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Mar 16, 2008, 12:07 AM
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chrisgood's Avatar
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Grand Canyon Inner Gorge

I spent three days hiking in the Grand Canyon last week. My son and I hiked in on the South Kaibab Trail, spent the night at Bright Angel Campground next to Phantom Ranch, and then spent two days hiking out on the Bright Angel Trail, spending one night at Indian Garden. This was my sixth time to the bottom, and my son's first trip. If you have never hiked within the canyon, make the time and do it. You get to see parts that very few people ever see.

I had built myself a two-meter electric aerial photo plane a few years ago that comes apart into small pieces that I take all over the country whenever I travel on business. I had always said I would take it with me on my next hike into the Grand Canyon, and I did. I carried the plane, its 5MP digital camera, the radio, and four 2100 3S lipos in my pack, along with the food and camping gear.

About 5 miles down the South Kaibab Trail, the trail crosses the Tonto Plateau, and then drops sharply into the inner gorge at a place called the Tip-Off. These pictures are from that spot.

I had my main digital SLR around my neck and took 760 pics with that camera, but the aerial photos are the interest here, so enjoy.

BTW, I had more than one person ask about the weird carbon fiber "thing" sticking out of my pack. I told them what it was and every single person thought that was a great idea. The two or three hiking groups who happened to be resting at the Tip-Off when I flew, loved it, and gave me round of applause when I landed right at my feet. A ranger asked me what I was carrying and I told her what it was - she said that sounded great and it was a neat idea.
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Mar 16, 2008, 05:38 AM
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pl1974's Avatar
Nice pics Chrisgood.. I was looking for a self portrait shot so that we could see where you were flying from though.

I'd be really interested in seeing your AP setup, I'm particularly interested in the portability aspect.

Mar 16, 2008, 06:53 AM
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Murocflyer's Avatar
Great pics Chris! I spent 5 days down there myself and your photos brought back some great memories -except for the dang critters that got into my food sack at camp!

I'd also like to see pics of your AP rig. Sounds like it work quite well!

Mar 16, 2008, 07:30 AM
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LannyG's Avatar

Like to see how you did it too!

Good job. I'm kind of amazed that the ranger thought it was a good idea.
I'd like to see your setup too.
Mar 16, 2008, 10:22 AM
No thrust...It'll bust...
troynh's Avatar
Great shots! Ditto on posting info regarding your setup. (I have a feeling you know what you're doing. )
Mar 16, 2008, 10:36 AM
Promoting Model Aviation...
Murocflyer's Avatar
Tim is an Internet detective.

I still find it unreal how much info can be found in the 'net if people know how to search for it:

Nice work on the plane Chris!

Mar 16, 2008, 10:49 AM
No thrust...It'll bust...
troynh's Avatar
Hi Frank,

Didn't have to look far... Just click on Chris's profile. He's got it listed under his contacts. :-)

-Chief Inspector Clouseau
Mar 16, 2008, 10:56 AM
Gwelan's Avatar
Nice pictures and AP plateform.
Mar 16, 2008, 11:14 AM
fmkit's Avatar
Did you see the condors ? Last time I saw some 20 near Blue Angel. They all wear numbers and I was couple hundred feet close to them. They are bigger than any RC plane I've seen.
Mar 16, 2008, 11:35 AM
Professor of Wood
kd7ost's Avatar
Very nice Chris. That is some tough hiking too with all that gear. Good for both you and your son.

Mar 16, 2008, 11:43 AM
Registered User
Thanks for the images!
I spent last month rafting the "big ditch" in 21 days.
Did you see any after effects after the controlled flood from Glen Canyon Dam?

Couple shots:

Jeff Scholl
Mar 16, 2008, 12:28 PM
Professor of Wood
kd7ost's Avatar
Great pics as usual Jeff,

Have you talked to Leo Geis lately?

Mar 16, 2008, 01:20 PM
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chrisgood's Avatar
Thread OP
Thank you all for the kind words. It looks like my camera rig setup has already been tracked down, so you know how it all fits together now. It is an ugly, but functional plane.

As we were hiking on the South Kaibab, we reached Skeleton Point at the end of O'Neill Butte. At that point the trail drops down a very tight set of switchbacks to the Tonto Plateau. The condors were in full force, slope soaring at that gap in O'Neill Butte. There were 7 or 8 California Condors right there, flying within just a few feet of the trail; one landed on a rock in the trail about 50 feet from us but I was too slow with my camera. As we were sitting there snacking on gorp, a mule train came up through the gap and the mule leader said "What a treat. This is a rarity." I had never seen so many in one place up close; there are less than 300 left in the entire world and about 120 in the park.

We missed the water release from the dam by a few hours. I was at Plateau Point looking down on the river the night before the gates were opened. There was a raft group camped on the river bank, and I thought the gates were being opened at 10 PM that evening, and they were going to get swamped. The gates were actually opened at 10 AM the next morning, so they were already on the river by that time.

Last edited by chrisgood; Mar 16, 2008 at 01:32 PM.
Mar 16, 2008, 05:22 PM
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willhaney's Avatar
Beautiful pictures.
Mar 17, 2008, 06:08 PM
Registered User
Thanks for sharing Chris, very good! Did you get any unexpected air currents in the canyon during your flights?

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