Grand Canyon Events & Association News
Grand Canyon Field Institute (GCFI) September Classes
Women's Take a Load Off: Mule-Assisted Backpacking
September 9 - 12
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.
Havasu Canyon Natural History Backpack
September 16 - 20
The class will begin with an eight-mile backpack through an impressive series of telltale rock strata to the inner-canyon village of Supai. After a brief visit, participants will continue several miles down the trail to the campground at the base of picturesque Havasu Falls. From this base camp, subsequent days will be spent hiking, swimming and sharing the beauty of this storied locale. Participants will learn about the history and ways of their host tribe, and study the numerous plants, birds and other animals found in this amazingly diverse riparian drainage. The final day will include a retracing of steps back to the South Rim for closing discussions and departure.
Note: Fee-based horse-packing service is available from the tribe for those wishing to have their gear carried in or out of the canyon. Information about this service will be included with preclass materials.
Rim to Rim Natural History Backpack
September 19 - 24 and 25 - 30
The rim-to-rim journey across the Grand Canyon is considered one of the quintessential hikes in North America—and for good reason. The North Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails combine to create a rarified cross-canyon thoroughfare, one that harbors many delights for the experienced backpacker. Roaring Springs, Ribbon Falls, Phantom Ranch and Plateau Point are but a few of the treasures awaiting those who take part in this moderate-intensity backpack.
Topics will include geology, archaeology, pioneer and Native American history and a discussion of the varied biotic communities that can be found along this 24-mile route. After being shuttled to the North Rim, the class will spend its first night at the North Rim Campground. During the precipitous descent into the canyon, participants hike from an aspen-clad forest to the banks of a desert stream in a few short hours. Nights are spent at Cottonwood, Bright Angel and Indian Garden Campgrounds, respectively. The final day of class includes a 4.5-mile hike to the top via the historic Bright Angel Trail, each hiker traveling at his or her own pace.
Note: Recent comparable backpacking experience is a prerequisite of all rim-to-rim backpacking classes.
Plein Air Painting Workshop
September 22 - 27
The canyon has seduced, confounded and rewarded painters since the late 1800s, when tourists first began to arrive. The challenges of capturing impressions of this vast and complicated landscape endure, as does the passion for trying. Painting the Grand Canyon plein air is particularly challenging given the quickly changing light and weather. This first-time Field Institute workshop is designed to give the student complete focus on the canyon while learning what to select from the canyon’s expansive view. Helping students arrange pleasing compositions while creating the feel, mood and essence of the canyon is the main goal. Success will require hard work and dedication from each student. Careful consideration has been taken to select prime painting locations suitable for this class. The daily schedule will be split into early morning and late afternoon painting sessions, with break time in between. This will allow the students to work during the richest and most dramatic times of day while giving them some free time to explore the canyon. Demonstrations will also be used in the teaching process, as well as individual critiques and some lecture time. A natural and cultural history lecture and tour of Kolb Studio by Field Institute director Mike Buchheit will help provide context for all as students record their impression of this iconic landscape.
This workshop is for intermediate to advanced painters, so outdoor painting experience is a prerequisite./p>
Note: Online registration on the Field Institute website is not an option for this workshop. Inquiries regarding this workshop should be directed to the Scottsdale Artists’ School at (480) 990-1422.
North Rim Fall Colors Photography
September 24 - 27
Many of the canyon’s signature peaks and pinnacles crouch, seemingly just out of reach, beneath the towering North Rim. Photographers have long flocked to the lofty overlooks of the higher rim to capture some of the most compelling compositions found anywhere in North America. For those lucky enough to visit in the autumn, the lush forest of the North Rim adds one more visual treat to the display. The leaves on isolated groves of oak and aspen turn red and gold in late September, providing a splash of color for the nimble photographer. The goal of this workshop is to have participants in the right place at the right time with the right skills to make images with impact. Individualized feedback and group critique will be given throughout the workshop for anyone interested. All skill levels welcome, though a working knowledge of your own camera and its settings is imperative.
Notes: The class carpools to the various shooting locations on paved and gravel roads.
All nights will be spent at the North Rim developed area, where participants may camp for free or arrange to stay at the North Rim Lodge out of pocket.
Yoga with a View
September 27 - 29
What better setting for a workshop that integrates body, mind and spirit than one of planet Earth’s most beautiful landscapes? Grand Canyon has long served as a magnet for those who strive to integrate nature into the exploration of that which lies within. Your two experienced instructors on this rim-based retreat will incorporate yoga and light hiking to assist in this exploration. A series of natural history rim walks and short hikes will serve to ground the experience for participants. Yoga sessions will take place in a historic building in Grand Canyon Village, as well as secluded spots along the forested South Rim.
This is an ideal workshop for yoga enthusiasts with some basic experience. Don’t miss this opportunity to gently stretch your body and awareness while learning more about the natural history of the grandest of canyons.
North Bass to Shinumo WSW
September 29 - October 6
Billion-year-old fossils, waterfalls, crystal-clear springs and world-class scenery abound in the spectacular Shinumo Amphitheater. The challenging North Bass Trail provides access to this remote wonderland. Non-trail routes will be utilized thereafter. These routes allow participants to minimize effects of the early-September heat, as most follow sparkling streams under thick cottonwoods. The hiking in this corner of the canyon is strenuous, but lessons learned will last a lifetime.
After an orientation day at the North Rim Lodge discussing Leave No Trace ethics, wilderness backpacking, route finding, map reading and geology, the class will descend into the canyon for this seven-day hands-on learning adventure. Each day takes participants farther into seldom-visited backcountry where they will encounter unique challenges and negotiate increasingly difficult terrain. The class will finish by retracing its steps back up the Bass Trail.
The rough, unpaved roads to the trailhead require carpooling with high-clearance vehicles (call for details).
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