Hance-Escalante-Tanner Trip - Day 3
We left Cardenas beach and hiked leisurely to the foot of the Tanner trail. We did the three miles in and hour and a half. The plan was to continue another half mile beyond the trail, find a spot to camp and spend the day resting and leisurely exploring the area.
On the next day we would hike nine and one-half miles to the rim and make the hour and a half drive home. Julie would get back from Albuquerque by mid afternoon so I thought we would leave about 5 AM and be home by 4 PM.
Todd had some responsibilities and wanted to get in early so we changed our plans. Rather than spend another night we decided to fill up with water and climb out that day knowing we would get home late.
We took a break of over an hour, Todd cooked a meal and we filtered water then started the climb. The lower section wasn't bad. The grade was fairly reasonable and the tread wasn't too loose. In the early afternoon we found an overhang that offered some shade so we stopped and I cooked a meal then we resumed the climb. It began to get more steep and more difficult.
It took us about 4 hours to climb 4 miles. At this point the trail changes and follows the contour of the land for three miles that, according to the literature, "present the only reasonably civilized hiking to be found along the entire route." I felt good and took the lead. It was getting late in the day and we needed to increase the pace. There were few obstacles and it was possible to stretch out my stride. We completed the three miles in one hour.
The final two miles held the real challenge. I had read that rock slides had covered the trail in places forcing hikers to improvise. It seemed like most of the trail was covered by slides. The GPS indicated we were only eight-tenths of a mile straight line from where we parked but we had to climb 1,800 feet by two miles of some horrible trail. Many of the steps in slide areas were two feet high.
Two hours later in the dark we made the top. Twelve miles in twelve hours with ample breaks.
But, the fun isn't over. Next Friday begins April's second backpacking trip.