October 31, 2014
Day Hike to Racetrack Knoll, Then Backpack Up to Esplanade
Click on photos to see larger image.
Today's route stats:Distance: 1.2 miles (plus 4.5 miles for day hike) Elevation Gain: 500 feet (plus 1000 feet for day hike) Elevation Loss: 0 feet (plus 1000 feet for day hike)
Today was mostly a layover day, except for Ethan. He got up really early and started hiking about an hour before sunrise. He had about 12 miles to cover, and he wanted to get home (Flagstaff) to be with his daughter on Halloween.
Most of the group took off early to climb Racetrack Knoll. I slept in until about 7:30 before getting up and making breakfast. To my surprise, Jim had decided not to do the day hike either. I had done it once before. I spent several hours just lounging around and listening to my audio book.
The group was back in camp by early afternoon. We packed up, each carrying a full load of water for a dry camp, and headed up Indian Hollow for only about 1/4 mile before turning into the drainage coming down from Indian Hollow Spring. I had been up and down this drainage several times, and discovered that the ledge above the creek bed, on creek right, was the easiest way to get up the canyon and bypass a large pouroff half way up the canyon. So you don't actually get into the canyon at its mouth, but climb the nose on creek right until you come to a wide bench that is fairly easy to negotiate past the pouroff. It must have been challenging for Ethan to do this section in the dark.
Once back down in the canyon, we came to the small granary with some rock art that we saw on our last trip. You'll soon need to start looking for an exit on creek right. I remembered the route from past trips, but otherwise the exit point would not be obvious. But if you go too far up canyon, no harm done. You'll just have to hike a little bit farther, but the exit should be easier.
Once on the Esplanade we headed for the wonderful campsite we used last year. It is large, flat, and has spectacular views.
|Granary and Rock Art.||Granary and Rock Art.||Campsite on the Esplanade.|
|Campsite Kitchen.||View Toward Fishtail Saddle.||Racetrack Knoll.|