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Grand Canyon-Parashant Trip Report May 24-27th

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Caveat: I am a little new to posting these types of events.  


I recently completed a five day trip though the Parashant NM.  Event was solo, Kevin and his expedition wagon. 


Park Information: https://www.nps.gov/para/index.htm


High Level Itinerary:

Day One

 Leave Cave Creek and Enter the Monument from Mesquite, NV via Lime Kiln Canyon. Destination Tweedie  Point

Day Two

 Drop into Hidden Canyon via Jump Canyon, and head over to Grand Gulch Mine via Last chance Canyon and Lunch at hudson Point.

 Pigeon Canyon to Grand Gulch Mine overnight and astro photography.

Day Three

 Snap Canyon to Snap Point, Lunch, then Waring Ranch to Kelly Point overnight.

Day Four

 Kelly Point to Maple Canyon, Paiute Wilderness Overlook to Cougar Springs trailhead overnight.

Day Five

 Egress to Mesquite NV via Elbow Canyon then home via Lake Mead NRA to avoid Vegas traffic.


Here's the NPS Site Maps to follow along. 



Edited by CAVU2
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Planning Pre-Departure & Packing


Vehicle Basics:

1994 Chevrolet K1500 4x4 Suburban "Expedition Wagon" • ProComp 6" Lift • BFG 35x12.50x17 KM/2 • Eaton E-Locker • Chassis Unlimited Full Sliders • Perma-Cool Transmission Cooler w/ 2,400CFM • Expedition Rack • Extreme HighLift • JW Speaker LED Headlamps  • 42 Gallon Main fuel Tank • Gen II 5.7L TBI V8


Key Electronics:

Spot Gen 3 • Yeasu FTM-400XDR w/ Diamond Super Gainer SG7900 Ant. • Garmin w. Dashcam • iPhone X with Avensa & AZ Strip Map Preloaded

Truck has a modified dash with Ram rail and 2 external high power USB ports in front and one in the back cabin/sleeping area.


Key  Provisions On Top Rack

Fuel (5) 2.5Gal and (2) 5.0 Gal containers

Extreme High Lift, Axe, Shovel, Bucket, Full Size Spare, TRED Pro MAXX.


Key Provisions Inside

3QT Oil, 2QT ATF, 1G  antifreeze, 5gal water, Memory Foam Pad for sleeping, two stoves for cooking, butane heater, mobile hand held VHF, photography gear, Yeti Cooler 45qt (food) , Canyon Cooler 22qt (drinks).  Yeti Packing Guide: Pre-chill 24 hours before departure. Then 10 frozen water bottles, food, crushed ice "fill" on departure. Canyon Packing Guide: PreChill 24 hrs before departure.  Then 8 frozen water bottles, various drinks and crushed fill ice.





Edited by CAVU2
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Day 1: Departure:


Depart Cave Creek at 6:30AM.  Arrive Mesquite NV for lunch at 12:30.  No traffic maybe due to COVIT-19. Tasty lunch tacos at Pancho's Taco Shop in Mesquite!

Eat Two!  

Depart Mesquite with full fuel tank to LimeKiln Canyon with Tweetie Point as overnight destination.


Mesquite Taco Stop:






Entrance To Lime Kiln Canyon.  Aired Down to 16psi.




View of the Parashant from the Top of the Pass (Lime Kiln Canyon)



What this on CR101 next to the Paiute Wilderness?  A Hyundai 4 Door sedan?  They didn't want to talk to me and kept their windows up too.  I was somewhat concerned about this type of vehicle here.










Oops, accident here.  Apparently I broke the driver's rear shock mount.  Since I had 2 bars LT I was able to ping my mechanic and confirm that this wasn't fatal to my adventure.  Removed the damper the next morning.




It was cool and very windy on tweedie point.



Sunset and view into Hidden Canyon, one very nice gem of the Parashant. Highly recommend taking the road BLM1003 through there.




