Sunset was a dud last night, but the sunrise this morning is pretty good.  The strong wind blew sand everywhere last night, including all in my sleeping bag laying out in the open.  I knew I should have put up my tent.  We get around fairly early and leave at 8:00.  The trail heads to the west beside the beach for some time before starting a climb through a boulder field.

Sunrise on day five
4-3-2007 @ 6:04
Hance Rapids
4-3-2007 @ 8:06
Trail west out of Hance Rapids
4-3-2007 @ 8:09

     This is another good day for finding plant life.  It has gotten better each day.

4-3-2007 @ 9:17
Cactus in bloom
4-3-2007 @ 9:58
4-3-2007 @ 11:47
Century plant
4-3-2007 @ 12:49
Beehive cactus
4-3-2007 @ 1:02
Claret cup cactus
4-3-2007 @ 2:03

     The climb up to the Tonto platform is tougher than I expected and this boulder field seems to go on forever.  After passing one narrow section near the top, we eventually make the turn into Mineral Canyon headed south and the trail gets considerably easier.


Trail west out of Hance Rapids
4-3-2007 @ 9:21
Southbound in Mineral Canyon
4-3-2007 @ 9:35

     It is also a lot farther through this section of Mineral Canyon than I thought it would be.  We drop down a bit at the south end and stop for lunch.  We then begin a steep climb for quite a while to the west until crossing a ridge, passing by Ayer Point, named for the first white woman to enter the Grand Canyon, and finally turning south toward Hance Creek.  I certainly expected to be farther than this by now.

Mineral Canyon looking north
4-3-2007 @ 10:28
Mineral Canyon looking south
4-3-2007 @ 10:28
Ayer Point
4-3-2007 @ 12:49

     The sun is very hot this afternoon and we are walking right into it.  I can't imagine hiking this section any later in the year due to the extreme heat.  I normally carry enough powdered Gatorade to make four quarts in addition to the two quarts I start out with.  However, on this trip, I only brought enough powder for two quarts, which I used several days ago.  I won't make that mistake again.  I was hoping this would be an easy day, but that is not happening.  We finally see trees, which must be growing at Hance Creek.  A few more drainages to traverse and we drop down into the creek from the southeast side.  Art and I filter water from the creek, sit in the shade, eat salt, and drink a lot.  We are both pretty dehydrated.  For the fifth day in a row, we are completely exhausted. 

Approaching Hance Creek
4-3-2007 @ 2:27
Hance Creek
4-3-2007 @ 2:31
Hance Creek campsite
4-3-2007 @ 4:21

     A little later I visit a group from Alaska camped down the hill who are doing the same hike we are.  They have built in a layover day here, something I wish we had done.  Instead, we are actually a day behind what our permit calls for.  Tomorrow should be better as we only have about a three mile climb up to Horseshoe Mesa.


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