Tuesday – November 11, 2014
Hermit Rest Trail
Grand Canyon National Park – South Rim
Grand Canyon, Arizona
We hiked the 7.8-mile Hermit Rest Trail around the south rim of the Grand Canyon today. It was a beautiful day for a hike, with sunny skies and the temperature in the high fifties. We began our hike on the Hermit Rest Trail at 12:00 p.m., at milepost 00.
The Hermit Rest Trail is paved for 4.6 miles and unpaved for 3.2 miles. Some portions of the trail take the hiker very close to the edge of the canyon rim. People with a fear of heights may not feel comfortable viewing the bottom of the Grand Canyon, thousands of feet below, standing only within a couple of feet from the edge of the rim, without any guard rail.
We stopped for a picnic lunch at one of the picnic tables, located adjacent to the trail, and overlooking the Grand Canyon. It was a spiritual experience, sitting there, eating lunch, in the solitude, viewing this enormous and wondrous canyon. The only sound was that of the wind whistling through the canyon and an occasional call from a raven riding the thermals rising high above the base of the canyon.
We reached the end of the Hermit Rest Trail at milepost 7.8, around 5:00 p.m.
Legend tells that prospector Louis Boucher was the "hermit"for whom the Hermit area was named. In actuality he operated his own tourist cabins and was a popular canyon guide.
A visit and rest here is a long tradition started in 1914 with the opening of the Hermits Rest. After an 8-mile buggy ride, visitors would be greeted by the resident caretaker and offered a refreshing drink to clear the dust from their throat. The smell of mules nearby may have filled the air and smoke wafted a pleasant scent from the stone fireplace. After a short walk the visitors would return to El Tovar, or ride a mule the 7.5 miles to Hermit Camp for a delightful meal and restful sleep.
There is a paved park road that goes to the Hermits Rest. It is closed to automobile traffic. Only shuttle busses and tour busses are allowed to travel on this road. The shuttle busses run every 15 minutes. The last bus departs at sundown. We were fortunate to have caught the next-to-last shuttle bus for the return trip to the starting point of the trail. It would have been a long, slow, walk back in the dark! As Sharon commented, if we had missed the last bus, we would have walked on the road back to the trailhead. All total, we finished the day hiking a total of 11 miles.
Tomorrow another adventure begins.