Well, it’s really the rim of Marble Canyon upstream from the Grand Canyon, but it is still a huge thrill. The airstrip is located in restricted airspace and usually you have to be super-careful not to penetrate that airspace. However if you are landing at the strip you allowed to fly there (though you need prior permission to use the strip). The official name is the Cliff Dweller’s airstrip, a wide empty dirt strip that it situated very close to Soap Creek Canyon, one of the deep canyons that branches off of the Colorado River.
I had flown into Soap Creek a few years ago and hiked to the Colorado River via the South Fork of Soap Canyon. It ended up in my book on classic flying destinations. I’m writing another book on family adventures and I wanted to redo the South Canyon trek to see how difficult it really is.
But first, we decided to do a technical descent down the North Canyon. Then we would hit the South Fork about halfway down and complete a circuit. The North Fork requires some fairly long and technical rappels.
We finally made it to the mighty Colorado, not coincidently right at Soap Creek Rapid. We had a bite to eat and then hiked at a decent pace to the confluence and then up the South Fork. We had flown in from California that day, did a technical descent of North Canyon and still had about 4 or 5 miles to go before dark.
One thing I love about this airstrip is that the South Fork canyon comes up and ends midfield! It was getting dark on the hike out and seemingly in the middle of sagebrush and sand the tail of the airplane appears, then the entire plane, then a cooler, then a beer! All within about two minutes!
The next post in this three day adventure: Peek-a-boo and Spooky Slot Canyons