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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: South
Jan Nesset
Monday, September 2
Back On Top

We survived the night without so much as a scratch from the creatures who go bump in the night.
It was our turn to bump.
Four a.m., headlamps on, we lined up and started hiking northwest from Phantom Ranch. With the Colorado River at our backs, 14 miles ahead was the North Rim.
Jacob and I who held positions at the back of the line were abuzz with flying insects wafting from the front of the line. They swarmed our headlamps in such large number they entered our eyes and mouths. Jacob turned out his headlamp and followed my beam which I held at my knee.
At the front of the line Richard said bats dipped in and out of his headlamp beam.
Sunlight began to fill the canyon two hours into the hike. Our headlamps off, we were finally able to look around. Unlike the broken, steep and rocky Tanner Trail, the North Kaibab Trail is generally wide and smooth. It ascends gradually the entire nine miles to Roaring Springs from where another five miles is the rim.
On several stretches from Roaring Springs to the rim there are no off-trail options other than a steep rock climb or soaring freefall.
Meeting a pack string of mules on such a place posed an interesting dilemma: climb rock, freefall through space, turn back down the trail or hug a cliff.
Hugging the cliff was the option suggested by the leader of the mule string I encountered. In the past I’ve seen mules bolt from trails for obvious and unknown reasons. Here on these precarious Grand Canyon switchbacks, where a bolt for any reason can be disastrous, one cannot have anything but great admiration for the mules and the muleteers who travel them. Having a bad day here is something from which one does not recover.
Dr. Kay Gandy, our teacher alternate, was not able to cross the canyon with us because of the lack of room on the raft but she was able to descend to meet us on mules from the North Rim. She’d descend to Roaring Springs to hitch up Julie and Cathy who awaited mules for a ride up.
Riding a mule, Dr. Kay says, “is the only way to see the canyon,” meaning the best way. She prefers the mule way because she can see more of the scenery rather than watching where she puts her feet on the trail.
I beg to differ but she does have a great point -- different strokes.
Topping out on the rim at the North Kaibab trailhead I took a quick stroll around the parking lot to see if our support had arrived. Considering the early time of day and our rate of speed all the hikers would likely be out early. Our mule people were expected out at 3:15 p.m.
I rolled out my sleeping pad to lie down and attempt a nap. An RV pulled next to where I rested and the lone man inside rolled down his passenger-side window. He planned on going down the North Kaibab the next day on mules and was interested in my thoughts of the trail.
Our chat turned to American Frontiers and our public lands’ mission, which brought a twinkle to his eye. He fully supported the idea and wanted to help any way that he could.
I asked for a lift 1.5 miles to the North Rim Lodge where I could buy cold sodas for the team. From experience I knew they’d all appreciate something cold to drink after the steep ascent from Roaring Springs.
He offered one better: he went to his RV refrigerator and doled into my out-stretched shirt a variety of cold drinks, enough for everybody.
Our mission and partnership with National Geographic are easy to understand and for most people easy to get behind.
The generosity of this one passerby is not an uncommon event on this Journey.
People are genuinely thankful to meet us and eager to support us with well wishes and sometimes more. It is the rare person who does not offer a wish to join us. The freedom we enjoy is not only enviable but infectious. All we have to do is talk about our Journey and people are ready to hop aboard.
Public lands and the freedom they represent are possibly more important today than at any other time in history. While our national security is under siege our public lands remain unthreatened by anyone but ourselves. We’re free to use public lands and enjoy them.
Perhaps we don’t all agree on how public lands should be managed and used but not agreeing is a freedom in itself. Our public lands are fully ours and as Americans we decide their future. Let us never allow a day when our freedom to enjoy our public lands comes under attack.

By 6:30 p.m. our entire team was sharing personal Grand Canyon stories in the Jacob Lake Campground.
for Monday, September 2
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: South
Jan Nesset
An experienced outdoorsman, Jan Nesset knows that everyone has to pitch in at camp
A native of Montana and the third of four children, Jan Nesset joins American...
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List of All Journal Entries
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Wednesday, April 28
Jan Nesset
American Frontiers: Part II: Taking Stock
   >> more...

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Sunday, December 1
Jan Nesset
Canyonlands in December
   >> more...

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Thursday, November 21
Jan Nesset
Snow Raspberry Bounty
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Sunday, November 17
Jan Nesset
The Bisti Badlands
   >> more...

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Friday, November 15
Jan Nesset
Public Land Flows Through It
   >> more...

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Thursday, November 7
Jan Nesset
A Day At Earth Analytic's Home
   >> more...

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Tuesday, October 29
Jan Nesset
Slot Canyon Adventure
   >> more...

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Monday, October 28
Jan Nesset
Some Things Never Change
   >> more...

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Sunday, October 27
Jan Nesset
Back To The Wave
   >> more...

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Monday, October 7
Jan Nesset
The Thing About Summits
   >> more...

