Phantom Canyon 2008 – Day 4

Synopsis: Short dayhike to Phantom Creek falls (1.9 miles); relax by the falls. March 10.

Everyone was pretty bushed after hiking hard for three days, so today would be an easy day.

Sara and Kev cooked cinnamon logs for breakfast. Cinnamon logs are the same ingredients as cinnamon rolls, but in a more bite-sized form – sort of like pigs in a blanket, where the pig is sweet filling and the roll gets pan-fried. In addition to labor intensive, they were also quite messy to make. But worth it, as they were extremely delicious!


View from inside Overhang Camp.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Overhang Camp. That’s Chris and Charles’ tent; the people are in our kitchen area.

Note the unconformity: Overhang Camp lies at the boundary between the Tapeats Sandstone and a much older conglomerate.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Sara and Kev’s tent.

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Cottonwood buds. The cottonwoods were a bit farther along back at Phantom, 1400 feet lower. Reid planned to take a photo of this bud daily to show the changes over our stay, but gave up after it didn’t seem to be doing anything. This turned out to be an error because it did in fact show significant changes.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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After a lazy start, we went back downstream, heading for the falls shortly beyond Disappointment Camp.


Cheops Pyramid from near Overhang Camp.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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On our way, we had our only human encounters of our stay in Phantom Canyon.

Charles found them first. Two rangers walked right past him, but then saw his tracks. Charles watched them investigate and muse for a while before he went back and solved their mystery.

Shortly after, they came upstream to the bulk of the group. We chatted a little. They were vague about what they were doing – they were headed up Haunted Canyon to “do some stuff”. They had hiked in over the Cattle Trail, a longer trek involving a dry camp.

For the rest of the trip, we speculated on what secret ranger stuff they were up to. Initiation of the new guy? Looking for a body? Investigating ruins? Or maybe just smoking pot?


Looking upstream from Disappointment Camp.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Taking a break in Disappointment Camp.

Photo by Charles Yeamans.
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The falls and the beginning of the Phantom Canyon narrows, even closer to Disappointment Camp than we’d expected.

Photo by Charles Yeamans.
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The falls area was a great hangout spot. Sunny or shady, not too hot or too cold, with running water.


A mini-cascade leading to the main falls.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Reid wading in some bizarre fashion.

Photo by Charles Yeamans.
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View over the falls into the narrows beyond.

If you look hard, you can see a purple rope dangling down. Supposedly this is how to get down or up, but looked like quite a climb even with the rope, as the rope hung over an overhang. There is apparently also a non-climbing bypass if you’re willing to go up and down an extra 500 feet.

Photo by Sara Tatge McCarty.
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Hanging out at the falls. L-R: Erin, Charles, Chris, Sara, Kev.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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The lip of the falls.

Photo by Erin Tatge.
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Eventually, the sun drifted lower in the sky, and we started back to camp.


An agave stalk on the way back home.

Photo by Erin Tatge.
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Upstream view in Phantom Canyon. The large Coconino-topped bluff is The Colonade. It separates Phantom Canyon (left) from its tributary Haunted Canyon (right).

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Upon arriving back at camp, we were dismayed to discover that rodents had chewed holes in our cheap plastic water carriers.

Charles and Reid spent some time hanging up gear and food using the wonderful invention, Rat Sacks. These are awesome products and highly effective at keeping rodents and birds out of your food; unfortunately, they’re made by a guy in his garage and there are severe problems with timely shipping. [note 1/24/10: the Rat Sack guy has apparently gone out of business and kept a bunch of people’s money from the final, unfulfilled, orders]

Charles adds: There was absolutely no conventional explanation for why the rodents chewed the water carriers. My new one had only ever contained the fresh water we had put in it that morning, defying the conventional wisdom I heard about “Oh, rats eat trace amounts of Kool-Aid, so never put anything flavored in your water carrier and they won’t eat it,” or some such nonsense. My new unified theory of rodents is “Rodents like to chew on stuff, so if you have ‘stuff,’ rodents will chew it.” This is roughly verified by experience with my pet rabbit, though rabbits are lagomorphs, not rodents.

Erin and Reid cooked up Reid’s famous enchiladas. Erin continued to preach the gospel of the food dehydrator, while Charles and Reid started the first of many discussions on how to build a freeze-dryer at home.

Please continue reading on Day 5.

Copyright © 1999-2013 Reid Priedhorsky and Erin Tatge. Last modified: 2010-01-24 18:53 CST. Disclaimer.