View Full Version : Grand Canyon in May

3-Mar-2007, 04:52

I plan to do hiking and camping mostly in the North Rim area. The weight of my gear is something I'll have to deal with but I do need space and will have to leave one or two lenses behind. I could use some suggestions for focal lengths to take, I have 110, 150, 240, 300, and 360. I'll be using 4x5 (color) 5x7 B&W.

What about filters, are the UV filters I have on for protection any good for the haze or do I need something stronger?

How bad is the wind at that time of year?


Alan Rabe
3-Mar-2007, 05:59
Hi Chris, For down in the Canyon I would take tour 110, or 130 as all the spots are tight and contained. From the rim your 240 would do nicely I usually use a 210 and have never really felt like I needed anything longer. I don't know what kind of shape your in but if you have the energy you might look into Thunder river. It is on the west part of the north rim and in May will be quite spectacular due to the snow melt. It is about half way down in the canyon. It comes out the side of the canyon at a full thunderous blast and cascades down about 1500 feet, then goes for about a mile and ends at Tapeats creek. It's a little canyon and is full of vegetation and is it's own little paradise. The problem is it is a bit of a hard trail, I believe the short trail is the Bill Hall trail, it is the tough part of the hike, the rest of the hike is moderate. The actual thunder river trail is about 5 miles longer but not nearly as steep and actaully merges with the Bill Hall trail at it's end. I have known people to day hike it but I suggest an overnighter for which you will need a permit. Tell the rangers you want to spend the one night in surprise valley. Also the water is the best I have ever had. It comes out at about 35 degrees and tastes like nothing I have ever had. Cavers have been back in the cave during low flows and have gone several miles and never found it's source.
But whatever you do have fun. Also Fire Point has a nice overlook of the canyon.

Juergen Sattler
3-Mar-2007, 06:32
I would strongly suggest that you also bring a non-LF camera. Spring (incl. May) can be extremely windy at the Grand Canyon. I've been there when I did not even unpack my 4x5 because the wind was too strong. You could get very frustrated otherwise.

3-Mar-2007, 06:34

That is one of the hikes I have planned and I sent in a request for a permit, though I think I specified Deer Creek.

I like my 110 but it is twice the weight and three times the size of my 150.

Juergen, I will take my 6x9 folder along. I did photograph with my lf in some strong winds last August in the Badlands S.D. I used an umbrella to buffer the wind.

Jim Rhoades
3-Mar-2007, 06:40
Like Juergen I've found it to windy for L/F in the spring. Also when in May? Is the road going to be open? It's a long drive to the North Rim.

3-Mar-2007, 08:03
Depends upon the day and the wind. I live about 45 miles from Toroweap point on the North rim. The actual lodge at the North Rim may still be closed and the road unplowed when you come. Then again if we get some warm weather it might open up. Right now it is closed. If you need some help getting around to good places on the North rim, (my knees will not take going down into the canyon this year) I'm around to help. I also know quite a few of the rangers that can point you in the direction of places that normal tourists are not told about. Bring a good yellow and a orange filter with you. When there is haze, you need a bit stronger than just a haze filter to deal with it. The red filters seem to add far too much contrast in this red rocks area.

Alan Rabe
4-Mar-2007, 10:27
Hi Chris, Deer creek is great. At the bottom of the Esplanade, in suprise valley, you go right for deer creek. But it is less tha a mile to the left to get to Thunder river. It can be done in a few hours then back to Deer creek. I would suggest carrying extra water bottles on the way down and stash them somewhere along the trail before going down the esplanade. This will reduce the amount of water you need to carry out and up the esplanade. And water weighs a bunch.