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Trip Report - September, 1999 - Dripping Springs dayhike

After 4 days on the rim, hanging out with the Rimmers (people who don't hike into the Canyon) and fighting the crowds at the overlooks and in the village, we had had enough and wanted to get away from it all for a while. My wife, Robin, and I had originally planned to do the hike over to Dripping Springs as part of this trip and then cancelled it because the other members of our party were not up to it. It was already getting to be late in the morning when we decided that we would just go for a little hike by ourselves and we talked about just doing the South Kaibab Trail down to Cedar Ridge - a "walk in the park" for us. At the last minute I talked Robin into doing the Dripping Springs hike anyway, telling her that she has already been down to Cedar Ridge numerous times and she has never been over to Dripping Springs. We were hesitant about doing this because the weather looked so gloomy and also because we were getting a very late start but figured we would give it a shot regardless. It would be a nice hike even if we didn't make it all the way. It would also certainly be a lot less crowded than the South Kaibab Trail.

All of the clouds and fog actually made for a very interesting hike down the Hermit Trail. There were times when the fog was so thick that you could literally not see more than 20 or so feet in front of you. At other times the clouds would lift and then you would be able to see a little further, sometimes higher up, sometimes lower down. The clouds and lack of sun also make for a very cool and damp hike that was very comfortable and easy on the body.

We finally got below the lower cloud deck as we approached Hermit Basin and the junction of the Hermit and Waldron trails. This was a very eerie sight as the clouds were hugging the rim and we could not see all the way to the top of the Canyon. It was like someone had just closed the lid on the Canyon. Looking across the Canyon to the north we could see more fog and clouds forming around the buttes and temples and then rising up to join with the cloud deck above us. At rare times breaks in the clouds decks would line up just right so that a beam of sunlight would come down into the Canyon and then suddenly vanish as quickly as it had come.

By the time we reached the junction of the Dripping Spings and Boucher trails the clouds were pretty much starting to break up and move off. It was now very close to noon and when we were in the direct sun it was very warm.

When we arrived at Dripping Springs, Robin took the opportunity to get directly under it to cool off. It was dripping at a pretty good rate and didn't take long to soak her down. I was just happy for the shade. Unfortunately I had forgotten to bring my water purifier with us on this trip or we also would have had a fresh supply of water for the trip out. We still had enough to get back out to the rim but we would have to ration it for the hike out.

We also had lunch while we were at the spring and rested for about 45 minutes before starting to hike back out.

The clouds continued to break up and drift off throughout the afternoon and it was very pleasant other than being a little on the warm side. We made it back to the Hermit trail in almost no time at all and rested a little while near the Hermit / Waldron junction before starting up the Hermit.

The views going up on the Hermit could not have been more different from what we had encountered on the way down, only a few hours earlier. The white and puffy cumulous clouds drifting over the Canyon made for some awesome views and sky behind the clouds was the most amazing shade of blue.

By the time we reached the rim most of the clouds had drifted off to the north and overhead the sky was crystal clear and a very dark and wonderful shade of blue. It was late afternoon by the time we got back to Hermit's Rest and we caught the first shuttle we saw back to the village.

 


Photo albums from this trip...



Fog rising from the Canyon

In the clouds on the Hermit Trail

View to the north - across the river

Robin cooling off under Dripping Springs

Dripping Springs, ferns

View of Dripping Springs area from the Hermit Trail - without the clouds

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