Grand Canyon Hermit Trail 2018: Art & Colleen

March 2018: Hermit Trail, approx 4000' elev in 8.3 mi

Hermit Trail — fresh trail repair funded by  non-profit Grand Canyon Association, performed at least partly by American Conservation Experience (partly with Americorps). Beautiful trail!

Weather — perfect, 60s in day, low 40s at night. 70 degrees on last day hike out, felt very hot in the sun while we were ascending.

Company — Art is an excellent backpacking companion. 

Overall — very strenuous but rewarding and nearly perfect trip! Hard hike down and hard hike back out that bracketed two easy days between Hermit Ck Camp and Hermit Rapids.

Day 1: Hermit Rest trailhead to Hermit Creek Camp. 8.3 miles, 8 hr 30 min. Net descent of 3812. But my GPS recorded a total descent of 4751, including ascent of 973. Altimeter showed descent of 3900 ft, with ascent of 260.  The splendor of the Grand Canyon can’t be over-rated. The route goes around Cope Butte, and it seems to take a long time. The Cathedral Stairs were shorter than I expected (also on the hike out). Water in Hermit Ck is ample. Guided groups at the camping area. Great stars and moon set in the early a.m. 

Day 2: From Hermit Ck Camp to Hermit Rapids. 2.0 mi, net descent of 520 ft, 2 hrs. GPS recorded 1180 ft descent, and 661 ft ascent. Altimeter 500 ft descent. Peaceful camp, only one other group around. Rapids are absolutely huge and loud, but we camped a bit back from them. 

Day 3: From Hermit Rapids to Hermit Ck Camp, 2.0 mi, 2 hr 10 min. Stopped to really enjoy the slick rock formations. After making camp at Hermit Ck, then we wandered leisurely upstream enjoying small waterfalls and more rock formations. Preparations for an early start for the hike out including sterilizing water. 

Day 4: Hike back out: 9 hr 40 min, net ascent 3812. Up at 5:30 am, hiking at 7:10 am, at trailhead at 4:50 pm. Weather felt hot by afternoon, we both zipped off pants legs. While hiking we stopped in small areas of shade as much as possible. 

Nature comments: Most birds aren’t back yet from migration, and the canyon is profoundly quiet. As weather warmed, more lizards were basking on the trail. Mourning cloak butterflies and one other butterfly type were around, along with a few small biting black flies. One stray wood tick found still crawling on shirt. Deer or jack rabbits eating prickly pear and other kinds of cacti. A few scat that looked like a predator, plus deer or jack rabbit scat. Saw deer prints for sure. Rodents and birds are supposed to be aggressive about food, but we saw only one squirrel. A raven watched us carefully at Hermit Rapids. 


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