GCHBA Volunteer Project @ Indian Garden – 3/17-24/2015

One very important point to note is that the information below is just a summary from Project Leader Rob Jones’ complete write up of the hike. That complete write up can be found HERE. Thanks Rob!

The week of March 17th the GCHBA held a Volunteer Service Project, coordinated by none other that Rob Jones GPPSP (The Grand Penultimate Poobah of GCHBA Service Projects).  Rob had 9 Co-Adventurers: Barry B., Michelle C., Kathy H., Mike H., Denise H., Kathleen J., Dave R., Richard S., & Jeremy W., plus three site-based planners, Elyssa S., Jeff S., and Erika A.  Thank you so much to everyone, this is a terrific way to give back to the park.  Below is the list of tasks accomplished during the week:

A brief day-by-day description and photos are listed below. Click on any picture to see a larger image.

Day 1 Today there was lots of staging activity, with those adorable NPS mules toting in the food.  We get to say “Thanks!” in person to the NPS Packers and mulies later today at the Indian Garden (IG) Ranger Station(RS).  But the first thing for us to do today is to hike in, secure campsites, and review the task list with Ranger Elyssa.  Later Ranger Erika arrives, and soon after that a helicopter, with a load of flooring for the RS suspended from a long cable, flies in.  After stowing the flooring, we tour the area and then attend Ranger Elyssa’s excellent program about Bighorn Sheep.

Looking Towards Indian Garden

Packers on the Trail

Flooring Arrives!

Flooring Delivered

Flooring Being Staged

Ranger Elyssa

The Flooring Arrives (6 mb) (4 mb)

Day 2 Mike, Dave, Kathy, Elyssa, Richard, Jeremy and Denise get busy removing tack strips and staples as well as the old wood stove rock-works while Barry, Kathleen, Michelle, and Rob start preparing the exterior of the clinic for painting.  Meanwhile, the NPS mule wranglers arrive.  These humorous guys make our enforced break time (quiet time for the mules) go quickly.  As the day winds down, some of us host a Trail Ambassador Canyon Chat in the campground, discussing Canyon trails and Canyon threats – such as the proposed Escalade to the Little Colorado River, Water availability for the proposed development at Tusayan, Managing Natural Quiet versus the demands of Air Tour Operators, the possible resumption of Uranium Mining on the South Rim, etc.

Outside Prep Work

Inside Prep Work

The Packers Arrive!


Day 3 We wake up to the sound of an owl, notifying us of the approaching sun.  The day consists of a flooring frenzy and a plethora of painting, but there is time enough later in the day for a hike to Plateau Point.

Oiling the Benches

Painting the Clinic

Painting the Clinic

More Painting

Wall Patching

Camp Cleanup

Day 4 More painting, more Pergo, campground clean-up, and sign refurbishment (49 signs in all!) today.  In the late afternoon the Condors appear, working the thermals by the Redwall cliffs.  Later we host a second Canyon Chat session which is well-attended and spirited.  Later, with just the GCHBA group, more enthusiastic discussion of the nature encountered today and the long task list.

Even More Painting

Floor Repair

Refurbishing Signs

California Condors

Day 5 This is a rest(?) day that is spent on a 13 mile hike down to the Old Bright Angel trail to Phantom Ranch, and then back along the Miner’s Route.  At Bright Angel Creek the native Flannel Mouth Suckers are grouped in spawning pods, amazing!

Hiking to Bright Angel

An Amazing View

Flannel Mouth Suckers

Flannel Mouth Suckers (4 mb)

Day 6 More RS painting, both inside and out, the flooring is completed as sign refurbishment continues.  In the interest of zero waste some of the soon to be replaced picnic tables have been cut up to make book shelves for the RS.

Walkway Work

Packing Swingloads

Cutting Shelves

Building Shelves

Interior Work

Exterior Work

Day 7 Finishing Touches – We’ve painted and cleaned, landscaped, and built swing loads before a late lunch and a hike to Plateau Point.  This has been one of the the most productive, stellar, and cooperative volunteer crews in Rob’s history with the GCHBA.

The Shelves are Looking Good

The Canyon


Day 8 One last time the GCHBA crew is gathered in the Trail Crew Bunkhouse for breakfast and discussion.  This time, discussion is about last-minute items before hiking the 3,000′ to the Rim. Quick goodbyes and hugs to Jeremy and Richard, who need to get out on the trail early.  Final cleaning of the Bunkhouse and final packing in the CG occurs.  The RS now glows with a lovely Park Service Brown, the interior sports a new floor, an open ballroom atmosphere (due to removal of the wood stove nook and shelves), new rustic shelves, and fresh Ivory Tusk paint.

The 49 or so IG signs are legible, and the swamp water flows through revised drainage and alongside a newly graveled walkway. Camp sites are “fluffed” and cleaned.

As we begin the hike to the Rim, we pass the signs, gaze at the RS, and feel good about providing our bit of stewardship to some of our favorite public lands.

On the hike out the NPS people we see smile and tell us that “The word is out across the Canyon District that the GCHBA transformed the IG area.” Ranger Jeff reports that he is anxious to see the new ballroom in the RS, and that he will be sending additional photos to Ranger Debbie B.

Thanks, to our fellow volunteers, to the NPS people, who put the “Service!” in National Park Service, and thanks to the GCHBA for their support of this project.

The last NPS people we see are the Packers, and we exchange “Thanks!” and say goodbye to Junior, who is the last NPS employee we see.

Ready To Go

The Whole Group

Nice Looking Sign

Final Ranger Station

Final Inside

Final Shelves


Bye Bye Junior!


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