March 7, 2008
I left the Canyon for the winter of 2008-09, returning home to Pennsylvania for a brief spell from November through February.
This winter marked the height of the “financial crisis” of the time. So while in Pennsylvania, among other things, I was able to purchase a vehicle at a bargain price, which significantly enhanced my capacity for adventures in 2009.
From late February through early March I plotted a meandering road trip. It brought me from Pennsylvania through the southern tier of the US to Grand Canyon. Memorable stops included the Everglades National Park, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Jack Daniels Distillery, Nashville, Chaco Canyon, Durango, and a return through Monument Valley.
Anyway, I set out to hike Dripping Springs for my first Canyon hike of 2009. The Hermit Road reconstruction project (aka 2008’s nemesis in regard to my access) was now a thing of the past, so I was eager to do this notable day hike.
Dripping Springs is known as quieter day hike (6 miles round trip) that doesn’t plunge far into the greater Grand Canyon. It’s even touted as being doable in mid-summer due to its higher-than-usual elevation and northern exposure.
The upper stretch of the Hermit Trail had some patches of snow, but nothing especially significant. The remains of last winter’s snowstorms accounted for my first sight of snow at the Grand Canyon.
For reasons lost to memory, I used a crappy pocket camera on this hike instead of my usual Nikon D40.
Approaching the site of Dripping Springs – you can see a thin stain in the middle of the cliff face where the water comes down.
The site was true to its name – simply a small, constant drip, and not very exciting. There were some older growth trees along the side trail. They were a pleasure, but I was a little early in my Canyon hiking experience to really appreciate them.
On the way back to the rim, I did a little off-trail exploring and discovered some rusty garbage sprawled about. I think it dates back to the Sante Fe railroad’s operation here, which ceased around 1930.
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