Day 11 – Shinumo Creek

Day 10 ——————————— River Journal ——————————— Day 12

Day 11 – Lower Bass (109)
River Miles: zero
Hiking Miles: 4
March 28, 2013

North Bass-Land

When it was first decided that we’d be taking a layover day here at the bottom of the North Bass Trail, I had some fleeting visions of grandeur. There’s a lot of the Grand Canyon that I hadn’t yet explored in thise area – most notably, up Shinumo Creek toward Merlin and Modred Abyss.

A more realistic look at the distances involved in such a hike stymied my initial hope of exploration. And then, the reality of being here today revealed that I didn’t even care to be ambitious at all.

Shinumo Creek

Team McCumber and Chris Forsyth, with unfailing Carpe Diem-ness, took off early in the morning to the White Creek Narrows for a canyoneering adventure. The rest of us simply ambled about at camp and did some much shorter hikes.

Here’s a video depicting their day of canyoneering. They set out early in the morning, and didn’t return until just a few moments before dinner.

Jackie and I went on a leisurely hike up the creek to see the historic relics at the old Bass Camp.

In the 1890s, pioneer William Wallace Bass established the first complete “rim-to-rim” route for the tourists of the day, complete with a rickety cable car that spanned the Colorado River. These trails are still used by experienced backcountry hikers, and a lot of historic evidence can be found here at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

The main inner-canyon camp was on the north side of the river, in a homely area that was was once complete with a garden and an orchard. If things had worked out differently in the history of the Canyon, this could easily have been the site of today’s Phantom Ranch.

We extended our hike just a little, to within sight of the place where the trail leaves the creek and begins climbing up the canyon. From there we turned around and returned to camp. Jackie really liked this quaint little corner of the Canyon, with all its greenery and imaginative visions of gardens and orchards.

almost April 🙂

views along our return to camp

This was just a great day to relax and disconnect from the rigors of the trip. We were fortunate to be on cook duty today. The kitchen was already set up, and we had plenty of time available to prepare the meal. It was a charcoal dinner of wild salmon, wild rice, and canned asparagus, starting off with a green salad as the appetizer.

Dessert called for a “cookie cake,” basically cookie dough cooked in a big clump and cut to order. It was my first experience cooking with a dutch oven, and I messed up the dessert quite effectively. It was fortunately still edible, and everybody was nice about it.

It was also a nice time to take stock of things and do some re-organizing, particularly counting and rationing how many beers Jackie and I had left for the the rest of the trip! I pulled out our reserves (Switching from Tecate to PBR) and re-loaded the drag bag.

The Canyon was our home and the rafts were like the clothes on our backs. I think everyone in the group felt a little shot of feel-good pleasure at the sight of the boats all tied up along the shore, in a neat little row. More of us began to simply sleep on the rafts, amid the sounds of the occasional rubber brushing against rubber, and the gentle lap of the waves.

It didn’t rain today, so I imagine that sleeping beneath the Canyon stars was a breeze.

Can’t get enough of rafting the Grand Canyon?
Check out this excellent collection of Boatman Stories!

Day 10 ——————————— River Journal ——————————— Day 12


  1. Debbie Gipson says:

    Hey Jamie, My husbands great grandfather was W.W. Bass. I have done quite a bit of research on the family…I love the Cline library at N.A.U. there are boxes full of info, as well as online. There is a pic online of W.W. with three Harvey girls sitting at Bass camp. Your pic of the relics was taken at the same spot. Note coffee pot in both photos….dun know could be the same pot. Also Bert Lauzon married Edith Bass, W.W.’s daughter .They were my husbands grandparents. Bert also made the trip down the river with the Kolb bros. Thought you might find interesting… Deb

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