Talk about best laid plans....sheesh! The plan was to hike Hermits to Dripping Springs with full packs on to gauge how our several months of conditioning had prepared us for hiking the canyon. Ha! As I found out after hiking South Kaibab to Phantom and then out the North Kaibab - NOTHING prepares you for a hike in the Canyon!
Lumberyard IPA derailed our virgin hiking adventure Friday nite! A good diversion though!! The plan was to leave Flagstaff at the crack of dawn Saturday morning. Well that got pushed to 7ish......not the end of the world though. My hiking partner Matt and I drive up to the gates of the Grand Canyon South Rim with anticipation of starting our first Canyon hike.
We drive over to the back country office to request the code for the lock at Hermits so we can drive closer to the trail. Not. Going. To. Happen. The ranger was adamant that A: no one has ever been given the code without a Camping Permit and B: she wasn't about to start. UGH! I explain my position about what I am doing and that I have reservations at Maswik for the nite - still a no go. She then begins to explain that we could drive down a dirt road to another dirt road (Horsethief road) and take the Waldron trail to Hermits to connect to Dripping Springs. Hmmmm - that had some possibilities!
Off we go.....first we blow by Horsethief, get ourselves oriented and the back to Horsethief only to blow by the correct turn (right by the way) to get to the trailhead. After speaking to the backcountry office by phone to describe that we were looking at a gate that said "DANGER! No unauthorized personnel allowed" they finally said oh yeah - you should have turned right not left at the fork. They musta thought, "We are defiantly going to have to rescue these clowns!"
Finally we are at the gate with .7 miles to trek to the trailhead. So far so good - we hike to the trailhead and begin the slow descent. Soon it turns into a steeper descent but nothing too crazy we think. Finally we are down at Hermits trail - have not seen a soul yet. I am thinking this is awesome!! No people! Little did I know. We trek a lil way down Hermit to the Dripping Springs sign and begin that trail - soon we are about 50-75 yards above the Hermit trail taking pictures....I look down and see an Asian woman walking by with a 16oz empty bottle of water - about 5 minutes later I see her son screaming at the top of his lungs MOM! He too has an empty 16 oz water bottle - WTF people!!!! Maybe they couldn't read English but I just have to believe that signs were prevalent at the Hermits TH about water and the like.
Some people do not get it. At any rate we then venture along the Dripping Springs trail - very cool how it sorta curves its way thru two deep canyon walls to get around to the Spring. We meet a hiking party with 8 people. In the party was this elderly woman who looked to be on the verge of death itself. Over the course of the next 5 days I did not see anyone who looked as bad as she did. My buddy and I were very worried for her.
Exposure wasn't as bad as I expected but it makes the heart beat a lil faster if yer afraid of heights. Many excellent pix opportunities as we gazed into the heart of the Canyon. Sadly we made it to Dripping Springs and as far as I could tell - no drips! Bummer!! I did see a sight that blew me away - I am sure the more experienced of you have encountered this but my buddy and I were shocked that anyone would leave a used tampon right in the middle of the trail - talk about inconsiderate!!!
Hike back was somewhat easy and uneventful, personally and my buddy agreed - up is easier than down - if only the dang hiking boots that I shelled out so much for and spent 5 weeks wearing everywhere I went hadn't sprung blisters on me it would have been perfect. Again - little did I know. We did spend an inordinate amount of time taking pictures so it really took much longer to make the hike than if we didn't.
So - first hike in the bag - pack weight was at maximum - we are fully confident of our abilities to tackle our next few hikes.....first of which is South Kaibab to Phantom.
Out of all the things I've lost I miss my mind the most.....