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Saturday, September 28
Jan Nesset
A New Beginning: National Public Lands Day
   >> more...

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Thursday, September 26
Jan Nesset
Big Day of Sneak and Salvage
   >> more...

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Wednesday, September 25
Jan Nesset
History-Coated Strawberry
   >> more...

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Tuesday, September 24
Jan Nesset
The Last Of It
   >> more...

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Monday, September 23
Jan Nesset
Dinosaurlandia
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Sunday, September 22
Jan Nesset
Over The Edge
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Saturday, September 21
Jan Nesset
God Bless America
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Friday, September 20
Jan Nesset
Sometimes It's A Tough Life And We Get To Do It
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Thursday, September 19
Jan Nesset
The Niche Near You
   >> more...

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Wednesday, September 18
Jan Nesset
Snow Day
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Tuesday, September 17
Jan Nesset
A Capitol Reef Bull's Eye
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Monday, September 16
Jan Nesset
A Lucky Rift
   >> more...

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Sunday, September 15
Jan Nesset
Riding The Hog's Back
   >> more...

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Saturday, September 14
Jan Nesset
Oh Rhythm My Rhythm
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Friday, September 13
Jan Nesset
Precious Images
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Thursday, September 12
Jan Nesset
From the Hole to the Staircase
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Wednesday, September 11
Jan Nesset
Happy Days
   >> more...

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Tuesday, September 10
Jan Nesset
Do You Believe In Magic?
   >> more...

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Monday, September 9
Jan Nesset
The Bridge Over the River Why
   >> more...

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Sunday, September 8
Jan Nesset
Public Lands And…Not You?
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Saturday, September 7
Jan Nesset
That Place So Special
   >> more...

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Friday, September 6
Jan Nesset
Just Looking To Have Some Fun – Be Dammed!
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Thursday, September 5
Jan Nesset
Do The Wave
   >> more...

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Wednesday, September 4
Jan Nesset
The Condors Are Coming!
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Tuesday, September 3
Jan Nesset
Fires Are For The Birds
   >> more...

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Monday, September 2
Jan Nesset
Back On Top
   >> more...

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Sunday, September 1
Jan Nesset
Perfection
   >> more...

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Saturday, August 31
Jan Nesset
The Wheels Have Left The Tarmac
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Friday, August 30
Jan Nesset
Star Light
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Thursday, August 29
Jan Nesset
The Traditional Connection
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Wednesday, August 28
Jan Nesset
Onward and Upward On Mountain Bikes
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Tuesday, August 27
Jan Nesset
Checkerboard Kings and Queens
   >> more...

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Monday, August 26
Jan Nesset
Aldo Leopold As Ranch Manager
   >> more...

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Sunday, August 25
Jan Nesset
A Story In Everything
   >> more...

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Saturday, August 24
Jan Nesset
Fire In The Whole
   >> more...

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Friday, August 23
Jan Nesset
"Good Morning, Flagstaff!"
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Thursday, August 22
Jan Nesset
Hoping For The Best
   >> more...

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Wednesday, August 21
Jan Nesset
Could Get Stinky
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Tuesday, August 20
Jan Nesset
Wheels Asunder
   >> more...

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Monday, August 19
Jan Nesset
Hurt Me, Thank You!
   >> more...

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Sunday, August 18
Jan Nesset
Roads Aplenty and Rocks of Pleasure
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Saturday, August 17
Jan Nesset
Of Dragons and Fire
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Friday, August 16
Jan Nesset
Motorcycles and the Zen of Route Mechanics
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Thursday, August 15
Jan Nesset
Puzzled
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Wednesday, August 14
Jan Nesset
A Day Off, Sort Of
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Tuesday, August 13
Jan Nesset
A Delightful, Light Day
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Monday, August 12
Jan Nesset
Courage On Eagle Mountain
   >> more...

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Sunday, August 11
Jan Nesset
Farewell
   >> more...

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Saturday, August 10
Jan Nesset
My Aching Back In The Saddle
   >> more...

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Friday, August 9
Jan Nesset
Back In The Saddle
   >> more...

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Thursday, August 8
Jan Nesset
In The Saddle
   >> more...

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Wednesday, August 7
Jan Nesset
Shut My Mouth!
   >> more...

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Tuesday, August 6
Jan Nesset
Diversity and Song
   >> more...

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Monday, August 5
Jan Nesset
An Unraveling
   >> more...

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Sunday, August 4
Jan Nesset
A Bagged Peak
   >> more...

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Saturday, August 3
Jan Nesset
Lines On A Map
   >> more...

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Friday, August 2
Jan Nesset
GPS-Marriage Made In Heaven
   >> more...

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Thursday, August 1
Jan Nesset
Free Wheelin'
   >> more...

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Wednesday, July 31
Jan Nesset
An Excellent Start
   >> more...








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