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Tanner - Escalante - New Hance, AZ
mini location map2017-11-11
7 by photographer avatargunungapi
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Tanner - Escalante - New Hance, AZ 
Tanner - Escalante - New Hance, AZ
Backpack avatar Nov 11 2017
Backpack27.00 Miles
Backpack27.00 Miles3 Days         
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1st trip
Partners none no partners
My friend Sam and I, along with my 15 year old son, hiked this route over three days. What a beautiful hike. This is now definitely one of my favorites in the Grand Canyon.

The hike definitely has a few challenging places. My topo map designates trail intensity with letters: E=Easy, M=Moderate, D=Difficult, and for extra difficult, DD. All three legs of this hike have “large chested” stretches on my map.

The views on the descent down the Tanner are spectacular because of the relative openness of the terrain all the way to the river. I can’t think of another trail where you’re within sight of a single spot on the Rim for the whole descent to the River. (In this case that spot is Desert View tower.)

I wish that I had read the triplogs on this website before the hike because we would have taken the detour up Escalante Butte. We certainly would have had plenty of time, since we reached Tanner Beach by early afternoon. We explored and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. The upper cliffs of the South Rim illuminated by the setting sun were gorgeous, and the cliffs reflecting in the Colorado made for some nice photos.

As soon as the sun went down our camp was besieged by mice. Those little devils are fast. You could hardly raise your arm to throw a rock before your target had darted off under a rock or log. We emptied our packs of food and hung the food off an overhang, but even that wasn’t good enough: I awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of Sam whacking his empty pack with his hiking stick in order to knock off a couple of mice that were busy chewing on it.

The second day of the hike, the Escalante Route, was my favorite leg because of the variety and beauty of the terrain. The only part of this leg worthy of its “Route” designation was the last couple of miles, from the mouth of Seventyfive Mile Creek to Hance Rapids. Otherwise it’s an easy-to-follow trail.

We stopped partway up Dox Hill because one of us had to dig a hole, and while we sat beside the trail, I spotted Angel’s Window out near the end of Cape Royal on the North Rim. My son and I had visited it a couple of years ago, so it was fun to see it again, but from a different perspective.

Later on, it was a thrill to lean over the east edge of Seventyfive Mile Canyon looking for the creek bed below, not be able to see it, and then have to lean even farther over the edge before finally seeing it. Less than an hour later, we were walking down that very creek bed, looking waaay up to the canyon’s edge far overhead.

The trail definitely gets more route-like after Seventyfive Mile Creek. It was a bit daunting to arrive at the bottom of Papago Wall without really knowing what it was, and seeing the cairns at the bottom and top. We really have to climb that? But upon closer inspection, it turns out that it’s not so bad. We were able to climb it without even removing our packs.

The mice were even bolder and more numerous at Hance than they were at Tanner the night before. At one point in early evening I looked down and found a mouse sitting right beside me in the sand.

The mice stole a couple of things from us in the night too: Sam’s sock (taken to be used in a nest?) and the small leather keeper from his hat strings. A mouse also chewed a hole in my son’s water bladder bite valve. I was relieved that they didn’t chew a hole in my tent.

What can I say about the hike out on the New Hance? It’s steep, especially since the first couple of miles in Red Canyon gain almost no elevation at all. That being said, I enjoyed the hike up more than our hike down a couple of years ago – definitely easier on the knees and hips.

Now I’m itching to get back here again sometime – maybe try out the Tanner-Beamer-Salt trails?
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