Escalante Route-Hofdahl TR

Tanner, Escalante Route, New Hance TrailsThe trip was originally scheduled to be a four day back pack with Steve,Bruce Corey(El Lobo Grande), James Cabanas and myself. I was especiallylooking forward to this trip because it was my first back pack in the GrandCanyon. I have back packed before in California, but I knew that thiswouldbe a special challenge. I was saddened to learn that my former boss, SteveYahner, would not be able to make the trip. He felt that It would be toocold. I had day hiked the canyon seven times this year and I really wantedto complete this journey.We started on Thursday driving up to Cameron and staying at the TradingPostMotel. I was impressed with the accommodations, the food wasn't bad andthe company was great. The three of us shared a room and it worked outwell. Between James' snoring and Bruce's coffing, I did get some sleep. Iwas a little concerned because I knew that we only had two tents. I wasthinking about the nights to come and I was mostly worried about sleepingwith James' snoring. I made a decision that night that I was going tosharea tent with Bruce( El Lobo Grande).We started the next day driving to the Tanner trail head. I backed up mySuburban in the parking lot thinking it was in a nice position. Brucethought it was too obvious that we were gone for several days. I reparkedit in a less obvious position. In hindsight, he was probably right. Hehasmuch more experience than I. We started down the Tanner trail at about tento eight in the morning. It was cold and overcast, we immediately put onour gloves and hats. I was thinking that this might be a cold affair thatImight later regret. The trail was steep for the first hour and a half.Theweather began to clear and we became warmer. The views were awesome and Ithink as a group, we were beginning to achieve a positive attitude that wenever lost throughout the trip. We proceeded down the Tanner to the end atTanner rapid. We landed at the Colorado at about one in the afternoon. Aswe were looking for a campsite, we met a young couple who had already foundtheir campsite. We talked to them for just five minutes. The young womanwas impressive with her knowledge of Grand Canyon. She was nice lookingtoo.She informed us that the Escalante would be difficult, but that we couldgetto a point along the Colorado that we could camp and get water. She didindicate that the New Hance trail was difficult to hike out. We set up campand relaxed for a short while.After we set up camp, we had some trouble with James' water purificationsystem. He recently changed the filter and It really didn't work well.Thefilter was spitting out the carbon resin in the receptacles. I was alittleuneasy, but I thought I would just go along with it and see what happens.The three of us were so positive that It wasn't going to be a show stopper.I truly loved the camp site. We were right next to the Tanner rapids oftheColorado and the weather was awesome. I would say it was almost midsixties.I slept well even though Bruce coffed a lot and he had to get up in themiddle of the night to go to the bathroom. The night did get a littlecool,slightly below forty.We went to sleep early at about six thirty. I brought a fitting book, "TheMan Who Walked Trough Time", by Colin Fletcher. I read two chapters asBruce tried to sleep and negotiate his cold. We planned to wake atfive-thirty only to wake up an hour late. We began our day with greatweather and made our way over the Escalante route. The breakfast was goodfor Bruce and I, but not for James. The Granola that he consumed justdidn't agree soon later.The trail was very beautiful. It basically paralleled the river. Wereally wanted to get to a similar campsite along the river. We hiked alongsome very exposed trails and then down into the Escalente creek. Brucecontacted the Grand Canyon Field Institute to get some short cuts. We cameupon the impressive Seventy-five mile creek/ canyon and Bruce wasdeterminedto find these cairns to lead us to a short cut. He became a little shortwith me, as I was leading the crew. We were only about 500 yards away fromthe cairns when he decided that I wasn't paying close attention. Weregrouped and hiked back a short while. We then decided that we hadn'tgonefar enough only to find the short-cut. The short cut did have some greatrewards and we were all in awe of the Seventy-five mile creek.We thought we were close to our destination of Hance rapids only to findsome hairy climbs at Papago Creek. He had to scale on all fours late intheday. We made it to Hance right at dusk and we were needless to say, verytired. It was a fifteen mile trek in all, a very long day.The camp site at Hance rapid was just as good as Tanner rapid. We didn'tsee a sole. The only problem was that Bruce kicked over my new candlelantern accidentally. It was then that I felt that Bruce's nick nameshouldbe changed to "El Toro Grande". I really felt he is best described as a"Bull in a china store". I think that the cold that he was fighting was sofrustrating for him. We went to sleep at about eight-thirty. I read for ashort time, but I was pretty tired from the long day. We slept reasonablywell and knew that we had a big day ahead of ourselves to climb the nextmorning.We began our trek out at about nine-thirty on Sunday. The New Hance wasbeautiful. It is also called Red Canyon as you hike through the first thirdin all red canyon. It is steep and we just kept going on. We realizedthatwe were completing a four day hike in three days. I think that Bruce and Iwanted to hike out. James wouldn't have minded staying another night. Heflew in from Sacramento and wanted to get four days worth. He also luggedalarge camera and a tripod the whole way. We were concerned about campingincold weather mostly and Bruce's cold was beginning to bother him. The NewHance trail was just as the woman described, difficult. I hiked out atfour-fifteen to catch a ride to the Tanner trail head to drive my Suburbanback to pick up Bruce and James. They made it out at five-fifteen. It wasalready below forty degrees and it felt cold.It was a great accomplishment, I really felt like all we did was hike. Wereally didn't get much time to relax. As I look back at the hike, Irealized that New Hance is not for the meek. I really enjoyed getting toknow Bruce"El Toro Grande" and James Cabanas.

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