Early morning looking 80 Miles across Pakoon Basin to Vegas from Tweedie Point.  Note the burn area from the recent "Basin Fire".




Reference Pictures:


Lime Kiln to Tweedie Pt.:



Tweetie Point:




Edited by CAVU2
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Day 2: Tweedie Point to Grand Gulch Mine



BLM1034 To BLM1033 (Upper Jump Cyn) to 1003 (Hidden Cyn) to 1071 (Last chance Cyn) south to Hudson Pt overlook (1071). Lunch.
BLM 1054 to 1071 to 1002 through Pigeon Cyn and stopping at Grand Gulch Mine.
Key Events:
Fuel situation?  At 3/4 main tank.
@ Hudson Point - Lunch by BLM VHF repeater?
@ Grand Gulch Mine
 Nap time!
 Explore The Old Mine Remnants and old airfield.  Note LTE was possible at the southern point of the airfield. Assuming connection to Meadview AZ.
Late Afternoon. 
 Met Three Jeeps arriving from Tassi Ranch via Grand Gulch Canyon.  One was a supercharged JKUR, another towing a Camelback trailer and third towing a small teardrop. Apparently this being day 2 of their trip the JKUR with the supercharger was already taking on external fuel. They departed about 6:00PM for Snap Cyn. with plans to eventually overnight at Snap Point. They also mentioned they were headed subsequently to Twinn Point overnight then maybe Kelly Point overnight.  If the JKUR was already exhausting their internal tank I was thinking that stye might be challenged to continue to Kelly with only 10 more gallons external.
Astrophotography till 1AM
Picture Summary:
Evening Time Lapse:
Main Administrative Building



Sunset from the Airstrip, South end looking east.



Edited by CAVU2
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Day 3: Taking On Snap Canyon & Kelly Point in the Suburban



Snap Cyn to Snap Pt  NPS1012  to  Oak Pt  CR103 then to Waring Ranch to Kelly Pt  NPS1203 & Overnight

Heading to Snap Point I wanted to take Snap Canyon.

This is the official guidance on the NPS site for 1012:

BLM1012 - Recommended for UTVs and heavily modified short wheelbase 4x4s only. The road up Snap Canyon to the Snap Point mesa is narrow and has very tight turns as well as narrow steep sections due to rock slides. 


Turns out BLM1012 was tight near the top but not overwhelming for the lifted Suburban on 35s.  Certain to be a challenge in  few places if one needed to turn around due to traffic.  No issues and no need for rear locker.  Low range for speed control and to let the engine work easily.



Snap Point/Fort Garret:

Saw the three jeeps camping there at about 10:30AM.  Was again able to obtain 2-3bar LTE service on my phone. This is the far western end of the North rim.




Official Guidance:

Most high clearance 4x4s and pickups can reach the first view near Fort Garrett Point on the 1680 road. This road is deeply rutted and bushes have pushed into the roadway. Motorists will scrape the sides of vehicles against bushes.

Turns out, 100% correct on the “scraping” of the vehicle. The bushes were heavy.



Waring Ranch to Kelly Point:

Official guidance for going out to Kelly Pt. NPS1203:

Past Waring Ranch the Kelly Point Road NPS1203 deteriorates and is recommended only for UTVs. If you have a short wheelbase 4x4 vehicle like a Jeep Rubicon, Land Rover, or Toyota FJ Cruiser or similar, and you have all terrain tires, you should be able to make the 26 mile drive to Kelly Point, but it will be very rough and slow going (4-5 hours to travel 26 miles).  https://www.nps.gov/para/planyourvisit/kelly-point.htm
It is strongly recommended that only UTVs, Jeep Wranglers/Rubicons or similar type vehicles, light dirt bikes, or heavily modified and lifted short wheelbase 4x4s take this route. Dirt bikers need to be prepared to go slow and navigate the maze of rocks at a slow speed for miles. Heavy bikes will cause rider exhaustion. Stock 4x4 pickups and SUVs will not make it due to inadequate vehicle clearance. There are multiple stretches of road across volcanic boulders the size of watermelons. Speeds will be between 5 and 15mph for much of the drive. Plan 4-5 hours to travel one way to Kelly Point in a Jeep. UTVs usually make it in 3-3.5 hours.

