I missed finding any of the Anasazi ruins on the Powell Plateau, so maybe I'll have better luck tomorrow.