2006 Hermit Trail Hike
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Hermit Trail begins at Hermit's Rest, the western-most reach of the tourist area at the South Rim.  To get there, you must ride a shuttle bus the eight miles from Grand Canyon Village.  The bus stops at several points along the way, and it takes about a half-hour to reach Hermit's Rest.  Actually, staying with the shuttle and getting out at the various stops, perhaps hiking along the rim between several of them, would make for a nice day's activity.

 

 

Waiting for the shuttle to Hermit's Rest at Grand Canyon Village.
 
Hermit's Rest Arch with the sign and bell.
 
Below is a 1940s postcard showing essentially the same view.  The arch itself doesn't look much different 60 years later.  But there are other differences.  First, the foliage around the arch is much more grown up in 2006, which isn't surprising.  Second, the postcard shows a well-defined path leading back from the arch, but that path was not so well defined today.  Third, there is a service road to the right of and behind the arch now that isn't there in the postcard photo.  Fourth, there is a lantern hanging off of the arch on the left side of the postcard photo, but no lamp was there at the time of our visit.
 
Sign greeting you at the head of the Hermit Trail.
 
 
Darin descends the Hermit Trail.  He and I brought hiking poles this year after trying them out briefly last year.  In short, they make a difference.  Using your arms to help propel you along does save your legs from working so hard.  We got ours on eBay for $20 for a pair, and they fold up and fit in your suitcase.  Can't beat that!
 
Don't look at us.  Look at the scenery behind us!  We're sorry for blocking the view.
 
With map reading like this, we were lost in the canyon for days.
 
These little signposts were nice measures of our progress.
 
Here we're standing on a promontory that jutted out over the side canyon were hiking around.  Three steps back, and it's a 1000-foot drop.
 
Here's another view of that promontory from a distance.  Darin took the photo while Ben and I stood on the outcropping.
 
 
Here we are at the location of the Dripping Spring sign.  The sign was just laying on the ground.
 
That's Dripping Spring to the right (above) and above us (below).  The dark streaks on the rock overhead are what's dripping.  It was dry enough that the water evaporated before it could drip, so the spring was dry.
 
More pointing at something.
 
 
Here we are at the Hermit Trail sign after the hike.
 
There is a small gift shop and snack bar at Hermit's Rest (and an ice cream bar after the hike rarely tasted so good).  The old building housing the snack bar and gift shop also features this walk-in, apparently famous (see below) fireplace.
 
 
Below are two postcard images of the Hermit's Rest fireplace.  The one on the left is from the 1940s, and the one on the right, while undated, is likely of similar age.  Both are artist's renditions rather than actual photos.  The reverse-side captions are shown below each postcard.

Both show three chairs carved from tree trunks (two towards the back and one at front right).  We did not see these.

 

 

We rode the shuttle back to Grand Canyon Village after our hike, and we took the opportunity to get out along the way and see some of the views of the Grand Canyon from the rim.
 
That's the Colorado River to the right.
 
Darin "struggles" out of the canyon on his knees.
 
Waiting for the shuttle.
 
There it is!