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Deer Creek/Thunder River Loop, AZ
mini location map2013-11-02
42 by photographer avatarThe_Eagle
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Deer Creek/Thunder River Loop, AZ 
Deer Creek/Thunder River Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Nov 02 2013
The_Eagle
Backpack25.43 Miles 8,229 AEG
Backpack25.43 Miles2 Days         
8,229 ft AEG37 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
WOW!
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. :y: 8pm at camp

Day 1
13.73 Miles
1,767 AEG
09:25 Time

Day One Video :next: 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 2
11.71 Miles
6,455 AEG
09:50 Time

Day Two Video :next: http://youtu.be/OoyBs12CT8A

The BEST! Bacon Cheese Burger ever at Jacobs Lake after the hike. (Dave ordered two meals)

A big thanks to the boys! :y: 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!)
Fauna
Fauna
Bighorn Sheep
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light
Some of the trees were beginning to turn

dry Bonita Creek Dry Dry
Saw no water when we crossed - but it was dark

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Deer Creek Heavy flow Heavy flow
Flowing Strong and Clear

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Deer Creek Falls Heavy flow Heavy flow
Flowing strong and Clear

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Deer Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Strong Flow from the Wall! Increadible

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Tapeats Creek Heavy flow Heavy flow
Lots of clean clear water

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Thunder River Heavy flow Heavy flow
Plenty of cool clean water

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Thunder Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
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.
_____________________
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry
HAZ Member
The_Eagle's
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