Photo Friday: Grand Canyon Part 4

Part 1 of this series was up on the South Rim. Part 2 took us down the Bright Angel trail and out the Tonto West Trail to Horn Creek. Part 3 is Monument Canyon and Granite Rapids.

Below the Rim, Days 4 & 5: Hermit Creek and Hermit Rapids

Days 4 and 5 continued the easy pattern of our Granite Rapids day. On the other hand, temperatures were climbing steeply, meaning we weren't going to want to do a lot of hiking during the middle of the day. So on Day 4, despite only having about 4 3/4 miles to go (and some 1200' of climbing along with a goodly drop to Hermit Creek Camp), we chose once again to start as early as possible.

First sun on the canyon walls. Time to get moving!

Back up past the monument we hiked, stopping for a few photos and to fill water bags before leaving the creek.

8:25 a.m. and it's already bright and plenty warm, a harbinger of what's to come.

Out of Monument Canyon, with just one more climb ahead of us.

Passing near the edge of the Inner Canyon, we could look down at the river to feel how much we'd climbed.

Pano from our high point. Hermit Rapids are visible down on the river.

Flowers were getting a little more common, probably due to the warming weather. It was a very late spring at the Canyon--remember that snow and ice back at the South Rim!

Desert dandelion

The junction to which we would have to return on the climb out. For now, we're going down.

Another advantage of starting early: we were among the first in camp (I think the ones there ahead of us had spent the night there), and were able to score the best campsite--the only one with real shade. With temperatures now heading for the high 90s, we'd need it.

Set for bedtime. Earlier we'd both been huddled up under that overhanging rock.

Campsite host (collared lizard)

 Another campsite host:

Hummingbird moth. You can see the proboscis dipping into the flower.

Hermit Creek has a series of pretty waterfalls both above and below the camp. As we spent two nights, we had time to explore up the creek at different times, as well as to hike down to the river. Some of these photos were shot in the evening, some earlier in the day.

Monkeyflowers (mimulus)

On Day 5, with the highest predicted temperatures of our trip (though conditions didn't quite match what we expected, based on forecasts from the morning we started), we decided to go for an early ramble down to the rapids. Unlike Monument Canyon, Hermit has a good trail all the way down, retaining many parts of the route built by the Santa Fe railroad to give customers an alternative to the privately run (and charged) Bright Angel trail. Much of the original highly engineered construction from the Rim down has been lost to time and entropy, but more remains. It made for an easy walk to the river.

Sunrise at Hermit

Hermit Creek Trail

Mica-laden rock along the trail. Might be the Zoroastrian granite.

Mamalaria. Fishhook cactus?

A couple of miles below camp is the rapid. Though there is camping at the river here, I was glad we'd gotten our river night at Granite, as there is little to no shade at Hermit.

Chocolate milk

A medium-large motor raft takes the big waves.

We hung out by the river, finding shade and cool sand under the rocks right by the rapids, until time for 1st lunch. After that, we headed back to camp, knowing we had good shade there and not wanting to hike the canyon in any warmer conditions. The thermometer on my altimeter, hanging in the shade, read 99 degrees before the afternoon was over. We shared our shade with a young couple, who shared a charging cable with me (I had brought a back-up battery and failed to include the correct cable).

Resting and thinking. It's hard to find a better place for both.

Next week we'll be up really really early for the killer climb out of the canyon! See you then--the clouds moved in a bit and made for some great photo conditions (as well as a less deadly climb).

The whole series: Part 1 was up on the South Rim. Part 2 took us down the Bright Angel trail and out the Tonto West Trail to Horn Creek. Part 3 is Monument Canyon and Granite Rapids. Part 4 took us to Hermit Creek and Hermit Rapids, where we finally saw some decent wildflowers. Part 5 was the trip up the Hermit Trail and a few extra bits.

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2023
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  1. Thank you for these pictures. Having walked that route more than once, it revives memories of earlier , younger, me.

    1. Up to this point, the trip didn't need a younger anyone :)

  2. I swear my goal is for next year to have you commenting over on my blog about Grand Canyon pictures. LOL I just gotta email my aunt and start planning.


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