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Begins: Mar 13, 2020
Date: Thu, May 28th, 2020
Start: Burn area
End: East Rim Viewpoint
Daily Distance: 24
Trip Distance: 438.9
Entry Visits: 11
Journal Visits: 750
Guestbook Views: 4
Guestbook Entrys: 0
Arizona Trail Map
Another early start to avoid the warmer afternoon temps. So unusual for this time of year: the N Rim has a heat advisory in effect, and expects temps in the upper 80s!
The aspens in the burn area are getting huge, considering that they've only been growing 10+ years. So thick in places it is hard to see thru. A few more years, and this will be a spectacular forest, especially in the fall. We hike on logging road that is covered with green grasses. Still not seeing many deer.
The trail goes thru a succession of forest and meadow. The trees are now a mix of ponderosa, spruce, fir, and aspen. The meadows are green. The meadows usually have at least one water source, a dirt tank, a natural spring, or a wildlife collector. All have water now, with an unnamed tank/lake near Little Pleasant Valley being the best. The fence around Crane Lake has been replaced, and there is no access for hikers unless they scramble over it (no gate).
We see a few thrus who have crossed the Canyon. Wish we could have been with them. It's frustrating to have given up on our thru hike only to find that others who didn't are getting thru.
No bison sightings, just some old droppings. The bison moved up here when a fenceline on the Buffalo Ranch in House Rock Valley was breached a few years ago. They loved it on the N Kaibab. Lots of good grazing, water, no predators. In a few years, their numbers exploded. So the NPS has had the difficult decision of what to do about them. The visitors love them; how often does one get to see bison? But they have been destructive to the meadows and probably compete with the deer for forage. Some say the bison should be removed because there is no historic evidence that they were ever here. But...some say there are picto-/petroglyphs that show them here before the white man came. The park tried a limited hunt, with the game given to various Native American tribes. They have also tried to do a round-up. Not sure what the results of these efforts have been.
We really enjoy this day. The meadows and forests are ever changing and ever special. Eventually, we reach Dog Lake. There are inscriptions on the trees here, some dating back to the 1920s by others who built this trail.
A short distance later, we arrive at East Rim Viewpoint with its vistas of Marble Canyon, House Rock Valley, and Vermillion Cliffs. A bit hazy today, but a great reward for the hiking of today!