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mini location map2010-12-12
22 by photographer avatarVaporman
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Tonto Trail: Hermit Trail to Boucher TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 12 2010
Vaporman
Hiking22.00 Miles 4,500 AEG
Hiking22.00 Miles   11 Hrs      2.00 mph
4,500 ft AEG
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toddak
Wow, so between canyoneering & backpacking it'd been awhile since I'd done a 20+ mile dayhike and I could feel it since I was really hurting those last fews miles. :sweat: I did this Boucher-Tonto-Hermit loop last year via Hermit TH on a warm April day and ended up bonking real hard climbing up the sunny Hermit trail to the Cathedral Stairs and today was the day to redeem myself. :D

This October when we did that Royal Arch Route from the South Bass TH, I announced that I'd hiked from every south rim TH but I guess I was wrong since I'd yet to start from the infrequented Waldron TH. ;) In fact you can't even drive to it any more, adding .75 miles of road walking each way to an already long loop though this way we avoid the hour long shuttle ride each way. :roll: We camped the night at Mather CG and it got down to 25-30* but it wasn't too bad with the right sleeping gear, warm car, and winterized bathrooms. The Waldron trail is nice enough though not as scenic as the upper Hermit but it certainly doesn't waste any time in dropping to the Hermit trail. Took two lefts at the junctions to do the loop clockwise and I'd seen Dripping Springs before and Todd didn't care to see it so we pushed on and made pretty good time up on the exposed Boucher trail while soaking in the warm sun & amazing views. :y: You round Yuma point and get equally amazing views to the west as it contours above Travertine Canyon. The trail then drops quickly towards Whites Butte and down that loose & steep canyon to get below the infamous Redwall Limestone layer. We saw the Boucher springs from the trail but must have zoomed past the junction with Tonto trail heading west and kept pushing along the mostly flat Tonto trail around Whites Butte and back to lower Travertine Canyon. I thought that was a weird name to give to a dry canyon until I saw the dry falls with massive travertine build-up that's mostly dried up and broken thru in the middle. Though there appeared to be some seepage in the lower section with moss growing on the side of it. :) Enjoyed loads of amazing views while pushing on to the amazing Hermit Creek. There's only a handful of campsites in the Grand Canyon I deem backpack worthy and this is definitely one of them. :D Todd had the good idea of skipping the quick way out and we rock hopped & bushwhacked our way a quarter mile downstream past a few good pools and slides before taking the lower trail back up to the Tonto. It'd be sweet to just spend a day exploring up & down this canyon & playing in the creek! I hit a gel as we approached the Hermit junction and powered up the lower Hermit trail and back up thru the Redwall Limestone via the Cathedral Stairs, which was still slightly warm for a December weekend. :sweat: The new few miles are fairly flat and scenic as you contour along the Supai Sandstone back to the junctions and took a nice break at the Santa Maria Spring. Last time I was here, I was super bonked, hiding out from the cold wind, and praying that I'd survive the day. :pray: The sun already hidden behind the rim and I could feel my body low on energy & quickly getting cold so I bundled up and hit another gel as we achingly powered back up the Waldron trail. We made it to the TH just after dusk and hiked that forrest road using the moonlight back to the warm car and clean clothes. :y: I must have burned loads of calories hiking out of the canyon since I went back for seconds at Wendys. :lol:
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Yea, canyoneering is an extreme sport... EXTREMELY dramatic!!! =p
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