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Bright Angel - Tonto - Hermit, AZ
mini location map2022-03-26
15 by photographer avatarjacobemerick
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Bright Angel - Tonto - Hermit, AZ 
Bright Angel - Tonto - Hermit, AZ
Hiking28.61 Miles 5,816 AEG
Hiking28.61 Miles   14 Hrs   11 Mns   2.56 mph
5,816 ft AEG   3 Hrs    Break
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
The multiple water sources, especially Santa Maria, combined with sunrise views from Plateau and an optional shuttle at the end makes this a really awesome GC "loop".

Bright Angel
Left car in Lot D at 4AM. The ice on the first mile is so grimy and dirty that my attempts to bobsled completely failed. Oh well, maybe next time. Dozens of backpackers heading up from the Indian Garden that made for frequent snatches of conversation. Otherwise this was a quick drop. Had some stomach issues, paused at the restrooms, and... yeah, seriously thought about turning around. Hoped my water plan and electrolytes would bring me back and pushed on.

Plateau Point
First time out here, it's a sweet destination, especially looking down at Garden Creek. Sunrise was great. Water wasn't turned on, even though the GC website said it would be... should have guzzled back at the Garden. Oh well, there'd be plenty of water over the next few hours to filter.

Tonto Trail
The 10 miles from Plateau to Monument was something I had been dreading (sun exposure). Doing it in the morning was perfect, lots of shade from the eastern buttes. Views were great and met some cool backpackers along the way. Think I liked Salt Creek area the best, especially with the campsite being set back from the main trail. Was pleasantly surprised at how many views of the Colorado this trail had... it was a frequent friend, roaring a distant hello from time to time. Anyways, this section just clicked (and I appreciated the restrooms along the way) and the trail was in predictably good shape.

Monument Creek
Tanked up in the camp area and headed down to the river. It was getting close to noon now, and the lack of breeze in the slot, loose ground, and pokey rocks stabbing my feet in different directions got tiring quickly. Granite Rapids was cool, met some friendly boaters, and then retreated to a shady section for lunch. Hauling out was only slightly better and I was happy to get back to Tonto. It may have just been the noontime heat, but I could have gone without this detour. Last two miles of Tonto had amazing views of the western canyon and helped reset the mood.

Hermit Trail
The memory of New Hance still strong, I pushed even more water & electrolytes before tackling the climb. Made it on top of Cathedral Stairs in quick order and then did the Supai dance with a smile. Trail felt a lot like Nankoweap, only less deadly. A quick stop at Santa Maria, and then the haul up the fabulously designed last two miles with minor cramping issues. Rim Trail was an option, though with a bus waiting for me on top it was hard to turn that away, so called it here at 6PM.

Drank 10L, half w/ electrolytes, and pushed a handful of gus and maybe 3000 calories of various snacks. Really, really needed and enjoyed this adventure. Oh, and my phone really struggles in the canyon, so the route has been heavily edited in an attempt to correct the artifacts.
 Fauna [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Mule Deer
 Named place
 Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Plateau Point

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cedar Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Flow is below the trail, looks easy to reach and there's a healthy flow.

dry Fourmile Spring Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Garden Creek Light flow Light flow
Strong trickle through Indian Garden, made for some tricksy footing on the way to Plateau Point.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Horn Creek Light flow Light flow
Algea-heavy and radioactive :shrug:

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Monument Creek Light flow Light flow
Good flow at marked "creek" spur on the west side of the camp. Also, some trickle near the mouth before the Colorado.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Salt Creek Light flow Light flow
Good flow across the rock, didn't try for taste.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Santa Maria Spring Dripping Dripping
Spring was dripping into a full trough, very easy to pull from.
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