Escalante Escalade:
Grand Canyon Trip Report - Grandview Trail / Hance Creek / Papago Slide and Wall! / 75-mile Creek / Horseshoe Mesa
 
(April 23 - 30, 2008)
Text © copyright by Rob; and Photos and sound © copyright by Bob and Rob

  The second of a two-part adventure

Co-Adventurers: Craig McCarthy, Bob Grant, & Rob

(There are - 63 photos embedded in the trip narrative.)

Click here to see the first part of this GC adventure series. The Hermit Hiatus!

360 degree pano from the Escalante Escalade Route - scroll L-R to view it all (4116 pixels wide)
360 degree pano from the Escalante Escalade Route - scroll L-R to view it all (4116 pixels wide)
(Click the image for the full-size image)
(There are - 63 photos embedded in the trip narrative.)

Escalade = a scaling or mounting by means of ladders, esp. in an assault upon a fortified place. There are many steps to the Grand Canyon. The Papago Wall was reputed to be a feature to scale.
     Total trip miles hiked = 53.2, ERM = 108.5.
     ERM = Energy Required Miles. A mile is added for every 500' elevation gain or loss. It's a very serviceable method of estimating energy required miles.

Map - GC: Grandview to Escalante Route; 2008; 53 miles
Map - GC: Grandview to Escalante Route; 2008; 53 miles
(Click the image to see the map)

If you want to view a full-resolution map, click here. Caution - do not use this map or gps track for navigating the route.

Crib work on Grandview Trail
Crib work on Grandview Trail
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Last Chance Mine
Last Chance Mine
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Last Chance Mine
Last Chance Mine
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Last Chance Mine
Last Chance Mine
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day1 - boquet1
day1-boquet1
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day1-boquet2
day1-boquet2
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coming out on the Tonto
coming out on the Tonto
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into Hance Cr.
into Hance Cr.
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spiny lizard
spiny lizard
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more - Last Chance Mine
more - Last Chance Mine
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route - Last Chance Mine
route - Last Chance Mine
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Page or Miner sp.
Page or Miner sp.
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(There are - More photos below the trip narrative.)

     Day 1: Sheepish Plummet: Grandview TH to Hance Creek Hurricane. 6.0 miles, ERM = 15.0.
    Mountain Sheep-sounding frogs bleat and utter their amphibian utterances as Bob G. soaks spaghetti and Craig M. prepares for the nightly reading of Desert Solitaire. Gusts of Hance Hurricane whisk Cottonwood leaves about our camp in Hance Cr. Canyon, below the wandering Tonto Trail.

Click here to: Hear the committee in support of natural quiet in the GC. (MP3 file; 192kb)

     We started at a reasonable hour, Craig and I having hiked out from the Bright Angel (Indian Gardens) less than 24 hours ago, on the Hermit Hiatus.

     Click here to see the Hermit Hiatus.

    Plunging on the Grandview Trail, we three tote large packs and make good use of our poles. Finally, Horseshoe Mesa, where we peel off the East side and really descend - through the Redwall layer, past Last Chance Mine (tunnel, old gas engine), and to lunch at Miner's Spring. Down more to meet the Tonto - then into and down Hance Cr., far enough to escape the flying sand of the upper camps. The Tonto layer is replete with flowers and a fragrant Lavender/sage combo drifts by with the hat-sailing breeze.
     Now, nestled in the folds of Tapeats SS, Bob and I enjoy Craig reading from Abbey's seminal work while a surround-sound of froggies bleat. It's cool enough for long pants and a pile top.

Click here to: Hear the committee in support of natural quiet in the GC. (MP3 file; 192kb)

day 1-view across Tonto
day 1-view across Tonto
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day1-bouquet4
day1-bouquet4
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day2 Escalante Butte1
day2 Escalante Butte1
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day2 Escalante Butte2
day2 Escalante Butte2
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day2 Fault & dike Red Can1
Fault & dike Red Can1
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Fault & dike Red Can2
Fault & dike Red Can2
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flower contrast
flower contrast
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flower terraces
flower terraces
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day2 Snapper Arch
day2 Snapper Arch
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West of Red Can.
West of Red Can.
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3 guys - top of Papago
day3 - 3 guys - top of Papago
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day3 Papago mouth
day3 Papago mouth
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(There are - More photos below the trip narrative.)

