Jay’s Trip to Toroweap

Looking down at Toroweap campsite

A couple of weeks ago I found out that the Grand Canyon National Park Vegetation Program’s Invasive Species Crew needed volunteers to go to Toroweap. Since I am not working and could go, I jumped on the opportunity. For those of you who have never heard of Toroweap, it is a point on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon out on the Arizona Strip situated near Vulcan’s Throne. This pocket of Grand Canyon National Park is very remote and totally cut off from the rest of the park.

Large cluster of Mammillaria cacti in bloom.

While there for five days, I worked pulling a few exotic invasive species, Horehound, Blue Mustart, and Scotch Thistle. We removed the Horehound from the dry lake beds in the Toroweap valley. This was the majority of the work. Horehound is in the mint family and looks sort of like catnip. Its every bit as prolific as any other mint.

Small blooming Mammillaria cacti

Small blooming Mammillaria cacti

We also helped the back country ranger Todd with some projects around the camp ground. Toroweap is so remote that Todd is often flown in for his stints in that area.

View from tuck up trail near Saddle Horse Canyon

Even with Toroweap being so remote that it is an eight hour drive from Flagstaff, it’s hard to believe the trip was not full. This particular Grand Canyon National Park volunteer trip usually fills up fast, but this one was only five of us instead of the typical ten.

A well hidden and totally shaded pot hole. This one had a lot of water in it despite the dry and dusty prevailing conditions.

Pot Hole close up. This thing was a miniature oasis, with a water glider and tiny ferry shrimp.

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4 responses to “Jay’s Trip to Toroweap

  1. Please, tell me more! Who were the other volunteers? Did you sleep in tents? What was the weather like? It looks hot and dry, but I know that looks can be deceiving. What is a pothole? and what is a water glider? It was great that you were able to go on the trip. both for the Grand Canyon and for you personally.

  2. The other volunteers were Sheryl and Paul. The trip was announced late and Sheryl and I actually found out through an announcement on the Grand Canyon Trust website. There was also our Trip Leader and the intern Jo from Grand Canyon National Park.
    Yes we slept in tents. The weather was mostly nice but there was some wind and others thought it was cold at night. Two of the nights the wind was gusting pretty strong.

    A pothole is a natural depression that forms in sand stone and catches water forming a little pool. These are often isolated and subject to periodic drying out. I was very surprised to find one with water given the high temperatures during the day and the dryness, also it was not freezing at night. potholes are important water sources for animals and also have lots of strange aquatic life. I say its strange because many species like the toads can simply dig them selves down into the sand and wait out long dry spells.

    A water glider is a little aquatic insect that actually walks on the waters surface.

  3. Wow, thanks for the additional info. You sound like a Park Ranger giving an interpretive talk!!

  4. Pingback: Week 10: Staying Busy | Service Driven

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