Grand Canyon


By: John McCully


Our original thought was to go down the Kaibab and out the Bright Angel trail but Ron noticed another loop trip seven miles down river that promised less people and fewer mules. We didn't get started until 2:30 PM, thus turning what would probably be best done as a long day hike (starting early in the day) into a backpack (starting mid-afternoon).

The back country permit office at the south rim of the Grand Canyon closes between noon and three for what must be an enormous lunch/siesta and we arrived just before the noon closing. A guide book had suggested that the Boucher trail was not maintained and virtually impassable. The ranger reinforced this view by quite determinedly trying to talk us out of using it. He eventually settled for writing "strongly advised against" on our computer issued permit. Talking to others we met in the canyon we discovered that he had been quite successful in persuading people to avoid the Boucher trail. In the event the Boucher trail turned out to be steep (briefly) in a couple of places but had no exposure and was at worse only mild class two. Almost any DPS'er would find it quite tame, and 95% was old fashioned trail.

We followed the dripping Springs trail to where the Boucher branches off, then the Boucher to the Tonto. Here we detoured 1/2 mile west to the water in Boucher Creek where we spent the night. Total time to Boucher Creek was four hours. Our packs were both under 20 pounds, with a full pack the time would have been somewhat longer. Only two other people were camping in Boucher creek on Saturday night.

The next morning we followed the Tonto about 5 or 6 miles upriver to Hermit Springs, a popular campground, and then the Hermit trail back up to rejoin the dripping Springs trail and out to the car. It took Ron six hours to walk out Sunday. I took seven, partly because I felt obliged to chat up the various folks (more than half women) I ran into on the trail, most of whom were carrying gigantic expedition type packs and seemed to have come from faraway places.

The total distance was about 20 miles, mostly on a more or less level grade. The gain was probably a bit over 4000 feet. Water was available at Hermit Springs Campground and in Boucher Creek.

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