     Day 2: Tonto Terminus: Hance Creek to Red Canyon. 6.9 miles, ERM = 13.
    The River roars through the rocks of Hance Rapids at the mouth of Red Canyon and the wind shifts sand at the small upper beach. We are reclining in the boulders' shade as local sunset approaches.
     Today, we cached a dinner and some breakfast and lunch bits in a tin as we climbed out of Hance Cr. and began the Tonto roll. Beneath Ayers Point we contoured, then dipped through the saturated red seashore rocks of the Dox layer into Mineral Canyon for lunch. Flowers galore! A field of burnt-looking boulders preceded our descent into Red Canyon, where we see the first people of the day. Some boaters scouting the rapids and a hiker looking for companions who have slogged across the Escalante Route from Cardenas Creek.
    A coldest water on earth quick dip and some laundry and it's journaling time. Wild rice pilaf.

day3 Papago mouth - Bob
day3 Papago mouth - Bob
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day3 Papago Slide1
day3 Papago Slide1
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day3 Papago Slide2
day3 Papago Slide2
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day3 Papago Slide view
day3 Papago Slide view
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day3 Papago Wall1
day3 Papago Wall1
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day3 75-mile1
day3 75-mile1
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day3 75-mile2
day3 75-mile2
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day3 75-mile3
day3 75-mile3
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75-mile tapestry
75-mile tapestry
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day4 75-mile1
day4 75-mile1
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day4 75-mile2
day4 75-mile2
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day4 75-mile3
day4 75-mile3
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(There are - More photos below the trip narrative.)

     Day 3: Hide of republican (republi-hide); Papago Wall and 75-mile: Red Canyon to 75-mile beach. 2.3 miles + 2 miles exploration = 4.3 miles, ERM = 6.
     The dull roar of Nevill's Rapids lilts up the deeply shadowed, sinuous republican hide 75-mile canyon as we take turns toting the 2.5 gallons of mineral-laden water from "Della" Spring back to our private beach at 75-mile. The polished Shinamo Quartzite looks like elephant (republican) hide. Sadly, true republicans (who do not support wasting all our resources on an unprovoked, immoral war, who do not support the gushing transfer of wealth from the once-middle class to the very few wealthy elite) are as endangered as elephants. From Bill Moyer's June 13, 2008 broadcast:
     "The United States is the most economically stratified society in the western world. As THE WALL STREET JOURNAL reported, a recent study found that the top .01% or 14,000 American families hold 22.2% of wealth the bottom 90%, or over 133 million families, just 4% of the nation's wealth."

Click here - Read and listen to the entire Bill Moyer's piece on "Gilded Ages," the ever-growing economic inequality and iniquity, that is - the wealthy elite and corporate welfare.

     We started the day hiking leisurely through tammies and willows to the boulder scree ramp around the Shinamo Quartzite protrusion into the River - a cliff face. A short dalliance, accompanied by a bit of pure gription, leads us to the top of the famed Papago Wall.
     We passed down packs, then scrambled easily down to the narrow, polished quartzite opening of Papago Creek. It's narrow and cool directly below this dry fall - an excellent spot for a snack. Then, up on sloping ledges and over to the extended rocky beach below 75-mile. No real beach - so we won't be fed by rafters. The would-be-a-beach front is clogged with vegetation, providing a screen from the sun and wind, yet no good rafter access.
     We hike up 75-mile, looking for the next obstacle - a delightful canyon. A half mile or so up the canyon we come to a low falls (4' today - reputed to be an obstacle at times) and above it the route goes out by the fading trickle of a spring. The climb is a stair-step and easy. The route then loops back Tonto-like to high above the mouth of 75-mile, and beyond.... The difficult part turned out to be the "Papago Slide" West of the Wall. The crux of the crux day. Spaghetti with pesto sauce, olive oil and parmesan cheese.

