Friday, October 16, 2015

Hermits Rest

Last weekend, Jacob and I took off from Hermit's Rest into the Grand Canyon.  We got off to a later start than I hoped because I had to finish a paper for school and we had to take the bus to Hermit's Rest.  We hopped off the bus and the Canyon lay before us so we headed down the Hermit trail for a couple miles then turned off toward Dripping Springs.  It didn't take us too long to get the spring where we ate some nuts and dried fruit and filled up our water.
Sitting by Dripping Springs
Hiking up to the spring we saw a trial taking off on the other side of the valley so we found are way to it and started to follow it.  Initially we though that we had caught up with Boucher Trail but we had actually found the Waldron Trail.  We followed it for a while but soon found it leading us out of the Canyon and back up toward the rim.  We opted to turn back, realizing we were not on the Boucher, and decided to fill up at Dripping Springs and then turn off on the Boucher.

Climbing above Dripping Springs

The Boucher trail rolled along the side of a canyon for a few miles before it slowly started to descend.  At this point the sun was low enough we were mostly in the shade which was cool in the late afternoon.  The Boucher crested a small ridge, then started to descent steeply down toward Boucher Creek which we could see below.
Looking back toward Hermit's Rest

Jacob where the Boucher trail starts to get rough

Looking back at a wall near the Boucher Trail

Heading down the Boucher Trail

We filled up at Boucher Creek and then set up camp for the night.  Last time we were in the Canyon it was too hot to sleep but this time the bivy sacks were just right.  The stars slowly came out as we settled down in our bags and the bugs buzzed around our heads.  Having a mosquito net for our bivy sacks was key.
Looking west

Looking east
The next morning the sun came up bright and early.  We packed up our stuff, had some oatmeal for breakfast, and headed down the trail.  The trail was winding in and out of small draws and we came around a corner and we looking at a bighorn sheep.  Usually these guys are so flighty, you don't even see them except from a distance.  Anyhow, this one looked up, saw us, and continued down the trail.  He probably got 40 feet from us before he turned off and skirted around us but I was starting to get a little worried and he had some big horns.
Bighorn Sheep

Some tracks in the trail

The River
After the sheep, we continued on to Hermit Creek were we drank some water and filled up our bottle for the push to the top.  After leaving Hermit Creek the day started to heat up so Jacob and I tried to move quickly through the sun as a good chunk of the climb would be shaded if we were there early enough.  The trail contoured along for a while, skirting above one cliff and staying below another, before it popped out on a plateau shorly before the Boucher and Dripping Springs turn off.  At this point we started to run into more people so we headed up the last couple miles fairly quickly as the solitude of the canyon was gone.
Looking down on Hermit Creek

Climbing up the Hermit Trail

The Canyon looming large

Almost out
All in all a great trip to the Grand Canyon.  The Boucher trail was awesome and I was super stoked about finding the Waldron trail.  Looking on a map afterwords, I found that the Waldron trail can be accessed by car instead of the bus which would be a great alternative.  The bus is really slow so driving would save at least a half hour.
A little rainy in Flag right now so I'm not sure what we have planned for this weekend but I'll put up our next adventure when I get a chance.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Humphrey's Peak

Jacob and I headed out Saturday and took off out of Snowbowl on a cool fall morning.  As we headed up there was little frost but it wasn't too cold.  We passed a few people starting the climb up to Humphreys then ran into a guy name Chip who we started talking to.  Turns out Chip is an ultra runner so we ended up talking to him about ultra running, hiking, and climbing all the way up Humphrey's.
At the saddle about 1 mile below the summit

Chip and I at the saddle
Once we got up Humphrey's, Chip had to head back down and Jacob and I took off to explore the other side of the mountain.  We headed over the top of Humphrey's and took the ridge leading down to the left.  If we had stayed right we would have followed a ridge to a few more peaks.  Instead we headed left, planning to cut thought the trees back to Snowbowl.
Looking back up at the summit

Starting to angle back toward Snowbowl

Looking out over the valley
We headed down the ridge until the rock gave way to trees and then started angling left.  We had two ridges to cross before we got back so we tried to plan our route which took us through a couple descents and climbs before we reached the trail again.  Of course, as we had no trail, there was a little route finding and it took us a while.
Looking over toward the Grand Canyon
Making our way through the trees.  We made good time until we found this awesome pipe.
The path through the trees was surprisingly easy.  I was a little worried we would get on some steep loose stuff hiking though the trees because that can be a real pain in the butt to go down.  Fortunately it was all pretty solid ground and the trees were spread out enough it was easy going.  Part way up to the first ridge, we were hiking along and came across this old metal pipe leading up the the hill.  We had to crest the ridge anyway so we followed the pipe.  Heading up we were speculating there would be a spring as there was no apparent reason to pipe water up the hill.  So after some steep uphill hiking, we crested the ridge and continued up at a more gentle grade, where we came upon an old water tank!
The pipe changed here but kept going

The old water tank

The pipe kept going though so kept on heading up the mountain.  We eventually broke out of the trees and saw the pipe continuing up.  There was a grassy area that lead up to the end of a boulder field and thats were we followed the pipe to its end.   The pipe ended in a small hole in the boulder field where some cement was to contain the water and feed it into the pipe.  This was dry so we followed the other less defined pipe a little higher and found water!  There was a nice little spring coming out of the rock and on the shady side there was even ice.  (About 2:30 when we got there)  That was pretty amazing as there is very little water in Arizona and ice was the last thing we expected to see.
The first pipe

Ice on the water

Following the pipeline

Standing near the spring
After the spring, we made our way back down the pipeline to where we crested the ridge and took off toward Snowbowl.  The walking was pretty easy although the trees got thicker as we lost elevation.  After a while we were following elk trails through the trees which would pick up and peter out every hundred feet or so.  We didn't see any elk, but there were two big grouse we came upon in a small draw.  After the grouse, we crossed a couple rock fields, then got into the aspen where there was quite a few down trees.  Not a lot of limbs though, so they were good for walking.  Eventually we hooked up with the Humphrey's Peak trail and made our way down to the car.  We were out for about 9 hours which was a pretty awesome day in the mountains.
Some elk up here all right

Moving along through the forest

The grouse is pretty much int he center of the picture

Looking down the first rock-field

Looking up

Rock-field number two

A single aspen catching the sun's rays

Walking the logs

Almost done