I wasn't sure what exactly I wanted to hike this weekend...being one of the few weekends I actually get that consists of a Saturday and sunday...I had other plans way back in the day, but oh well, this was waaaaay worth it!
I had asked 9L for suggestions and he threw out Granite Rapids and coincidently on break my BCO friends popped by the store and we got to talking, they mentioned some permits free for GR Saturday night, score!
I dragged a friend from Tempe along (we call him Tojo), I'll never make that mistake again, you all thought *I* talk a lot...
Good company other than the lack of silence of the trails in midday heat...
At Santa Maria Spring we checked out the outhouse...smells like poo! Passed a group of 6 there, half an hour later we took a break and a few of their group caught up, one tall guy said "Hey I recognize you" none other than our HAZ pal BoscoAZ, small Canyon! We chatted a bit, took a picture and were off again. We met up with that crew the next morning on our way out from Granite Rapids. Nice meeting you all!! Boscoaz hope your daughter enjoyed the trip!!
I enjoyed gallivanting down Hermit, had never been past the Dripping Springs Junction actually! Tons of rock slides all along the trail, is that normal? I knew there were a few reported "land slides" after our most recent monsoon storms, there were 2 or 3 places where "Karens" were (for once) necessary, but not entirely, a brief scan of the few feet down the trail and you'd be right as rain.
I must saw the Cathedral Stairs shocked me, I've seen natural breaks in the Redwall before but ohmygosh I think I'm in love with this one! And when you look east to Cope Butte? You see those hoodoo like figures, the furthest south is like some sort of ivory statue, I must've attempted to take a million photos of our "Idol" as we hiked on past, it was pretty neat to see "Him" from the east side of the Butte as well! "He's following us" my hiking buddy said, not creepy at all...
I enjoyed the Tonto as usual, and to being doing this entire section midday was even better! I was able to go all 9L on Tojo and point out the layers and neat landmarks. I even taught myself a few new landmarks this trip. We didn'tsee any other people until we caught our first view of The Monument, a couple came moseying around a corner and asked us if they were heading the right way to Hermit Trail
The Monument was stunning, the creek was flowing and was pleasant to drink even after the iodine...note to self, invest in new filtering option!
Cedar Spring was dry, there's a spring there?!
Salt Creek was flowing just enough to be able to filter but we were moving across the Tonto so fast we didn't need to stop there for water. But I loooove being in the Tapeats!!
Horn Creek was flowing a teeny tiny bit upstream and I was quite surprised at what a pleasant camping area that is!! I might like to camp there sometime!!
When we passed the Monument and headed down to the River we ran into a Ranger who I immediately recognized as Ranger Betsy! She knew me right away from Volleyball and we had a quick reunion and I collected another photo with a Ranger
Seeing The Battleship from the other side was a fun sight as well! So many caves up there in the redwall on the west side, I might have to look into getting better rappelling gear to check those out someday!
Total moving time 14 hrs 55 minutes