Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A side canyon

I can tell I'm still lacking some stamina just by driving around. I look at all the places I've hiked before and think, "That would take too much effort". So I decided to go someplace I haven't been before and where I had no idea how far I'd be able to go. That way, I wouldn't think it was too much effort until I got where ever I was going.

There was a fire a couple of years ago in the place where I stopped. This used to be a sotol.

I decided to try to hike down a side canyon of a side canyon of the Salt River. I've tried that before in that area (near Fish Creek Hill) and quickly came to a spot where I had to turn back. As I started out, I was surprised at how much water was flowing in the side canyon. We'd had a lot of rain two days before. The canyon only drains a small area so I hadn't expected it to still have water flowing. What I learned was that the water had soaked into the thin layer of soil on top of the rock and was slowly draining into the stream at the center of the canyon. Where there was bare rock, you could see the water draining across it.

I followed this as far as I could. Almost.

Water is draining into the stream where the rock looks black.

Since there was water flowing, I had another reason to go slow. I had to get pictures of all that water. I had my tripod but some of the small waterfalls were in shadow with sunlit rock nearby, so it was hard to get decent pictures.

Small waterfall around a large boulder.

This was nice to watch, but I couldn't get a picture of it that I like.

I made a short video of some of the water.

I hadn't gone far before I saw that I would have to stop soon. It looked like the view might be interesting from further downstream. Maybe a nice cliff that would stop me. I looked down there, though, and decided I just didn't have the energy to do it. That was a good decision. On the way back, I would stop and seriously study two alternative routes trying to decide if I wanted to try to hold some catclaw out of the way while hopping over some water or if it would be easier to climb up 5 feet over some rocks with no catclaw. I have the scratches resulting from frequently taking the easier but bloodier route.

If you look closely, you can tell that there is probably a cliff down there that I wouldn't be able to descend. Well, I could, but that would be the end of the hike.

Speaking of blood, that reminds me of a couple of things I saw along the way. On the way downstream I saw what looked like some coyote skin. Then on the way upstream I came across a skeleton. It was most of the torso of what must have been a deer. If the leg that was nearby belonged to it, it was a deer. Anyway, these decaying animal parts were all in or right next to the stream. That's one reason I carry all the water I'll be drinking with me.

Click below for all of the pictures. If you are squeamish, don't look at all of the pictures.


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