Today was the day we left the “comforts” of the Colorado River. For the past 3 days, we have been pretty much at waters edge, which means we have not really needed to worry so much about potable water. Leaving Tanner Beach and Rapids, we hopped on the famous Escalante Route for the next 12.5 miles, which the GCNP deems as one of the hardest trails in the Canyon. Please! 🙄 I feel they say that about every damn trail. Having done the Escalante Route before, I knew what was in store and definitely was quicker this time. Heck, I even squeezed in a nap during lunch. While not particularly difficult for the seasoned and experienced Grand Canyon hiker, I actually could see it being challenging for hikers not accustomed to route finding. If you are used to well groomed trails and still get lost, don’t do the Escalante Route. You may die. If you have to Google the word “cairn”, don’t do the Escalante Route.
Anyhow, our saving grace for the day was this storm system moving in that made for a cloudy day and, hence, cooler weather. On that note, looks like we are to expect rain tonight into the morning tomorrow. Hey, I’ll take it. Knowing how hot the Tonto can get, I embrace rain and cooler weather.
Once getting off the Escalante Route into Red Canyon and the junction of New Hance Trail, we hooked up with the Tonto Trail, which we will be on for the next two days. The Tonto Trail climbs about 1000 feet from the River and pretty much stays that high above the River, meandering and paralleling the River. We will eventually take the Tonto to the S. Kaibab Trail, where we will exit the Canyon. It was 6.2 miles from Red Canyon to Hance Creek, where we camped after a 18.5 mile day.