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Boucher Hermit Loop, AZ
mini location map2013-05-04
45 by photographer avatarchumley
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Boucher Hermit Loop, AZ 
Boucher Hermit Loop, AZ
Backpack avatar May 04 2013
Backpack31.50 Miles 8,286 AEG
Backpack31.50 Miles3 Days         
8,286 ft AEG41 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
My 5th weekend trip to the canyon this spring entailed a 2-night backpacking trip on the Boucher and Hermit trails.

We started Saturday morning and made good time, stopping at Dripping Springs before traversing around the Eremita Mesa to Yuma Point. 9L and I spotted a couple of deer and a group of three backpackers on their way out. From Dripping Springs to Boucher Camp we saw no others.

The traverse around the mesa is easy cruising but it ends fast when the trail dips through the Supai in a steep, rocky, and difficult to follow section of trail that drops 1000-feet in .75 mile. After a .5 mile respite, the trail makes its final descent through the redwall dropping an additional 1800-feet in the final 1.5 miles to the creek. We were glad not to be hiking out this way! Exiting via Boucher would deliver a solid 3000-feet of vertical in the first 3 miles!

Anyway, a group of 11 backpacks were piled by a boulder, but no campsite had been set up and there was nobody around. Naturally, we took advantage and grabbed the best spot we could find and quickly set up our tents. The beer got stashed in the river, water filtered, and some time to rest and relax. Unfortunately, there's no shade in Boucher camp as any trees that might once have provided it are no longer living.

After a couple of hours we decided to head on the short 1.5 mile hike to the river. Along the way we passed all the people who had left their packs at camp. They were a college geology class from Indiana and were on their 5th night in the canyon. They didn't have tents and didn't seem to mind us camping near them. They took off for Yuma Point before 5am Sunday, and we waited until much later to begin our leisurely stroll across the Tonto to Hermit Camp.

9L got there first and grabbed the best camp spot there ... camp was empty on our arrival. After a while we headed downstream to the river. The section of Hermit Creek that cuts through the Tapeats is awesome. And Hermit Rapid might be the mightiest I have been to. A real treat! On the way back to camp, we headed up out of the creek to visit the ruins of the old Hermit tourist camp. There are plenty of ruins and remnants around, and we marveled at the history of a cable car taking tourists and supplies directly from this spot to the rim at Pima Point. That would have been a sight to see! (Not to mention, an exhilarating white-knuckle ride!)

Three other groups arrived at Hermit late in the afternoon and set up camp. I explored upstream a bit where a series of beautiful cascades appear, one after the other, until you get above the Tapeats layer.

We saw only one mouse run across our little cave overhang campsite, as he figured out quickly that there was nothing for him to get into. We had seen one the night before at Boucher too, but being well-prepared for them, we had no problem with their brief visits.

Monday, I woke up early, and instead of trying to get back to sleep, I got up and started packing quietly. Kyle and 9L were awake by the time I was ready to go, and knowing that I'm slower on the ascent, I headed out to get a head start. I was at the base of the Cathedral Stairs before I spotted them come up out of the creek, figuring I had close to an hour and almost 2 miles on them. I made good time and felt good about my "lead", so I took a detour out onto Lookout Point.

At Santa Maria Spring, I was exploring the old stone restrooms below the resthouse that I hadn't noticed on my 2 first trips past here when I suddenly heard 9L. I was a little disappointed that he had made up the distance in just 4 miles. I was at least hoping to make it to the final ascent above Waldron. Oh well. Kyle was close behind too. We hiked together for a short stretch before 9L took off for the top. I struggled up the last 1000 feet as I always seem to. But apparently I arrived only 10-minutes behind 9L, and Kyle was there just a few minutes behind me.

We stopped in to say hi to Hippy before heading home with the requisite pitstop for wings and pizza in Flagstaff.
Canyon Tree Frog
Chert Travertine

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Boucher Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Nice flow below camp. Plenty of cool water for filtering or dipping your feet into. Not more than calf deep in the deepest pools.
Above camp, you can hear the flow while descending down the trail, but it goes underground before reaching camp.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Dripping Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
More than a quart, but not quite a gallon/min. A second spring about 20 yards farther up has a nicer pool built to hold the water for filtering. Avoid the one by the sign unless you are sticking your head under the "Drip"

dry Fourmile Spring Dry Dry
No sign of water.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Hermit Creek Light flow Light flow
Refreshing and cool. A couple of knee-deep pools, otherwise just a shallow stream. No problem filtering or taking a shallow dip.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Santa Maria Spring Dripping Dripping
Dripping from the pipe. Trough was full and easy to filter from if needed.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Topaz Canyon Light flow Light flow
Didn't venture far upstream, but all the flow in Boucher Creek below camp was coming from Topaz Canyon.
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