Hiking Itinerary
October 2015

for Dennis Foster

A detached knob on the Tonto
signals the route into Hance.

October 2 - 5:  Hance Creek and Cottonwood Creeks

Friday, Oct. 2 - Down the Grandview Trail to Horseshoe Mesa.  Take the trail east down through the Redwall past Miners' Spring to the Tonto level.  Where the Tonto crosses the main bed there are campsites and that is where I plan to camp.  But, I may go up the creek to find an alternative if there are others at the crossing.  The forecast is for hot, hot, hot.  So, I may not do much on Friday but get down and set up camp.

Saturday, Oct. 3 - Explore up the canyon to find Hance's old cabin site.  It is supposed to be near a spring in the lower Redwall, with a corral area across the creek.  I will also continue up the canyon to Tse-An-Bida and probably spend most of the day there if it is quite hot.  [I had wanted to go down the creek to the river, but that route is all exposed and if it is hot it would be brutal, so that is out.  But if time permits I might still just wander down the canyon to the exit routes east and west.]

Sunday, Oct. 4 - Pack up and head around Horseshoe Mesa on the Tonto Trail to Cottonwood Creek.  If the weather permits I would like to check out the old trail fragment at the east edge of the Tonto that leads to a route down to Sockdolager Rapids.  But, at Cottonwood, I want to spend time going up the wet arm to find the source of the spring.

Monday, Oct. 5 - Pack up and head out.  I will likely make a detour to check on O'Neill Spring on my way up to the mesa.  Otherwise, I expect to get out at/about noon.

October 9 - 11:  Salt Creek, west of Indian Garden

Friday, Oct. 9 - Down the Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden.  Take the Tonto Trail west to Salt Creek.  Will there be water here?  I hope so.  If not, then my plans will be seriously in doubt.  I will plan to carry a lot of water from Indian Garden just in case.

Saturday, Oct. 10 - My main objective here is to find and follow the old route out of Horn Creek to the river.  So, I have to backtrack to Horn to get started.  The weather will still be of concern - if it is still getting up to 100 degrees at Phantom Ranch, then this plan may be canceled.  As a possible alternative, the little canyon on the east side of Salt (informally referred to as Epsom) allows passage down below the Tapeats.  Jim Olhman says you can follow along here down below where the 1919 tram survey group set up one of their supply trams.  So, maybe I'll try this.

Sunday, Oct. 11 - Pack up and head back.  No particular stops on the way, so I expect to be out in the early afternoon.

October 16 - 19:  Lancelot Point, Modred Creek and Abyss Cave

Friday, Oct. 16 - It is quite a drive up to the North Rim, but I did most of this trip last year.  I should be able to get on my way (totally off-trail for this whole trip) at/about noon.  I have to work my way across the rim area to the descent at Lancelot Point down to the Elaine Saddle.  I expect to camp here, as I did last year.

Saturday, Oct. 17 - Pack up completely ... or just pack up a reduced amount and head down the route to Modred Creek.  I plan to camp there overnight so that I have time, after I arrive, to go up the creek to Abyss Cave.  Last year I thought I might be able to do that as a day hike from Elaine saddle, but I didn't have enough time.  I may still be possible to do as a day hike now that I know the route, but Plan A is to camp down at the creek.  But, I may not take everything with me.  I might leave the tent on the saddle, and maybe the JetBoil as well and keep the pack weight down for the overnight at the creek.

Sunday, Oct. 18 - Pack up and head back up to Elaine Saddle.  I don't really imagine that I would feel like continuing on up to the rim, but that is a possibility, either to return home that night or to just camp on the rim and get an early start on Monday.

Monday, Oct. 19 - Pack up and head out.  I expect to get home late in the afternoon or early in the evening.

October 23 - 26:  Nankoweap

Friday, Oct. 23 - This is also a repeat of a trip I did last year.  Then I drove up on Thursday night, camped along the dirt road a couple of miles short of the trailhead and got a nice early start the next day.  I may do that again, with plans to camp at the creek.

Saturday, Oct. 24 - Head up the creek to the junction between the exit route and Mystic Falls.  I had lots of spare time here last year, so I may go up later in the day, and do an early morning trek to the river first.

Sunday, Oct. 25 - Day hike up to Mystic Falls to visit the ruins and the cave there.  It isn't far from the camp - you can easily see the falls - but there is a lot of flora here that makes the going slow.

Monday, Oct. 26 - Pack up and head out the Marion-Sieber route to the saddle where the Nankoweap Trail starts.  Last year I was on the trail before noon and back to the truck by about 2 p.m.  I expect the same for this trip.

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