It was an early fourth morning at Hance Creek, one of the few lush, vibrant ecosystems in the heart of the dry, arid, and unforgiving Grand Canyon. We had been on the trail-less Escalante Route the three previous days, hugging the mighty Colorado River in complete isolation, far from the usual touristy stops along the south rim and well beyond the maintained and frequented hiker trails that ascend and descend in and out of the canyon. We were in the rarely travelled backcountry of the Grand Canyon.
Our last ascent from Hance Creek would take us up a couple thousand feet to the visually stunning Horseshoe Mesa and then another thousand or so feet to our end destination at Grandview Point.
As we broke camp and steadily trekked toward the base of Horseshoe Mesa, there was a palpable and shared sense of excitement and trepidation. Excitement that we were conquering…
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