Grand Canyon Events & Association News
Grand Canyon Field Institute (GCFI) September Classes
Rim to Rim Natural History Backpack
September 10 - 15
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 exploit 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 GCFI rim-to-rim backpacking classes.
Plein Air painting Workshop on the Rim
September 16 - 21
The canyon has seduced, confounded, and rewarded painters since the late 1800s when tourists first began to arrive. The challenges of capturing one’s impressions of this vast and complicated landscape endure, as does the passion for trying. Painting the Grand Canyon Plein Air can is particularly challenging given the quickly-changing light and weather.
This first-time GCFI 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’ working hours to be 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 GCFI director Mike Buchheit will help provide context for all as they record their impression of this iconic landscape.
This workshop is for intermediate to advanced painters, so outdoor painting experience is a prerequisite.
GCFI is offering this workshop in partnership with the Scottsdale Artist’s School. It is timed to immediately follow the 4th Annual Grand Canyon Celebration of Arts, a Plein Air event that is not to be missed.
Note: Online registration on the GCFI web site is not an option for this workshop. Inquiries regarding this workshop can be emailed to Audrey Lemler, email@example.com, or by calling Scottsdale Artist’s School at 480.990.1422. Information regarding registration and pricing details will be announced soon.
Women's Take a Load Off: Mule-Assisted Backpacking
September 17 - 20
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. As 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 melodic 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 24 - 28
Of the numerous indigenous populations that have been drawn to the Grand Canyon, only the Havasupai people continue to thrive beneath the lofty rims of the grandest of canyons. Like the largely rim-dwelling Hualapai people nearby, the Havasupai’s centuries-old connection to the Grand Canyon is a fascinating story. Against a backdrop of towering waterfalls and lush vegetation, participants will not only learn about the culture of our Havasupai hosts, but of the geologic and ecological history of the Grand Canyon itself.
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 pre-course materials.
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