Memories from November 8, 2018.
Today was mostly spent hiking the Escalante Route to connect the Beamer and Tonto Trails. It started with a really beautiful climb up a hill with intensely green ground cover on red, sandy soil.
The Escalante probably had more moments where I was worried about losing my footing and sliding over a ledge than the Beamer did, its just that the ledges were lower through still plenty high to kill you.
75 Mile Creek had some really great coloring and after walking it’s rim away front the Colorado, you get to walk back through its narrows.
It was in these narrows that I met a 60+ year old who was out for a solo hike. It was about lunch and we got to talking and eventually decided to hike past Papagos together since there’s supposed to be some climbing and sketchy descending in that short stretch. The NPS description mentions a haul line for solo hikers and I’d rigged one preemptively this morning. My retired companion, however, didn’t have use for one and so being half his age with half the pack weight, neither did I. It’s good to have role models.
We parted ways at Red Canyon because I had more miles to stay in itinerary but before leaving, he mentioned having run across the “lone survivor” of a party of five who had been hiking the Beamer Trail the day before. They’d been forced to divert onto a very sketchy high water alternate (sounds familiar). Two bailed out at that point. One took a serious knee injury and got helivac’d and another rode along because he’d had enough. It’s a good reminder that it’s really easy for things to go wrong in the Grand Canyon and not very easy to self evacuate when they do.