|Tanner - Escalante - New Hance, AZ|
|Tanner - Escalante - New Hance, AZ|| |
Tanner - Escalante - New Hance, AZ
|Backpack||26.62 Miles||3 Days |
|8,090 ft AEG||20 LBS Pack|
|I grabbed the distance and AEG from Chumley's route.
I had a couple openings on my permit so I contacted DallinW to see if he and a friend wanted to come along with me and my longtime hiking friend, Craig.
Day 1 - Tanner Trail:
Craig and I met Dallin and Alex at the New Hance Parking Saturday morning where we had pancakes and eggs for breakfast. Unfortunately, I committed the mortal sin of leaving the bacon at home.
After breakfast, we headed to Lipan Point and were heading down Tanner Trail around 9:00. The first part is fairly steep but was easily managed. Dallin mentioned how he wanted to peak bag Escalante Butte. On the way down I slipped on my pumpkin, part I of my penance for my bacon transgression. I had a bit of a headache when we reached the turnoff to Escalante Butte, so I decided to take some vitamin I and close my eyes for awhile while the others ran up the hill.
After a time I got a bit antsy so I wandered around the area and started to climb a small nearby hill. I stood on a rock with a bunch of cactus in front of me figuring out where to step next when the rock rolled out and I fell chest first towards the cactus patch. I sacrificed my right hand and was able to stop my chest from landing hard in the spiny hell. I spent the next half hour saying Hail Marys and Glory Bes pulling out spines from my arms, legs, chest, and mostly from my hand. Interestingly enough, my head no longer ached. Thankfully, the rest of the hike down the Tanner went without incident, my penance complete.
Once at the Colorado River, we hungout at the beach for a good long time. The river water was really clear; the clearest I have ever seen it; there was essentially no silt in it. Craig was on the river at South Bass last week and he said it was the muddiest he'd ever seen it then. Things cleaned up nicely this past week.
We finally got up and decided to find a place to camp for the night. The more usual spots were taken from hikers that came in while we were lazing on the beach, but we found a good and sandy spot farther down.
As the sun was setting, @sirena walked through. We all introduced ourselves and had an enjoyable chat over dinner. It's always nice to meet a fellow HAZer.
Day 2 - Escalante Route:
I'd been down Tanner and out Beamer before but the Escalante Route and New Hance Trail were new to me. I was looking forward to today! We started the route a bit before 8. It was shady and brisk at first but the tread was easy to follow and easy walking so we kept a good pace and warmed up.
This is described as a route but it's really a pretty decent and easy to follow trail most of the way to Red Creek. There are some more difficult sections, but in general, I was surprised with how easy it was to stay on track throughout.
For some reason, I thought there was no water from Tanner to Red Creek, so I left with about 3.5 liters of water. That was a mistake as the route goes right by the Colorado at Escalante Creek about 8.4 miles out. We stopped there for a lunch break and watched some rafts run the rapids there. This would be a nice place to camp.
It seemed to have warmed up a lot after our break at Escalante Creek and the climb up from there was hot. Despite that, the rest of the day's walk was the best of the route. I really enjoyed walking above 75 mile creek then dropping into the creek bed and following it back to the Colorado. That was my favorite part of the whole trip. From there, the traverse to Papago Creek was a bit tedious with the rocks followed by the steep descent down the Papago Slide to Papago Creek.
My big unknown was how difficult the climb up the Papago Wall would be. It was actually fairly straight forward for the four of us. I was last up and my only difficulty was finding a hand hold on the top part. I'm the shortest of us four and wasn't able to see it like the others. Once Dallin pointed out the hold, I finished the climb.
From there, it's not too far to Red Creek, the latter part through brush along the river.
Once at the river, we went for a dip to cool off and rinse the grime away. How refreshing. Afterwards, we found a nice camp spot under some mesquite trees. We were hanging out at camp and thought we were the only people camping in the area when two Chippendale Dancers and, I suppose, their agent walked through camp carrying Tenkara rods to go fishing. Okay, I don't know if they really are Chippendale Dancers, but they are two really buff guys with smooth shaven bodies, only wearing shoes and tight short shorts. What would you think?
Day 3 - New Hance Trail:
I was the first one up to perform the requisite pee in the river ritual. We weren't in a rush to get going, but Alex needed to get home early evening so we weren't too slow either. We started the walk up Red Creek a bit before 8. The first couple miles up the creek were pretty easy and my thoughts were wandering around and I started contemplating how fast shoes would wear out walking on the rocky creek bed.
Once the trail left the creek bottom, it started climbing with a vengeance. That was one pumpkin steep climb. Dallin wanted to make it to the top in one push and was a bit ahead of Alex and me but after almost two hours I decided I needed a quick snack break. Alex kept trudging on. I stopped at the top of the first steep pitch and shortly after I started going again, decided to wait for Craig who had just come into view. Craig saw a couple Bighorn Sheep we had scared towards him. The trail descends back into the wash (hate that) then follows the wash up through the red wall. Craig and I took another short break there before the last push up to the rim. That last push was super steep too. I'm not sure it would be any better going down.
We had shade most all of the way up to the rim. Once we got in some sunny spots, we were high enough that it wasn't hot and they were never for very long.
Once on the rim, I continued to highway 64, then followed the it to where Dallin's truck was parked. To my surprise, Dallin and Alex weren't too far ahead of me and I caught up to them. We reached the truck just past noon and Craig followed us in a couple minutes later.
I really liked this GC trip itinerary and think it is a great three day trip. It would be easy to add a day and camp at Escalante Creek too. That would give two easy days to cover the Escalante Route.
Tanner Trail is steep, New Hance Trail even more so, so I recommend packing as light as you are able. A light pack also helps when climbing the Papago Wall.
Craig put together a short YouTube video. There're stills for about 25 seconds before the video kicks in.
||Autumn Foliage Observation Light
Mostly over, some yellow leaves near the top of Tanner Trail and the upper portion of New Hance Trail.