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Deer Creek to Tapeats Creek Trail
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mini location map2014-10-25
9 by photographer avatarjoebartels
photographer avatar
 
Bill Hall - Deer Crk - Thunder River - Tapeats, AZ 
Bill Hall - Deer Crk - Thunder River - Tapeats, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Oct 25 2014
joebartels
Backpack31.00 Miles 9,200 AEG
Backpack31.00 Miles3 Days         
9,200 ft AEG28 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
All Aboard!
Dave planned this many moons in advance as required by the asset protection committee. Wally took the liberty to escort us to the land of opportunity. John joined and I knew it would be a fun group all around even if the hike sucked.

Prep
Studied up on the route for well over three minutes and invested an hour packing. Since this was to be a leisure pace I loaded up on food. The mind boggling part being that I ate 98.21% of all of it. Over two POUNDS of dehydrated food. A pound of brownies. No fruit or veggies for two and half days solid. Enough salt to cure a small pig rounded out with three tums courtesy of the bicycle bandido... anti cramp solution not heartburn.

Bill Hall
This sick hike takes you up before heading down into Grand Canyon. The distant canyon views to the west are stunning. Not the normal corridor temples and quick dropping ridges. Rather a sea of never ending inset canyons. The zipper switchbacks deliver you to the Esplanade sandstone with it's patches of cryptobiotic soil.

Deer Creek
The landscape of the canyon approaching Deer Spring is inspiring. The patio, narrows and falls are a must see. Albeit touristy...

Deer Camp
Only got down to 57 overnight. A bivvy would have sufficed. This was my favorite camp layout. No rodent or bug issues. Slept almost twice as much as a typical night.

Party Lights
For what seems like eternity my eyes would roll with the mention of these exotic priced Christmas lights. Seeing is believing. They cast a warm glow around camp. It wouldn't be the same without. Just beware you might crave camomile and conversations about sewing patterns.

Deer Creek to Tapeats Creek Trail
While not an official trail it is one hell of a walk. The west end perched over the Colorado River is therapy in the morning light.

Thunder River Trail
Na na na na na na na na THUNDER! From 2,000 feet you climb a steep 300 feet then level back into the creek. The raging creek is just awesome in areas with a few small falls or mammoth cascades depending on where you grew up. We took the park recommended east route. The west looked well worn.

Tapeats Creek
The two and half off-trail miles to the cave melted away nearly effortlessly. jlp ood and awed the whole way. I couldn't agree more. My favorite was the tall haphazard falls turning up Tap-its. The grand poobah without a doubt.

Tapeats Upper Camp
Another warmer than imaginable night for late October. Camp mice were on the prowl. I didn't give it a whole lot of thought until one crawled up my back. Shook him off with a heebie jeebie move before he had a chance to summit my shoulder. His intentions to run over my arm out to the food in my hand never panned out.

Needless to say, this was not my favorite camp...lol No biggie, just comical. Unpacking a day later I found out one invaded my pack too. It was up in a tree. Which I didn't figure would do much good. The food in my thin canister on the ground was fine.

Thunder Falls
My expectations were high. Thunder delivered. Dave and I wanted to check out the cave. Around the initial corner I wasn't sure where to go. Then I contemplated about the water. Getting my feet wet shot lightning fast nightmares of slipping. Dave's stories of a guy that ripped his leg open in the cave were not helping. My four pound camera was cumbersome and and and... no dice, changed my vote to pro-life and got back around the corner onto solid ground!

Bill Hall Round 2
Great trip and I was ready to leave. Descending on day 1, whatever muscle is on the back of the leg at the outer joint was screaming ouie. Playing pack mule isn't my preferred cast role. Most of the treturous descending was on day 1. jlp was an angel lending me his hiking pole. That coupled with steady ibuprofen therapy got me through the days.

We stopped at Jacob Lake for burgers on the way out.

Even though I was Dave's twelfth round pick after twenty four of his closest friends bailed I'm most grateful I got the opportunity to go on this trip! Thanks much!
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
Thunder near the falls within a week of prime. Down lower through Tapeats is all over the board. Probably something hitting for the next couple weeks based on micro environments.

dry Bonita Creek Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Deer Creek Falls Heavy flow Heavy flow
holding well

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
tiny oasis

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Tapeats Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
We searched. Water gushing like Horton but from every nook and cranny. Heading down it picks up volume quick. Probably the entire side of the mountain indiscreetly pouring out.

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
Just enough to filter for a small town.
_____________________
- joe
HAZ Member
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