This one has been on my list for awhile now.
Quite a hike for only my second real backpack trip...
Dave put together one heck of a trip. Timing on the weather could not have been any better with highs in the 60's and lows in the mid 40's at night. Perfect for my best sleep ever on a hike.
For me, this would be an impossible Day hike. It was brutal in two days for me. My hats off to todak
for day hiking this killer loop.
Up at 2am, left North Phoenix at 3 am, stopped in Jacob Lake for some eats (27 degrees) and were at the Monument Point TH, 350 miles later, and on the trail at 10 am at a comfortable 47 degrees.
Pretty awesome looking over the edge and trying to follow the route you'd be taking over the next few days.
A slight climb for 3/4 of a mile before the Bill Hall Trail
drops 1700' for the next almost two miles before meeting the Thunder River Trail
. At this point you are on the Esplanade of the Supai Layer (You are in Sedona Toto). Mushroom and other unusual rock formations abound. This grade is a nice relief from the loose downhill we just finished and lasts for 3 miles or so.
Now it's time to make your next drop. More uneven steepness that test the muscles you don't normally use.... and then you are in Surprise Valley. We take a lunch break under the only bush big enough to provide any shade.
We start the drop into Deer Creek
next. Part way down you start to hear water. Then you come to the top of the Cliff area that Deer Spring is located. Dave hangs precariously off the edge of the Cliff to attempt to get a glimpse. No Luck. When we get below the spring, is actually tucked under a lip in the wall and squirting out nicely. Preston splashes around like a baby bird in the pool.
Deer Creek is a wonderland. Creek, Water, and lush riparian areas quickly change into narrow slot canyon walls. This leads right out to a spot 200' above the Colorado River and Deer Creek Falls. I took a break while the boys went down to check it out.
We started the trek over to our Campsite. We were able to get the majority of our remaining elevation gain for the day done, to the Deer Creek Saddle, just prior to the sun going down. We started the 3+ mile walk in the dark to Tapeats Creek camp. Dave busted out the cairn finder and got us safely across to our camp at the confluence of the Colorado and Tapeats Creek.
8pm at camp
Day One Video http://youtu.be/clUT1sLeQjA
The Second day started right off the bat on the Thunder River Trail
with a 300' climb in less than .15 miles. Tapeats Creek was running nicely and the views were eye opening. Sure glad we did not miss this. The confluence with Thunder River was a bit less than 2.5 miles. We had to cross the creek twice the route we took, but there were options on both sides of the creek in places.
From Tapeats Creek to get to Thunder Spring is a bit of a climb. A little more than 3/4 mile and you are at the Spring. What a site!
Thunder River Spring emerges from the desert cliffs as a spectacular set of waterfalls that cascade 1/2 mile down a steep side canyon to Tapeats Creek.
Thunder River's estimated discharge of 21 million gallons per day (over 240 gallons/second) ranks number 2 for springs on the north side of the Grand Canyon behind Tapeats Spring. Tapeats Spring gushes forth with 48 million gallons per day.
We cooled off and filled our water for the last time. DAve and Preston attempted to get into the spring outlet. No luck this time. The climb out of Thunder Spring was a tease for what was to come.
Across Surprise Valley to our first cache at the Deer Creek/Thunder River intersection, and we had some lunch. Our new friend Gerhart stopped and chatted. He's in from Germany on vacation and this is his 20th straight year in the Canyon. He is 60 years young and was doing the same loop as us, in the same two days.
The first climb up to the Esplanade was as steep as feared. The walk across was once again a nice respite from the steepness. One last climb and we finished just before dark.
Day Two Video http://youtu.be/OoyBs12CT8A
Bacon Cheese Burger ever at Jacobs Lake after the hike. (Dave ordered two meals)
A big thanks to the boys!
I provided the truck and Dave, Denny and Preston took care of most of the the Driving and Petrol. (I think they felt guilty that I had to work on 3 hours sleep, and they all had Monday off!)Foliage
Some of the trees were beginning to turn