Hermit Trail Area
The mini-blogs

Various Short Trip Reports

by Dennis Foster

Santa Maria Spring, two miles down the Hermit Trail.

Click on any picture to see a larger image.

     Writing up a full-fledged trip report for every hike I have done in the Grand Canyon would suffer from at least two problems.  One, there are plenty of trips where not much happened.  This was especially the case for day trips that I took mostly for the purpose of hiking down and back as fast as I could.  Second, it would get repetitive.  How many trip reports do you need to read on hiking to Plateau Point?  Well, just one really.  But, there are usually some interesting features to remark on for every hike, and some unique photos.  So, I will endeavor to fill in this page (and, others) with these short stories and photos.  They are arranged, from top to bottom, in chronological order and linked to the list below.

2012/10/27 - The Waldron - Silver Bell Loop


The Waldron - Silver Bell Loop
Saturday, October 27, 2012

     Every fall, at the behest of colleague TS Amer, I organize a hike in the canyon for interested faculty members.  Sometimes we get a lot of interest and sometimes it's just a few of us.  For this hike we all fit into John's double-cab pickup, which was convenient.  I've done this loop a few times, but always from Hermit's Rest.  For this hike, we were going to try and find a good spot in the forest (outside the park boundary) to be able to hike to the Waldron Trail, follow it into the canyon, pick up the Hermit briefly until we could follow the Dripping Springs Trail to the spring.  Then we would continue on this trail - generally referred to as the Boucher Trail, but which more properly should be called the Silver Bell Trail (so-called by Boucher) - to the rim and then follow the Eremita Mesa roadbed back to the park boundary road and back to our vehicle.  The map to the right shows this area and most of the old roads.  [Beware, the new Nat Geo maps don't show these roads!!  Use the Kaibab Nat. Forest map.]  We managed to find the road that put us at the blue circle and did our loop from there.
     I was using my REI flash pack and it weighed a comfortable 14 pounds, which included two and a half liters of water.  The overnight lows were in the twenties and so it was still quite cool when we started hiking at 10:15 a.m.  The projected high for the day was in the sixties.  It only took us 15 minutes to reach the so-called boundary road and another 15 minutes to reach a cairned junction that we took to be the older roadbed that leads to the Waldron trailhead.  About ten minutes later we passed by a benchmark, shown below.  It doesn't match the one on the map, being six feet higher, but maybe the one on the map is an older reading that was later changed, or vice versa.  By 11:00 a.m. we were on the trail and we reached the junction with the Hermit Trail, in the Hermit Basin, an hour later.
     We went up the Hermit a bit to poke around at the old Sweetheart Spring site, which I had first visited in 2005, and have previously written about.  We had our lunch here and were off on our way at 1:00 p.m.  We reached the junction of the Dripping Springs Trail and the Boucher Trail an hour later and twenty minutes after that, at 2:20 p.m., we were at Dripping Springs to enjoy another break.  A few minutes before three o'clock we started up the trail from here.  Boucher called his trail the Silver Bell, and that seems an appropriate name for this segment to the rim.  Most hikers that are going down, or coming up, the Boucher Trail are likely to be using the Hermit Trail, so this portion doesn't get much use.  It is easy enough to follow, but getting overgrown with bushes.  It pops out onto the rim near an old corral that is mostly still standing, which we reached an hour after leaving Dripping Spring.  [Finding the trail going down from here can be a challenge due to all the scrub oak.]  We reached the boundary road at 4:40 p.m. and were back at the truck at 4:55 p.m.

We parked just outside the park.  

We followed an old road to the boundary road.  As we got close we found this old gas can hanging in a tree.

Benchmark along the way. 

On the Waldron Trail in the woods.

Tim, John & TS at the junction.

A crude shelter at Sweetheart Spring.  We also found a bedstead below here as well as some barbed wire.  The spring was dripping nearby.

TS and John peruse cistern. 

The small pool at Dripping Spring.
The slight overhang keeps this area shady most of the year.  The orchard
would have been below this. 

A viewpoint along the way.

A rest break at Dripping Spring.  

Heading up the Silver Bell Trail. 

Dennis, John & Tim at corral . 

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