ALL HIKERS

DAY 4: 75 MILE CREEK TO HANCE RAPIDS

     Art and I are up at 5:00, eat, pack, and start out around 6:30.  We agree to take the well-traveled trail up and toward the river.  After only a hundred yards or so, we are confident our choice is correct because the trail is so worn.   

75 Mile Creek cross-over
4-2-2007 @ 6:36
75 Mile Creek cross-over
4-2-2007 @ 6:36
Trail up from cross-over
4-2-2007 @ 6:36

     We reach a point high above the river and head west.  We can see Papago Creek just downstream.  For some reason though, we haven't seen the cairns that are normally present on most trails.  The farther west we get, the more faint the trail becomes.  I can see another trail far below us and am concerned that we need to be starting down soon.  Eventually the trail ends at a point high above Papago Creek.  We clearly have come the wrong way.  There's nothing to do now but turn around and head back the way we came.

False trail west bound
4-2-2007 @ 7:05
False trail west bound
4-2-2007 @ 7:27

     When we are part way back to this morning's starting point, we meet Daro and Owen, the two guys we first met going down the Tanner Trail.  They have come the wrong way also.  We talk a while, examine my map in greater detail, and decide the correct trail must go down into the creek bed of Seventy-five Mile Creek.  We backtrack to the pour-off.  I just now remember this being the point in some trip reports where hikers have lowered their packs to aid in going down the pour-off.  Why didn't I remember that three hours ago.  I decide I can traverse my way down with my pack still on.  After that, Art, Daro, and Owen successfully make the descent with their packs on also.

Trail down pour-off
4-2-2007 @ 9:16
Art going down the pour-off
4-2-2007 @ 9:17
Art in 75 Mile Creek
4-2-2007 @ 9:59

     Art and I stop to filter water at some pools we find while Daro and Owen continue down the creek bed.  When we reach Neville Rapids at the river, we see the cairn marking the trail up and over to Papago Creek and start up that.  Neville Rapids doesn't seem to be very rough.  Like several other places yesterday, you have to climb up quite a ways above the river before starting to the west.

75 Mile Creek at the Colorado River
4-2-2007 @ 10:07
Neville Rapids
4-2-2007 @ 10:07

     We see Daro and Owen taking a lower trail at the beach headed west toward Papago Creek.  I hope that works out for them because I know the high trail is the correct route to take.  The lower trail is quicker for two-thirds of the way, but then it quits and you have some serious boulder hopping to do.  We arrive high above Papago Creek and start the nearly vertical descent.  Daro and Owen get there just before we do.

Trail to Papago Creek
4-2-2007 @ 10:17
Trail from 75 Mile Creek
4-2-2007 @ 11:02
Above Papago Creek
4-2-2007 @ 11:05

     Art and I have been explaining to them how tough the Papago rock slide is to traverse.  A cliff sticks out into the water forcing an arduous trip up and over the slide.  On our last trip here in 2005, we climbed over the slide eastbound, but on our return, we were able to flag down some rafters for a short ride to the west side of the slide.  Just then a kayak goes by.  Art quickly goes out to the river and begins waving his arms hoping the rafters will stop.  They do, but don't speak any English.  Somehow Art gets them to understand and we all hop in the big raft for a short ride to the beach on the other side of the slide.  It's only one hundred feet from one side of the cliff to the other side, but two to three hours of climbing up and over the hard way.  We wave goodbye to the nice French rafters. 

The nice rafters
4-2-2007 @ 11:42
The nice rafter
4-2-2007 @ 11:42
The troublesome 100 feet
4-2-2007 @ 11:44

     These pictures of the slide do not do justice to its difficulty.  I had to point my camera upward to get all the slide to appear, so it is actually steeper than these pictures show.

Papago slide
4-2-2007 @ 11:57
Papago slide
4-2-2007 @ 11:58

     We walk the three-fourths of a mile to Hance Rapids and rest in the shade.  Daro and Owen are headed up the New Hance Trail part way this afternoon and hope to rim out tomorrow.  Art and I discuss our itinerary and decide to spend the night here.  There simply is no way we could get back on schedule and go all the way to Hance Creek this afternoon.  We will just have to be a day behind.  We get Daro and Owen to contact our wives about our delayed return.

Daro and Owen
4-2-2007 @ 1:25
Hance Rapids campsite
4-2-2007 @ 5:15
Art napping at Hance Rapids
4-2-2007 @ 5:15

     Hance Rapids is as rocky as I remember.  I can see why rafters have a difficult time negotiating the rapids.

Hance Rapids
4-2-2007 @ 5:18
Hance Rapids
4-2-2007 @ 5:20

     For the fourth night in a row, Art and I are exhausted and go to bed early.  We are just going to sleep on the sand without setting up our tents.

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