We are up before sunrise and it is cold. I'm glad I had all my car camping stuff to stay warm. After breakfast and packing all our extra gear in the cars, we head out generally to the west until we come to the old telephone line that ran down to the Village of Supai. After about an hour, we reach the rim, contour over to the correct drainage, and then take a short break before heading down.
After a little more maneuvering, we are right above the hole in the rock that requires some crawling and descent on a pole.
We soon come to a short down climb. There is a step at the bottom built up with rocks, but it's still a slight challenge to reach the bottom. Bert puts out a hand line to help everyone get down safely. Click here to see a short video clip of Fred making the down climb.
In just a few more minutes, we reach what the Park Rangers call the "rabbit hole," a crack in the wall you must crawl through and then climb down a ten foot pole to the bottom of the hole. Bob goes first followed by Bruce and me. Bob and Bruce then help the others down the pole while I take pictures and videos. Clicking on a name from our group below will play a short video clip of that person going down the pole:
Right next to the rabbit hole is a flat rock area and a wall that are completely filled with Petroglyphs. I've never seen this number, quality, and diversity of Petroglyph images in one place. Click here to see a short video clip of all the Petroglyph rock art. An article I read indicates that the Petroglyphs at Nankoweap Creek were placed there around 1050-1125 A.D. I wonder if these are the same age.
Everyone had to hand carry their packs through the crawl space, rope them down the pole area, and then several of us at the bottom carried them across a flat rock section. That took a lot more effort than I ever thought it would. Another short break is in order after all that. Then we start making our way down, contour over to the west, and come to another challenging area called the Moqui Steps. These are indentations carved in the rocks to form a crude series of steps. This feature is much steeper than these pictures make it seem, so Bert puts out more webbing for us to use as a hand line.
We each take turns going down the Moqui Steps. The hand line helps out immensely.
We are then treated to a great view of the Esplanade below.
I only find a few blooming flowers today, but that is to be expected this late in the fall.
We make our way down to the Esplanade and have lunch in the creek bed.
Then it's more walking down Royal Arch Creek.
We finally reach a large slick rock area with lots of pools of water and set up camp for the night.
This is my first experience with a community dinner, which appears to be patterned after Sierra Club hikes. Group members take turns cooking dinner, which has previously been prepared and freeze dried by Marcey and Jim. Each member is still responsible for their own breakfast and lunch, something I am used to for every meal.
Our plan for tomorrow is to continue down Royal Arch Creek until we reach the Royal Arch, which is where we will make camp.