Happy Campers - January, 1994 - Doug && Bill
Doug and Bill entered via the Hermit trail which was very pretty but a long haul all the way to Monument camp. We both liked the view from the lookout point. Also, the canyon started out with fog and clouds which gradually burned off which uncovered the beauty in a near perfect fashion -- it was quite a change going from the cold snowy rim to the desert of the Tonto level. Monument was a very nice campsite -- we had it to ourselves. In fact we saw no one from the time we left Hermit trailhead until the next day at Indian Gardens.
The next days hike across the Tonto was 11 miles to Indian Gardens where we got approval to stay rather than continue on to Clear Creek. Is was really dumb of Bill to assume we could go all the way (it was another 7 miles from Indian Gardens to the first place we could legally camp on the Clear Creek trail and although there was barely enough time but it would have been a real nasty/killer day ruining the rest of the trip).
From Indian Gardens we hiked down the lower BA to BA campground. We set up camp and Doug and Bill day hiked part way up the Clear Creek trail (Doug went further than Bill did). Back at the campsite we had a squirrel encounter where the squirrel jumped up to a pack, ran up and into it, and got into a gorp bag in perhaps a minute. This was an eye-opener as we did not think it could be done. Doug saw this while Bill was napping in my tent.
The next morning, we hiked out the S Kaibab which was a haul but very very pretty. Doug took the picture we both use as our Window's screen wallpaper just below Cedar Ridge.
Doug REALLY liked the first part of Hermit trail. He commented on the silence and the sense of the sheer drop of the hike through the side canyon, and the several really great spots walking through the scrub trees in the Supai layer. However, all the descending that day gave him a small pulled tendon which took the next couple of days to recover and made descending painful for the rest of the trip. He realized later that part of the problem was he tended to use the same leg (left) for big steps down, and that he needed to alternate right and left legs for the big steps. The 2nd day's hike was exhilarating for the first half, but grueling at the end. Doug really liked the walk around Salt, with the incredible sheer drop on the west side. The hike out up the Kaibab was all a thrill. Doug had never seen it before, the weather was absolutely perfect(crisp, severe clear), and our packs were light (we had 30lbs each hauled out from BA by mule). And the higher you went, the better the views got. Each camp was fun, but it was COLD sitting still, and Doug would have liked to have one more thin insulating layer.