day4 75-mile4
day4 75-mile4
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day4 75-mile5
day4 75-mile5
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Mooner
Mooner
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Escalante Completion
Escalante Completion
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Escalante Completion
Escalante Completion
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Unkar View
Unkar View
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day4 75-mile return
day4 75-mile return
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dryfall arch1
dryfall arch1
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dryfall arch2
dryfall arch2
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3 guys in 75-mile
3 guys in 75-mile
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day4 mouth of Escalante Cr.
day4 mouth of Escalante Cr.
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day5 GC Froggy
day5 GC Froggy
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(There are - More photos below the trip narrative.)

     Day 4: Escalante Completion: Day hike 75-mile to trail end from last year (see the Bodacious Beamer report). 11 miles, ERM = 23.
     The two vultures float overhead, touch down around the bend in the trail, then soar back for more inspection. Do I smell that bad? Do they see something I cannot? Rolling around the rocks, I'm approaching the spot in the trail where we hiked from Tanner foot last year on the Bodacious Beamer. There it is - Escalante Route Completion! Jubilation.

Click here - Bodacious Beamer report.

     It's been a long day already - up and out of 75-mile, along the Tonto look-alike above 75-mile and over to Escalante Creek, where we turned up canyon and hiked to the low dry falls, then turned West and headed up and around a large dry falls in the West arm of Escalante. See the map below.
     Up and up we roll around and through the arm far above, then continue climbing up reddish slopes decorated with Brittle Bush. Around a nose and to a fabulous view - see the opening panorama from Hance Rapids to Unkar, points galore.
     Then, the narrow route, edged into the slope (the fabled "boot width" trail), continues below a toothy ridge towards its descent to the Unkar overlook and Cardenas and finally the foot of Tanner Trail. I make it to where it becomes more civilized as it heads for the ruin above Unkar (see the Bodacious Beamer report for a panorama including this ruin). Craig and Bob have headed back and I feel enervated as I begin returning over the long red slope bump into the Escalante drainage. There is an archlette by the high dry falls. Spaghetti a la Bob with sausage. Yum.

day5 Papago Wall view
day5 Papago Wall view
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day5 view from Papago Wall
day5 view from Papago Wall
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day6 Rabbit Arch1
day6 Rabbit Arch1
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day6 Rabbit Arch2
day6 Rabbit Arch2
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day6 Red Can. alkali
day6 Red Can. alkali
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day6 Red Can. spring
day6 Red Can. spring
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Red Can. Zigzag Arch1
Red Can. Zigzag Arch1
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Red Can. Zigzag Arch2
Red Can. Zigzag Arch2
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view from Rabbit Arch
view from Rabbit Arch
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day7 Vishnu view - Bob
day7 Vishnu view - Bob
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day7 Vishnu view - Craig
day7 Vishnu view - Craig
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day8 Horseshoe Mesa1
day8 Horseshoe Mesa1
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(There are - More photos below the trip narrative.)

     Day 5: Papago Slide: 75-mile to Red Canyon. See Day 3 for distances. Today we begin the return to Grandview Point.
     The moderate weight of the pack pulls back, but it's the front-mounted camera that pushes me out from the native rock, causing me to literally grind to a stop on the top move of the Papago Wall. Argh. I slip off the pack and boost it to the top of the move, switch the camera to my back and slither up the last course of the Wall. Climbable with a moderate pack, I conclude. Craig and I explore up Papago Canyon, going a bit high on the West wall at the Papago entrance to surmount the series of polished dry falls. Its a gorgeous canyon, but not comparable to the delight of 75-mile. A red-spotted toad (?) greets us, yet otherwise this is a quiet area. Continuing around the corner, we are again entertained by the Papago Slide - which we christen the crux move of the trip because it's basically a giant talus slope at a high angle of repose.
    We lounge in the quiet coolness against the wall at the foot of the Slide before continuing to Red Canyon. This time, we camp in the Mesquite veranda just East of the canyon outlet, wonderful except that we have no view of the tiny beach at the head of Hance Rapids - a place where sandwich scows might pause for lunch. We did procure 3 beers from the AZRA group that stormed our camp as we were leaving this morning.
    As of now, we have used 3 water treatment methods: UV steri-pen, filter, aquamira.

