October 15, 2016
New Hance Trail
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Today's route stats:Distance: 6.0 miles Elevation Gain: 0 feet Elevation Loss: 4300 feet
Ben and I got up at first light, ate breakfast and organized our gear. We then headed to the store inside the Park, where we picked up a few last-minute items. Then we drove to the Grandview Trailhead (Grandview Point), finished organizing our gear, and started walking / hitch-hiking towards the New Hance Trailhead. Once we got to the main road, we got a ride pretty quickly. The trailhead is not marked and consists only of a small area to pull over.
The beginning 400 yards of the trail is flat and goes through the Piņon-Juniper to the rim. After a few minutes I remembered that I still had my tent in my pack. Because the weather forecast showed 0% chance of rain for the next 10 days, I had decided to leave it behind. I ended up hiding the tent in the woods just off the trail. I would pick it up after our hike.
Once at the rim, the trail drops steeply through the Kaibab, Toroweap and Coconino, where the trail can occasionally be difficult to follow. The trail eventually enters the dry wash bottom of the upper section of Red Canyon and continues through the Supai to near the top of the Redwall. Then the trail veers eastward out of the drainage and follows the top of the Redwall (and the lower section of Supai) for a mile or so. Several trail washouts make section a bit tedious. Finally, the trail drops steeply through the Redwall, then follows a rounded ridgeline that parallels the creek far below. The trail finally reaches the bottom of Red Canyon about 1-1/2 miles from the River.
There is often water and good camping here, but it was totally dry this time. We continued down Red Canyon for about a mile. Here we decided to stop and make camp, not wanting to camp at the River where rodents are notoriously active. However, we had to hike the half mile down to the river to retrieve water.
My knees were killing me. I have two artificial knees. The first one was done 9 years ago, the second one one year ago. Uphill doesn't usually bother me, but downhill is the worst.
As usual, I brought my iPhone which I use as a camera, GPS and iPod. I use the iPod feature to listen to music and audio books at night. Tonight I listened to Life's Ratchet: How Molecular Machines Extract Order From Chaos by Peter Hoffman.