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2012 Grand Canyon XP

50-50-50-50-50 - 250 Miles/Pioneer
NEW DATE: August 29 - September 2,2012

Day 1 Photos by Steve Bradley

Day 2 Photos by Steve Bradley

Day 3 Photos by Steve Bradley

Day 4 Photos by Steve Bradley

Day 5 Photos by Steve Bradley

Steve Says:

Day 1: 61 riders took the trail this morning and we had good weather until the afternoon showers arrived. Still it is a warm rain and it doesn't last long. Everyone glad they made the drive to this ride as without the snow and cold it is really a good time.

Happy Trails,

Day 2: Just finished uploading today's photos. 42 riders took the trail this morning and the weather continues to amaze. We were awaken at 4:30 this morning to a pounding rain storm with thunder and lightning. It all came out of one cloud that quickly disappeared and left us with blue skies for the start.

I shot today photos a mile or so down the trail from where I did last year. this area was full of color last year and this year it is GREEN. The aspen trees still make for interesting contrast. You can go see how much fun you friends and family are having by visiting the web page.

Happy Trails,

Day 3: Around 50 riders took the trail this morning under clear sky's. The flowers are really out now so I chose a spot that the riders could really move there horses with a field of wild flowers for a back ground. Everyone still smiling and enjoying this great riding weather.

happy Trails,

Day 4: Another good day today. Around 40 riders took to the trail this morning with a bit of a fog rising up from the ground. Had a real nasty thunderstorm last night that turned all the roads into rivers. thirty minutes later the water was gone, pretty amazing country.

Got some interesting shots of some of the mushrooms that grown around here today. This place never stops amazing me.

four days down one to go!!

Happy Trails,

Day 5: Got the photos up from day 5 and they are a mixed bag. We played hide and seek with the sun for the first part of the morning and the canyon was real smokey. It did blow out and the photos from later in the morning came out pretty good.

43 riders took the trail this morning and even though this is a holiday weekend with Mountain bikers and hikers everywhere, everyone got along great on the trail.

The weather was a lot better this time of year, even though I miss the fall colors there were flowers and mushrooms and wildlife all over the trails and it made for a very interesting ride this year. Thanks to Dave, Annie and all there volunteers for another great experience. If this ride is on your "bucket list" to do, get here next year as there is a question as to if this camp will be available.

Happy trails,

All five days of the Grand Canyon XP are out of the same basecamp which is located in Dry Park,on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. We ride through beautiful aspen and conifer forests and across wide open meadows through the North Kaibab Plateau on the Arizona Trail and the Rainbow Rim trails. Both of these trails offer spectacular views of the Grand Canyon. The trails course along the rim of the canyon but are far enough back from the cliffs that one does not have to a worry about a fear of heights. We hope to be in the middle of our usual Indian Summer during the time of the ride. The fall foliage,set against a backdrop of heavy green forests and the colors of the Grand Canyon offers a riding experience of a lifetime. The Kaibab Plateau is quite flat on top and the horses will have few,if any,climbs of significance. Although many of the trails are what you would expect in an alpine forest,there are some sections that can be somewhat rocky. We expect cool,mild days but be prepared for chilly nights. Typical October temperatures are in the sixties and seventies during the day and thirty to forty at night. As with all XP rides,free lunches are provide to everyone including the crews. Annie will prepare meals for a nominal charge if requested in advance.

Base Camp: The Dry Park Camp is located in a large open meadow surrounded by heavy timber and aspen groves. The campsite is large and reasonably flat and we are allowed to camp on the grass. We are fortunate to be able to return to this camp again this year. Last year the areas experienced severe rain storms just before the ride and it was anything but Dry. One wonders how it got its name. The forest service was surprisingly and pleasantly quite reasonable about the assessment of damage to the area. A couple of weeks after last years ride,we returned with a tractor and drag and were able to repair much of the damage but it always takes a good winter before we know how much permanent damage was done. Apparently our efforts were successful as we have received a long awaited,long term permit for the ride. We do have plans this year for an alternate campsite in a gravel pit where rain and mud would not be an issue with environmental damage. Both the Forest Service and I feel that last years storm was an aberration that is unlikely to occur again. As always however,there is nothing we can do about the weather. We are looking forward to using some of the new trail that was missed last year due to the storm.

Directions: The Dry Park Camp,in the North Kaibab National Forest. You can reach this camp by taking Hwy 67,the Grand Canyon Parkway,about 27 miles south from Jacobs Lake,Arizona. Turn right on Forest Road 22 and go about 10 miles to the bottom of the hill,where you turn left into Dry Park. The camp is about 1 mile south of Hwy 22. Do not turn into the Dry Park Lookout. This is a dead end road with no turn around. Dry Park is further down the road at the bottom of the hill and is a large dry meadow.

There is a shorter route to camp that involves more dirt road and a steep hill but is shorter overall. We use this route to bring all of our rigs to camp. To access this route,go east out of Fredonia Arizona on US Hwy 89A. Turn south on Forest Road 22,which is just east of town. This road is paved for about 22 miles,and then turns to improved gravel. After a little more than 18 miles the good road will fork and the left fork heads towards Hwy 67. Take this left fork for 0.8 mile and turn right into the park. Should we be forced to move the camp because of weather issues we will have XP signs posted at the each end of Forest Road 22. The alternate camps are in the general vicinity of Dry Park and will still be reached from FR 22.

Trail: The North Kaibab trails were originally used by both Native Americans and pioneers. The present trail system is part of a single track recreational trail that crosses the entire state of Arizona,including the Grand Canyon. Many of our trails are old logging roads that have been closed to vehicles for many years.

Awards: Individual daily awards are available for the first to finish and the horse in the best condition. An overall best conditioned horse and first to finish awards will be presented. Daily participation awards will be given to all riders. Riders who complete all five days will receive jackets,crew bags or plaques.