day8 Horseshoe Mesa2
day8 Horseshoe Mesa2
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Horseshoe Mesa scenic toilet1
Horseshoe Mesa scenic toilet1
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Horseshoe Mesa scenic toilet2
Horseshoe Mesa scenic toilet2
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     Day 6: Dead Redconing: Day hike Red Canyon to spring, also Red Rabbit Arch. 6.5 miles, ERM = 12.
     Tinkling sounds of clear water greet me as I approach the lone Cottonwood in the polished red slate (?) stream course. Ahh, a spring near where the New Hance "trail" meets Red Canyon drainage. Refreshing.
     Tinkling sounds of clear water greet me as I approach the lone Cottonwood in the polished red slate (?) stream course. Ahh, a spring near where the New Hance "trail" meets Red Canyon drainage. Refreshing.
     I started out the day by hiking 500' up and over .5 mile to photograph 'Red Rabbit Arch,' which can be seen (especially in the late afternoon) from where Red Canyon meets the River. Whew.
     Then, up the canyon to explore - Craig spies another arch - no climbing to it. A short nap in the shade of the skimpy tree, then down in the heat to camp for a wash in the River and to filter mass quantities of water for tomorrow.
     Sheltered fairly well in our veranda camp, we enjoy the beer procured at 75-mile - which has been luxuriously cooled in a rat sack in the cold Colorado. As the song goes "Wild country, warm woman, cold beer, and a song." Most we have.
     Craig and I go down to the beach to talk with rafters and we are invited to pork chop dinner. Yahoo. Heavenly pork chops of biblical proportions. With baked beans, cole slaw and applesauce. Yum.
     It was a warm night and there must be rain in the home of the Dine' - because the river turns a split pea color overnight.

     Day 7: Tonto Burning? Red Canyon to Hance Creek Smoke Out. See Day 2 for distances.
     The walls turn orange as another billow of smoke plows by overhead, and breathing becomes a bit more republican (health restricted for a few). We are back at our Cottonwood camp at Hance Creek, serenaded by the vocal tree frogs.
     Today, we again joined the Eastern terminus of the Tonto and hiked the flower-infested ramps to Hance Creek. Several yuccas began blooming since we were last here. It is a hot day. Bob says "don't be down here after Hitler's anniversary - he was married on April 29th" and it's hot to remind folks of hell on earth, as in Hitler and bushco.
     Wind howls down canyon and smoke puffs by as we enjoy vegetarian lasagna and couscous soup. And, another in our series of a swig for Zig - he's bicycling the Southern Tier Route.

Click here to see Zig on the Southern Tier. Riding across the southern US, 2311 miles.

     Day 8: The Long Way Home. 9.2miles, ERM = 20.5.
     The trail is quiet out here on the Tonto sweep and the wind shrieks - literally blowing me off the trail as we loop the Tonto around to the North side of Horseshoe Mesa. We climb quickly, then we are on the historic switchbacks to the mesa. A scenic toilet. Photogenic. Rest, then start the grind to the top.
     Up and up, seeing only 4 hikers - because of the fire? We are mobbed by Chinese tourists - who all want their photos taken with Bob. Quite a jolting return from an excellent adventure to the land of motors and the disruption of natural quiet by electronics of all shapes.

Links:

Click here to see the first part of this GC adventure series. The Hermit Hiatus!

Click here to: Hear the committee in support of natural quiet in the GC. (MP3 file; 192kb)

Map - GC: Grandview to Escalante Route; 2008; 53 miles
Map - GC: Grandview to Escalante Route; 2008; 53 miles
(Click the image to see the map)

If you want to view a full-resolution map, click here. Caution - do not use this map or gps track for navigating the route.

Click here to see Doug's Rock Garden site about the Escalante Route.

Click here to see Zig on the Southern Tier. Riding across the southern US, 2311 miles.

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