Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hiking the Hermit’s Rest (Death) Trail to Dripping Springs

We wanted to hike today so that we would be prepared for our hike to the bottom of the canyon, so we asked one of the rangers if the “Hermit’s Rest” hike is a strenuous hike. He said it was a good hike, so we packed our supplies and headed to the trailhead. In the beginning of this trail I was pretty excited because it had steps and rock crawls and it was pretty difficult. We saw some awesome animals and plants and for the first 2 hours or so we were doing well. After that the trail became REALLY steep and difficult. We saw the cut off for Dripping Springs, so we headed that way rather than doing the complete 14 mile trail. We were pretty tired when we reached the “dripping” springs which was a natural spring that literally “drips” continually from a rock cliff. Had it been warm (cloudy and gray today with cool temperatures), we would have gladly taken a “shower” but it was pretty chilly which in retrospect, was a good thing ! We spent about 15 minutes at the spring resting and then headed back up. Wow, this was a VERY, VERY difficult hike up ! I would put the terrain at about the difficulty of the Inca Trail in PERU ! Thank God we only had about 6 miles up ! While I was able to hike this, the rock “steps” were more than half the height of my legs which made this very hard for me, not so much for Rachael. Also we were going from 4,000 ft to 7000 feet at the rim. The altitude definitely played a part. I was able to hike the trail, but not very quickly. Rachael on the other hand kept getting far ahead of me and I had to keep telling her to slow down or wait for me. She was teasing me, but I kept telling her she is 32 years younger than I am ! At one point she was so far ahead that I couldn’t see her. I started climbing what I thought was the trail, but it wasn’t… How did I know? There were all of a sudden no places to put my hands or feet and I found myself on the side of the cliff. I have to say that I was pretty terrified at this point because if I made any quick move I would have found myself falling off the cliff wall. I called to Rachael, who was able to hear me because of the acoustics in the canyon. She came running and as she could see the trail from above, she was able to guide me back on to the trail. I was SO relieved and couldn’t understand how I took the wrong turn. We kept hiking up, I was very tired and sore, and at this point, so was Rachael. We has started at about 9:30am and now it was 4 ! Finally we made it back to the top and took the shuttle to the Lodge. We were so hungry we went to the restaurant in our hiking gear ! No worries, lots of other people were there dressed similarly. After dinner I went to speak to a ranger to plan for tomorrow’s hike to the canyon bottom. I asked which trail we should take down and which trail we should take up and told him that we had just hiked the Hermit’s Rest trail. He told us that the Hermit’s trail was very difficult and not as popular as the other trails. He assured me that if we had done that trail, we were “good to go” for hiking the South Kabob Trail to the bottom of the canyon. We limped to our cabin, took hot baths, and went to sleep !

Today’s pictures at :

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