Salt Trail to New Hance Trail

This is a wonderful hike -- one that I had done twice before.  It begins at the head of Salt Trail Canyon on the Navajo Reservation, continues down the Hopi Salt Trail to the Little Colorado River (LCR), then down the LCR to the Colorado River.  From there the route follows the Beamer Trail  to Tanner Trail where the Escalante Route begins.  The first section of the Escalante Route continues to follow the River until reaching Cardenas Creek where the route heads up and away from the River, eventually reaching the River again at Escalante Creek.  From there we continue down-canyon, past 75-Mile and Papago Canyons to the New Hance Trail at Red Canyon and Hance Rapids.

Both previous times I had done this hike, the last time in 2002, the LCR was muddy from recent rains and I was deprived of seeing the Little Colorado's turquoise water and travertine pools that are reported to be especially beautiful.  I was hoping the third time would be the charm.

I left Boulder late Friday morning (October 26) and drove to Blanding, Utah where I spent the night.  The next morning I headed for Moran Point where I would meet up with the rest of my group at noon.  Shortly after leaving Blanding I got a sinking feeling that I left the group backpacking dinner that I had prepared in the freezer at home.  I called Donna and she confirmed that the dinner was still in the freezer.  I nearly panicked since I would need to come up with a replacement in only a few of hours, and I still had quite a ways to drive.  I called Bert who called Marcey who was in Flagstaff at the time.  Marcey had a little extra time and agreed to put together another meal.  I felt awful that I had let down the group.  Thank you Marcey.

I arrived at Moran Point around 11:00 AM.  With an hour to kill, I hiked around the rim taking pictures down into Red Canyon, where we would be on our last night.  Once everyone arrived, we drove to the parking area near the top of the New Hance Trail.  I left my car there.  Bert had hired two people, with two vehicles, to shuttle us out to the trailhead.  It is about 75 miles on paved road to the turnoff to the Salt Trail on the Navajo Reservation, then another 15 miles of dirt road.  We all arrived at the trailhead mid-afternoon.  Marcey prepared a wonderful dinner, as usual.

Trip members included Bert , Marcey , Jim , Fred , Chuck , Tom , Leslie , Mark , and me.

The following map shows our overall route.

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