Turns out the Suburban did just fine with 6" lift, air-down to 15psi on the 35s  running in low range for a nice idle low throttle rolling through the rocks we did just fine.  Remember not to straddle the big rocks, instead put tires on and go over them.  My ETA to the point was exactly 3 hours with a few short pit stops. Lot of brush, A lot of broken branches along the roof rack, the high lift and axe broke branches often.  A higher vehicle would not really be possible, example, a lifted expedition van like a Sportmobile/Spinter would not be able to get there w/o a chain saw or massive branch pushing.






Nap again!



Dinner and Sunset pictures


Fuel situation?

Just over 1/2 a tank.



https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared/Gcl7WqhfR6mms-vvnJczQQ.W6H07DiCN4ZNCIAaoL_2nu  <-- time lapse video67CE3230-677C-4E37-9C8F-BA053702B44B.jpeg

Edited by CAVU2
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Day 4: Taking On Kelly Point in return  and back-roads north to Paiute Wilderness.


Day's Route:

Return NPS1203 then CR103 to Poverty, then BLM1039 to Overlook Trail(can't remember designation) to Buckle Cyn. BLM1059
BLM 1004 through Maple Cyn / Little Wolf Pass to Black Rock Pass, Paiute Overlook/Wilderness to Cougar Sprs. Trailhead  & Overnight.


Departing Kelly Point.  Extra special top notch breakfast!



Morning Panorama



The morning ride out started at 8AM.  Half way out I met a Ranger riding a fat-tire bike.  He was just to the Ranch Camp.   He waved but didn't want to stop or talk. Wow, is that a round trip in a day ride or what?




Lunch @ Poverty Admin Campsite

Wow, it got dusty working my way to BM1004




Awesome Views takingBLM1004 over Little Wolf Pass,  Maple Canyon and then Black Rock Pass.  Wow, I sure wanted to get into the fire tower for the awesome view. Alas a locked gate.  So instead  I substituted by taking the Paiute Wilderness trail about 500' south to get the south facing view through the wilderness into the entire Pasashant.  In the distance I could see Tweedie Pts and Snap Point and all of the Grand Wash Cliffs.


Stunning Red Dirt made the Wilderness Stand Out.



Paiute Wilderness Trail, looking south to Tweetie Points, Snap Point in far background.




Selfie @ Paiute Wilderness Trail.





Setup another time lapse of sunset at the Paiute Wilderness, Dinner, then doing to Cougar Springs Trailhead to find a "sleep site".

https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared/VN13H1kOS9y18S5t4D-hzg.xLdgzD6UwAJtFYOl9GG8EH  <-- time lapse


Fuel Situation?

Less than 1/4 tank at Cougar Springs. Odometer showed 295mi.  Remember, it's a 42gal tank.


Edited by CAVU2
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Day 5: Exit Parashant NM via Elbow Canyon (Let's Go For It) then Home!?!?


Fuel Review:

This morning I decided that rather than risk running low on fuel taking a narrow or tight canyon out to Mesquite NV I would put a 5gal container of fuel into the truck.  I calculated I had between 4 to 7 gallons usable but... didn't want to starve out of fuel trying to prove anything.  Fuel synopsis in later post.


Official Guidance on BLM1BLM1299 (Elbow Canyon)

BLM1299 Recommended for UTVs only.

