ALL HIKERS

DAY 3: CARDENAS CREEK TO 75 MILE CREEK

     It was a pleasant temperature last night and we are up around 6:30.  After eating breakfast and packing our gear, we say goodbye to the rafting group.  We thank them for all the goodies they gave us yesterday.  We hit the trail around 8:00, climb to the west above Cardenas Creek, and turn south after about a half-mile.  The trail gets a lot easier after we reach the top and head south.  In a few minutes, we can see the Indian ruins on the hilltop I climbed last night.

Rafters at Cardenas Creek
4-1-2007 @ 8:18
Southbound trail
4-1-2007 @ 8:33
Indian ruins at full zoom
4-1-2007 @ 8:47

     The views are impressive in all directions.  Looking back to the north toward the Unkar Delta, we see a group of kayaks headed down the river.

Southbound trail
4-1-2007 @ 9:12
Kayaks on the Unkar Delta
4-1-2007 @ 9:12

     As we approach the south end of this section, Art and I are wondering how the trail is going to get past some ugly looking terrain.  We know it has to go to the west and get over that ridge, but that looks really rough.  Sure enough, the trail starts a brutal climb on small ledges with some mild exposure.  Throw in some boulder hopping and you've got a really exciting experience here.

Approaching south end of trail
4-1-2007 @ 9:57
Approaching south end of trail
4-1-2007 @ 9:57
South trail end looking north
4-1-2007 @ 10:44

     We take frequent breaks as the going is slow and tough.  We have lunch in the shade of a ledge.  After nearly three hours in this section, we finally top the ridge and see the Colorado River and Papago Creek at the far west end and the Tabernacle to the north.  Our plan is to spend the night at Papago Creek.

West view of Colorado River
4-1-2007 @ 12:53
North view of the Tabernacle
4-1-2007 @ 12:53

     The trail now drops abruptly to the southeast and eventually meets up with Escalante Creek.  We later come to our first pour-off that is only mildly challenging.  In a few minutes, we reach another pour-off where we hand down our packs.  It turns out to be easier than it first looked.  We find water in the creek bed and stop to filter.  I discover I lost one of my full water bottles.  It must have fallen out of my pack back where we had lunch.  This is not good, but I still have one quart bottle and two different Platypus containers, so I should be in good shape.  Another half-hour down the trail and we reach a third pour-off that is huge and non-negotiable.  Fortunately there is a trail bypassing it on the west side.

First pour-off
4-1-2007 @ 2:04
Second pour-off
4-1-2007 @ 2:12
Third pour-off
4-1-2007 @ 3:01

     The trail continues its steep descent to the river.  It's a shame to lose all this altitude and then to have to climb up again above Seventy-five Mile Creek.

Escalante Creek at the river
4-1-2007 @ 3:06
Escalante Creek at the river
4-1-2007 @ 3:23
Escalante Creek at the river
4-1-2007 @ 3:26

     We proceed west above the river and then head back to the southwest up the Seventy-five Mile Creek drainage.  Along the way, we see what appears to be a fossilized leaf in a large rock.  There still are only a few cactus in bloom.

Fossilized leaf
4-1-2007 @ 3:38
Cactus in bloom
4-1-2007 @ 4:13

     We finally reach the point where the drainage is small enough to cross over to the west side.  However, in the rush to get things packed for this trip, I forgot to refresh my memory on Escalante trip reports or to bring my Park Service printout for the Escalante Route.  Art and I are unsure how to proceed.  We wander back up Seventy-five Mile Creek looking for an obvious trail, but none presents itself.  We return to the cross over point and find a well traveled trail that goes uphill.  It is nearly dark and for the third day in a row we are really tired, so we decide to spend the night here and start out again early tomorrow morning.

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