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Grandview - Tonto - New Hance, AZ
mini location map2021-10-02
11 by photographer avatarjacobemerick
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Grandview - Tonto - New Hance, AZ 
Grandview - Tonto - New Hance, AZ
Hiking28.73 Miles 6,094 AEG
Hiking28.73 Miles   15 Hrs   53 Mns   2.30 mph
6,094 ft AEG   3 Hrs   24 Mns Break
1st trip
Partners none no partners
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Been a few months since an adventure, so decided to ease back into things. This wasn't a good way to do that.

Road Walk
Parked at the fire road by New Hance Trail and headed west on 64 a bit after 3AM. Was heckin' cold, and my chattering teeth woke up several herds of elk along the road, and their bugles, grunts, clattering, and smells wafted through the dark forest, keeping me company on the otherwise-lonely connection. Reached Grandview ahead of schedule and took a little celebratory break.

Grandview Trail
Eastern horizon was just starting to lighten at the start, and I needed two lights to navigate the crazy twists and turns down. Loved this trail. A few washouts on the Supai layer that were tricky to work around in the dark, nothing worth getting too worried about. Reached Horseshoe Mesa before the sunrise and checked out a few of the remains. Cool area, already thinking about returning with a kid or two and wasting a few hours poking around up here.

Cottonwood Connector
Unsure of the exact name, but it had a sign and is on the map and was well-defined, so here it is. Crumbly thing, no washouts, and was pretty easy to track the whole way down. As expected, once it hits Cottonwood Creek the path disappears and one just follows the creek, which was dry until the spring.

Tonto Trail
Really enjoyed this, circling all the way around Horseshoe Mesa. Well-defined, easy walking, and starting bumping into a few backpackers who were starting to get moving. Watered up at Hance Creek to full capacity (4L), which would not be enough, and I kinda knew it would not be enough... more on that later. Rest of Tonto dragged, even though there were interesting sights along the way, and I was pretty happy to reach Red Canyon and the Big Muddy around noon. Took a nice lunch break under a mesquite tree and pretended that the rest of the hike was gonna be a quick climb with the 2L of water I had remaining.

New Hance Trail
Slogging up the rocky Red Canyon was tough. Did bump into the infamous @bifrost / @slowandsteady duo, was great to see them in person even if I was feeling light-headed and fatigued. Heard a rumor there was a spring beyond where the trail picks up, so I stuck in the canyon a short distance further, turned around too early, got stuck in a drainage... I was making stupid decisions. Eventually got back on trail and practically crawled uphill, sipping water every 30m or so. Struggle bus was strong. What I assumed would be a 3 hour hike up New Hance turned into a 7+ hour death march. Trail was fine, really in great shape, with a few level sections to alleviate the grind, the problem was all me. Finished the last 20 minutes by headlamp and dragged my cramping body back to the parked car.

I would highly recommend doing this loop in reverse. Everything makes sense for a CCW loop, especially the water situation.
 Meteorology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Sunset

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Cottonwood Creek Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Okay flow near Tonto. Better flow upstream closer to the marked spring.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Hance Creek Light flow Light flow
Good flow, plenty of pools to pull from near Tonto.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Hance Rapids Medium flow Medium flow
Colorado was running chocolate-brown.

dry Mineral Canyon Dry Dry

dry Red Canyon Dry Dry
Dry along length of New Hance Trail. There is a spring upstream of trail's bank departure, looks promising, did not verify amount.
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