Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Wandering around near the First Water Creek overlook trail

A couple of months or so ago, I accidentally found myself on the First Water Creek overlook trail. I was reminded of what a nice trail it is. The scenery along there is beautiful. I also remembered that I had been on that trail with Lindsey several years ago and that she had found what could be a very nice waterfall when it rains enough. I knew that there weren't any good views of it from above it, so I decided to see if I could find a place to get pictures from the bottom. I tried going out there after work but the sun is setting pretty soon these days. Figures. As soon as the temperature is tolerable, there's no light. I guess you can't have one without the other.

I parked in the shade and never really got out in the sun.

There were nice views of the Canyon Lake and Four Peaks. The air was unusually clear.

After wandering around for a while I made it down to the creekbed below the waterfall. It isn't difficult if you know where to go, but I didn't so it took a little while.

On my way to the creekbed, I found this large tinaja. I was about 20 feet above it when I took this.

There is a very narrow slot hiding the waterfall.

There's a narrow slot that curves and blocks the view of the waterfall from downstream. I couldn't figure out how to take a picture that would show what the location of the waterfall looks like, so I made a short video. I had the camera zoomed all the way out but you still get the feeling you can't see anything. I guess that's because everything is so close.

There was quite a drop from the creekbed I was in to the tinaja I had spotted earlier, so I started looking for the next potential waterfall. I couldn't see it from the creekbed, and I couldn't see a way down that I could get to before sunset, so I tried to find a view of it from the other bank of the creek. This is what I found.

I made a video because, once again, I couldn't figure out how to take a good picture of it. Well, I guess I could have gone there at the right time of day and used some ropes, but I'm not that dedicated. I did take some pictures, though.

Best picture I could get of the arch on this day.

I decided that I would wait until I got some better pictures of the arch before I wrote a blog about it. I took a Friday off and got back out there with plenty of sunlight. As I was looking for the path I had chosen from looking at Google Earth, I stood on a small hump of rock. I decided where to go and as I stepped down from the rock, I slipped. I was reminded of a statistic I had read, that one third of adults 65 and older fall every year. I'm still a few years away from 65 but I probably fall 2 or 3 times a year. I hope that means that I'm doing things that most 65 year olds don't do and not that I have the physique of a 70 or 80 year old. I didn't fall this time, but the palo verde I leaned on extracted a price from my skin for its support. Also, I don't know how I did it, but I got quite a cramp in my right tricep. Must have done that whirling my arm around for balance. Too bad I don't have a video of that. Anyway, I knew from looking around while I was out there before that getting to the bottom of the arch without ropes might be difficult. There was a lot of vegetation in the way. I brought along some pruning shears in case I needed them. It turns out they were useless. I would have been cutting all day. I don't think I've ever come across such dense vegetation in the desert. Yes, it is worse than Pinto Creek. Even if most of the plants didn't have thorns, I don't think it would have been possible to push through it. You would just bounce off. I found a way around the side of all those plants, though. It was steeper than I liked but even if I fell, I don't think I could have hit the ground. That reminds me of something Tim or Tom said (I forget which). They were talking about hunting geese and got to arguing about which one of them is a better shot (they're twins). One of them said to the other, "You couldn't hit sand if you fell off a camel." Maybe it's an old joke, but it's up there with the top 10 funniest things I've every heard.

Anyway, back to the arch. So I found a way around all the plants, only to find myself at the next obstacle. I knew this one might be a showstopper, too. That large tinaja I had seen on the first hike blocked my path. Even if I did wade across it, I could not have climbed up the slick rock on the other side.

Curses, foiled again.

This is the closest I could get to the arch. There were better views further away, but no good views.

The view from much further away.

I was looking at the area on Google Earth and thought there might be some more interesting stuff in other places out there so I decided to put off the blog a little longer. Sunday was another remarkably clear day and I went along the First Water Creek overlook trail looking for a way to go north from the trail.

Do you know who sang "On a Clear Day, You Can See Forever"? I must have heard that song about 50 times during the summer of 1970.

I followed the trail all the way to the waterfall at the end. You are at the top of the waterfall, though, so you can't see it. It's a 90 foot drop there, straight down. It's one of those things I can't take a picture of, so here's a video. I got the name of the trail jumbled at first but I corrected myself. Does anybody else remember when Frank Reynolds was discussing the sequence of events during a shuttle launch in the '80's and he said something about the "solid rooket bosters"? He got a funny look on his face like he suspected something was wrong but he wasn't sure what, and then decided to carry on with what he was saying without thinking about it any more.

You will notice some strange distortions during the video. That's because I made the video with my cell phone camera and I didn't know it had image stabilization so I didn't turn it on so it was really shaky so I let YouTube smooth it out. Well, my videos are pretty shaky even with image stabilization. Anyway, I think it's a pretty good video for a cell phone camera. It's a new phone and I'm still learning what all the camera can do.

Anyway, to digress from my digression, I've always thought it would be cool to get pictures of that waterfall from down in First Water Creek. That's why I keep trying to find ways down to it. It's easy to get to the creek by following Black Canyon down, but it isn't possible (at least for me) to get to the waterfall location from there.

It's easy to get down to that part of First water Creek.

So now I was thinking about how to get to that stretch of First Water Creek. I decided to put off the blog until I tried another route down to First Water Creek. It was an after-work hike, so it was almost dark by the time I started. There's a path I had been meaning to check out for a year or two that I finally explored. It seems to be a dead end. Or maybe I couldn't see where it went in the dark. It seemed to just end at a cliff. Since it was so dark and I was trying to hurry, I didn't get any interesting or even informative pictures.

I was messing around with the GPS tracks for the last 3 hikes and noticed that they kind of encircled an area, with a big unexplored spot in the middle. I decided that I needed to put off the blog until I checked out that area.

It was another after work hike. It had rained that morning and the moss on the rocks was a beautiful green. I didn't see anything more amazing than the usual beautiful scenery (which was too dark to photograph). But now I feel like my exploration of that area is complete. The problem with waiting so long to write the blog, though, is that I have probably forgotten to mention something interesting that I came across during those hikes, like the tarantulas or the area that smelled like a large dead animal or the hiker that was carrying a hammer. Hmm. He was near that dead animal smell. I wonder if there could be a connection. Anyway, there are several batches of pictures below.