Note that the signage marked Elbow Canyon as a  “JEEP TRAIL” at the turn off from BLM1004. So do I go for it in a 1994 Suburban?  Though about it for a few minutes, decided that I'd go for it.  Here's a time lapse:







Loose granite and steep, a half dozen switchbacks that were narrow and required precise maneuvering. Fun, not scare.  Did have to manage speed in low gear and brakes, not wanting the mass of the truck to get away with itself in these steep & loose rocks shelfs. If I was going up, the eLocker would be important.  There was an active stream in places, and it cut across the road and in the center of the road in multiple places.  Summary?  The shot of the truck on the dirt road above Mesquite is a stock photo for Jeeping in the Part in that kiosk at Poverty Admin Site.  Yeah, worth it.  Made Mesquite by 10AM.  Too early for Tacos!


Final Return Home on I15 to Lake Mead NRA 167 through Moapa Valley to avoid Vegas Traffic! Much more scenic.  Then Kingman to Wikeiup to Wickenburg to Cave Creek! I'd say no issues but check out the next post.



Edited by CAVU2
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Day 5: Rescue?


Around Burro Springs south of Wickiup AZ. I saw a new Harley on the side of the road and a biker just past it in the 105 degree heat.  He had is black riding jacket on his head and was holding his helmet walking  south.  It happened fast and after I passed I though... "Crap, he's out of fuel"  Well, I have 20gallons in small cans on the top so I cannot ignore that really.  I am setup to help.  Can't live with myself if I ignore this situation custom made for my reserves... Take a mile to turn around and when I get back he's standing by the road.  I ask if he is out of gas but no, he's got a flat and cannot fix it.  Apparently a police car came by but when they determined he had some water and a phone they drove off ?!?!  I saw that he was overheating and sweating profusely, so I told him he'd better get in, and just ignore the 5 day old Kevin smell and the dirty truck.  The old Suburban barely keeps up with A/C when it's over 100, but its still shade and low 80s in the truck so... 


His name is John and I drive him to Wickenberg AZ I drop him off at the Mickey-Ds where he planned to meet up with his wife coming from Mesa with a tire.  He was riding back from Seattle on new tires on a work-road trip. He and his family recently moved to Mesa, AZ from Seattle. He was a very nice guy and I am not sure that it would be at all prudent to leave him there, COVID-19 or not. 

Edited by CAVU2
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Afterward / Parting Thoughs


1. Fuel.  On Day 5 in the AM I added 5 gallons to the 42Gallon main that was about 1/8 full.  When I arrived in Mesquite I added 33.8gallons.  Rough math give just shy of  39 gallons used for 330 miles off pavement. Maybe I would have made it on the original 42 gallon tank, but that would have been within 3-4gallons remaining and less than 10% of the rated capacity.   Estimated off road 8.5mpg.


2. Food.  Took way too much.  But thats good.


3. Canyon cooler had exhausted itself temperature wise and was warm. Not a Yeti.


4. Yeti cooler still had most bottles 1/2 frozen when I return to the house and several handfuls of ice. Totally good for another day at least.  In fact, the next morning 2 of the bottles still showed ice in them and the cooler was still "cool" with 1 or 2 small pieces of ice in the water.


5. HAM radio.  I was able to ping Bill Williams Mountain from Kelly Point and Snap Point.  I was also able to get Kanab as well from Kelly Point.


6. Cell Phone  Service?  Yikes.  All this to be off the grid and I had service reliably at Kelly Point, and somewhat reliable at Hudson Point, Tweedie Point, and Snap Point.


7. Biggest Let Down?  Two really and that were at Kelly Point. So far off the grid and --

  • BUGS! Yikes! Horrible thumb sized flies and bugs that could just hover for minutes.  Yes, I got bit. Yes. a lot.
  • LIGHT POLLUTION!  Yikes! Horribly I could see the lights all night from Peach Springs AZ and another township west. 
  • and maybe ... Three Bar LTE service.  Yikes, all this way and perfect cell service. 😉 



Here's the Yeti results after Sunday - Thursday in the hot desert...





Edited by CAVU2
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Excellent trip report and pictures.

Thanks for posting

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