Dean and I leave Grand Canyon Village at 7 AM for our three night trip. We are going down the Waldron and Hermit Trails to Hermit Creek for one night, over to Boucher Creek for two nights, and then out the Boucher Trail the next day. This is actually a work patrol for Dean, one of the Park Rangers, with whom Iím fortunately able to tag along! We take the pleasant drive through the forest on the old boundary road to a locked gate and park the car. Dean tells me that years ago the Park Service used to let you drive all the way to the Waldron trailhead. Grand Canyon National Park is closed to the public due to coronavirus concerns, so there is no one else to be seen.
Then the trail begins a very easy walk through the forest on the rim passing a bone dry Horse Thief Tank before we begin descending. As far as Grand Canyon hiking goes, descending the Waldron Trail is very moderate. There is plenty of shade and the grade is not too steep. We reach the junction with the Hermit Trail at 9 AM and stop for a break, enjoying all the pretty spring flowers.
We pass Lookout Point, Breezy Point, descend the Cathedral Stairs, and make our way down the steep section by Cope Butte. As we reach the Tonto platform, itís turning into a very hot day. We stop in the shade of a large boulder not far from Hermit Creek for another break around noon. We see some cute hummingbirds hovering around the Globe Mallows.
Dean is photographing the trail signs for work, as the Park Service is considering replacing all of them. We stop for a few moments at the turn off to Granite Rapids to photograph the sign, and shortly after arrive at Hermit Creek. Itís still early in the afternoon and itís hot. I feel very fortunate to stay here during the park closure and have the place completely to ourselves. To be honest, it would be tricky with many people around as there is so little shade. We set up camp under the one overhang in the campground to have lunch and rest for a while. We spend the rest of the afternoon cooling off and relaxing by a large pool in the creek.
Around dusk, some tiny bats start flitting by very close to us as we settle in under the overhang. We sleep out under the stars, enjoying the interesting silhouettes of the Canyon against the night sky.