October 18, 2013
Taking the stove and breakfast supplies down to our rock at the river’s edge, our day starts much like it ended, watching the light change over the roaring river with a hot cup of coffee.
A quick scamper up the cliff above our campsite affords even better views.
The backpack part of our hike this morning is short, just an hour back up the creek to meet the Tonto trail and then another half mile or so back down to the campground.
Hermit Creek campground is similar to the one at Monument Creek with designated sites, a composting toilet and water from the creek.
On this Friday morning the campground has been over taken by a Boy Scout troupe that decided the group campsite was too “windy”. With barely a breath of wind in days, I find this excuse a very poor teaching example. They did, however, leave us a sheltered site at the base of the cliff that worked out nicely.
A third group of hikers arrived much later in the day. Crowded out of the regular sites by the rogue Boy Scouts, they took over the group site and turned the rock formation overlooking the site, with views of the canyon and the creek below, into a cool cooking and dining platform. Now this is a teachable moment.
After setting up camp we took a picnic further down the Tonto trail towards the Boucher trail. The trail leaving the campground was at first difficult to find. Turn left at the group site and head down to the creek. Continue a short ways up the creek until you see the cairn that marks the trail that climbs up the other side.
Once found the trail it is easy to follow all the way to a viewpoint above Hermit Creek Rapids, about 2.5 miles from the Hermit Creek campground with about a 300ft change in elevation.
More pics from this section of the Tonto trail.