Grand Canyon Events & Association News
Grand Canyon Field Institute (GCFI) October Classes
October 12 - 13
Not enough fiber in your creative diet? Don’t miss this two-day workshop designed to celebrate the many wonders of wool with fiber artists Jen Marshall and Kim Buchheit. With a combined 20 years of experience as working artists, these art educators will teach participants a number of traditional felting techniques, from nuno to needle, and demonstrate an array of fiber coloring strategies.
Several rim strolls along the scenic South Rim (including a magnificent sunrise at Hopi Point) will inform creative choices such as color, shape, design and texture. No matter what your skill level, you’re sure to heighten your understanding of how to draw inspiration from place. To commemorate a newfound relationship with the canyon, each participant will take home several of her or his own handmade pieces (i.e., scarves, table runner, felted fabric). All materials are included.
We are very pleased to announce the participation of special guest Betsy Miller. Betsy is an accomplished fiber artist who will be visiting from the nearby Navajo Nation. She will discuss the fascinating story of the Navajo (churro) sheep, as well as traditional sheep shearing and rug weaving as it has been practiced by regional tribes for centuries.
Take a Load Off: Mule-Assisted Backpacking
October 14 - 17
With a little help from four-legged friends, participants in this class descend into the heart of the Grand Canyon for a two-night camping adventure beside picturesque Bright Angel Creek. This class begins with a thorough morning orientation after which camping gear is taken to the nearby mule corral for next-day delivery to the canyon floor. The afternoon is spent on an educational walking tour along the breathtaking South Rim. On the second day of class, participants hike seven miles down the South Kaibab Trail, enjoying a combination of sweeping views and intriguing facts about geology, ecology and human history. Because pack mules are hauling the bulk of the group’s camping gear and food, participants can devote more time and energy to uncovering the canyon’s secrets. Upon retrieving their camping gear at historic Phantom Ranch, the class will set up camp for a two-night stay at Bright Angel Campground. For the remainder of the day and all of the next, the focus will be on learning about the geologic formation of the canyon from the inside out. The diverse flora and fauna of the canyon, and the human inhabitants it has sustained for millennia, will also be discussed at length. Destinations will likely include the refreshing pools of Phantom Creek, ancient archaeological sites and the tranquil shoreline of the Colorado River. The class will return to the South Rim via the 10-mile Bright Angel Trail, which reveals its own array of biotic communities and geologic wonders.
Hermit to Bright Angel Geology Backpack
October 13 - 14
The 26-mile Hermit Trail to Bright Angel Trail loop is one of the more popular hikes for experienced backpackers looking to get away from the crowds. This splendid route is home to a treasure trove of desert streams, big views, stunning geologic formations and botanical wonders. This class will incorporate wide-ranging topics and interpretive points of interest to weave the story of the canyon’s past, present and future. Geologic points of interest are plentiful along this route and lend themselves well to discussions of canyon formation theories, depositional environments, erosional processes and fossil creation and distribution.
After a thorough orientation, the class will descend the historic Hermit Trail and then take the Tonto Trail to proceed upcanyon during subsequent days. Campsites will include picturesque Hermit Creek, Monument Creek and Indian Garden. Side hikes will descend through the two-billion-year-old Vishnu Schist en route to the fabled Colorado River, where Hermit and Granite Rapids bear testament to the power and significance of this iconic southwestern waterway. A final sunset at Plateau Point with a commanding view of the inner canyon will provide a dramatic finale to this classic journey through the grandest of chasms. On the final morning the class will ascend the historic Bright Angel Trail for a wrap-up session and farewells.
October 15 - 18
A Grand Canyon hike from rim to river spans millions of years in geologic time and takes hikers from a high-altitude forest to desert lowlands in very short order. Along the way there is much to intrigue the curious traveler. Big views, ancient fossils, amazing plants, archaeological sites and pioneer structures are all in plain view, and provide a wide range of topics for your expert instructor to address. Our introductory backpack begins with a thorough orientation, pack check and afternoon stroll along the scenic South Rim. The following day includes a 4.5-mile descent of the Bright Angel Trail to the towering cottonwood trees of Indian Garden Campground, home for a two-night camping adventure. A sunset visit to nearby Plateau Point with its commanding view of the Inner Gorge will cap the group’s inaugural day below the rim. The following day will feature a backpack-free day hike to the sandy beaches of the Colorado River for a glimpse at the forces that carved this marvel of a canyon. Depending on group hiking strength and weather, an optional visit to historic Phantom Ranch (several miles upriver) may also be an option. The final day of class includes a return to the South Rim on the Bright Angel Trail at each hiker’s own pace and a proud look back at the canyon that doubled as classroom and playground for three splendid days.
Wilderness First Responder
October 22 - 31
Whether you are a backcountry trip leader or merely a frequenter of the outdoors, the ability to react quickly and effectively in a crisis situation may prove to be a matter of life or death. Class participants who satisfactorily complete this 80-hour training will receive a Wilderness First Responder certification, which is the industry standard for commercial outdoor leaders and guides.
Taught by expert instructors from the Wilderness Medicine Institute (a program of the National Outdoor Leadership School), the curriculum includes standards for urban and wilderness care situations, and emphasizes decision making and injury prevention. Some of the topics covered include CPR, dehydration and heat-related injuries, shock, spine and head trauma, musculoskeletal injuries, wound management, environmental emergencies and common expedition problems.
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