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Angling out of the Ravine
Easy when you don't know
From the Tonto Junction, the Boucher and the Tonto trails are concurrent for the short remaining distance down to Boucher Creek. We arrived in the vicinity of the creek around 10am. There seemed to be no other campers around, and we had our pick of several decent sites scattered between bushy thickets and medium-sized boulders. Most of the campsites were not immediately adjacent to the burbling Boucher Creek.

And burbling it was! Boucher Creek here was a beautiful little clear stream of water, running over a bed of clean, rounded stones. The water was fairly cold, but that didn't stop some of the more hydrophilic among us from doing a little impromptu washing.
Descending below Cocopa Point
Down to Boucher Creek
Remnants of Boucher
We noted the ruins of one of Boucher's old cabins (mostly just arranged boulders, an old fireplace, and a few rusted metal implements) nearby, then set about to setting up camp. Next up was a bout of filtering water, since we were at this point fairly low (after having dry-camped the previous evening at Whites Butte). Pu managed to somehow break the fixture that attached his water intake hose to his filter, rendering it unusable. Fortunate for us that we decided to bring two filters!

As we were prepping camp and filtering, a backpacking party of two coming in from the remote Tonto Trail west of Boucher Creek passed through, heading east.
Boucher Creek
After this, we lazed about a bit in the mid-day sun, deciding what we wanted to do for the rest of the day. Our backpacking itinerary had this rest day / buffer time built into it: Given that we were now established at Boucher Creek, we had the time to take an easy stroll down Boucher Creek to the Colorado River. After a bit of a rest, that seemed to interest everyone.
courtesy CPickering
Water Replenishing
Since we were leaving our food behind (and the rest of our gear - mostly we were just doing our walk with a litre of water and a snack bar in our pockets), we decided to deploy our chain-mesh bags (that we had paid so dearly for in rental fees). It was a very tight squeeze to get four days' worth of food from all six of us into the two bags, but we managed. just. Any hungry rodents were going to have some bent teeth if they messed with our food!

We were now ready for our afternoon stroll. There isn't an official trail, but the idea is simple: follow the course of Boucher Creek down to where it meets the Colorado.
Dayhike down Boucher Creek
Lower Boucher Creek
Pu hikes Boucher Creek
There is a faint use-path in spots, and in others the route is simply along the rounded pebbles and stones of Boucher Creek itself. Sometimes the flow of Boucher Creek's water was above grade, and sometimes it disappeared into the gravel and sand, only to reappear further downstream. The stream channel was much bigger and wider than the flow of water -- something to be expected in a region where a flash flood can turn a little trickle like this into a raging torrent.
Monkeyflower in Boucher Creek
Cathy approaches Vishnu
Vishnu Narrows
The walls around us were made of dark, shiny, wavily-streaked, almost black rock. This was the Vishnu Schist, part of the Vishnu Group - the lowest and oldest rock group in the entire Grand Canyon. At well over 1 billion years old, it is much, much older than all of the sedimentary strata stacked on top of it. It does have a rather funeral-like, somber character to it - not like the bright and colorful rocks of the layers above.

After about fifty minutes of strolling along the creekbed, we arrived at the Colorado River. Boucher Creek's clear little flow was quickly lost as it merged into the fast-moving muddy river water. The roar of Boucher Rapids, which were right in front of us just downstream of where Boucher Creek joined, echoed off the black cliffs around us.
Boucher Rapids
Observing the Colorado
Enjoying the Rapids
We deployed ourselves among the rocks and boulders adjacent to the river, and settled in for a nice long relaxing break next to the river. Jenn and Cathy wandered off to write messages in a sandy beach a little ways upstream, Pu wandered off to explore a dry sandy area a bit further downstream, and Mike and I found some orthopaedic rocks to lay back on. There were no other people in sight here either, as far as we could tell.
courtesy JInnes
courtesy CPickering
Contemplation
Polished Schist
Cathy and Jenn
We had hoped to see some river rafters come by while we were exploring at the river's edge, but no such luck. However, there would still be other opportunities later in the trip to possibly witness some rapids-running.

After an hour or so of relaxed river-watching, we decided to head back up to camp.
courtesy PChen
Andrew at Boucher Creek
Heading back up
Back at the campsite
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[ Grand Canyon 2010 home page | Introduction | Death Valley | Backpack Prep | Backpack Day 1 - Boucher Trail | Backpack Day 2 - Boucher Creek & Rapids | Backpack Day 3 - Boucher Creek to Hermit Rapids | Backpack Day 4 - Hermit Rapids to Salt Creek | Backpack Day 5 - Salt Creek to Bright Angel Trailhead | Epilogue | Video Clip Index | Supplemental - Flowers | Supplemental - People | Route Description- The Waldron Trail | Route Description- The Boucher Trail | GPS Data ]


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