Spring Canyon Adventure 2007 – Day 8

Synopsis: Backpack out. 13 miles. Monday, March 19.

Today, the agenda was a grueling hike all the way out to the trailhead, following by driving to Capitol Reef in order to get a jump on the 9 hours’ drive back to Las Vegas. Hence, we rose at first light and were heading down-canyon by 8:30 or so. Oof.


Morning light in S— Canyon not too far below camp.

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Andy and Charles trundling along.

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The cottonwood leaves came out this morning, just as we were leaving... bummer that we could not have enjoyed them more.

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Progress was rapid.


S— Canyon near the confluence with the tributary containing S— Mesa Spring.

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Fresh survey stakes in lower S— Canyon. These were placed while we were up-canyon. I don’t know what they’re for, but whatever it is, I can’t imagine that I like it.

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Lower S— Canyon. The flat atop the cliff far in the distance is B— Point — the trailhead, and today’s destination.

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Lumps of petrified wood along the mining road.

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All along the mining road, we saw survey stakes. I do wonder what they were for.


Approaching the mouth of S— Canyon.

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Descending the prow separating the wash of S— Canyon (right) from the river (left, flowing towards the camera).

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A much-deserved break, at the mouth of S— Canyon. Note: Charles is not flashing gang signs.

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Really big petrified log along the mining trail.

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After crossing along the top of the small cliff via the mining road, we descended into a small draw and headed down to the river. The area near the river in this area was pretty beat up, clearly having absorbed a heavy current. No vegetation was left except heaps of broken brush.


Destroyed vegetation along the river. (Results of last October’s big flood.) Most of these are tamarisks.

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Approaching the crossing point.

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Charles scouting the situation. Much of this crossing was knee to thigh deep, quite a lot more than our previous crossing even though the flow was only about 25% more (140 CFS vs. 115 CFS).

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Once across, Andy and Charles headed on to the foot of the T— Alcoves cleft while I sat down to dry off and put my boots back on. (I had crossed barefoot, while they had brought sandals.)


More flood-hammered lowlands.

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Prickly pear cactus covered by mud!

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As I approached, a pair of turkeys made their displeasure known rather loudly.

We took lunch in the shade of a cliff, and then headed up.


Andy climbing up to T— Alcoves.

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Topping out at T— Alcoves.

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Forty minutes and lots of effort later, we were on top. It was less tricky to climb rather than descend, but it was a lot more physically demanding.

We took a generous break, then proceeded on.


Mouth of T— Canyon.

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Hiking along the bench.

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Our ice has melted a little while we were gone.

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(Here’s how it looked on the way in.)

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Mouth of S— Canyon. Our break spot from this morning is visible: it’s the second-to-last shady spot on the right-hand side of the wash. The mining road is also visible on the left side of the photo, right above the first small line of cliffs by the river.

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Around the corner leading into G— Alcove, Charles ran out of water, and I went empty soon after. We each bummed a little from Andy.


Looking down the river. Indeed, that’s an airstrip.

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It was a thirsty traverse. Before Third Cliff, Charles and I bummed a few more swigs of Andy’s water, leaving him just a few ounces. Clearly, we should have filled up at Twin Alcoves.


Third Cliff, looking just as crazy as ever.

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I spent a great effort topping the four-foot cliff at the bottom of a slope which would bypass the ledge we had traversed to get down, which looked very scary. Andy and Charles retraced our steps without any problem or worry, and I felt dumb.

We passed packs up Third Cliff, which seemed harder to ascend than it had to descend, probably due to the fact that I had nearly twelve miles under my belt already.


Disappearing over the rise on the final approach.

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On the Navajo bench.

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On the Navajo bench, I flushed out a gigantic jackrabbit, which emerged noisily from behind a rock in a blur of skidding claws. It bounded away over the sandstone, eventually passing Charles and Andy, who were several hundred yards away.


The final slope.

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The last few steps up the last slope seemed endless.

Finally on top, we were very tired and very thirsty. It had been a good day.


Three tired and thirsty men.

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After brief fooling around, we drove away.

We spent that night in the Capitol Reef Campground, and by midnight the next day, Andy and I were safe at home in Minneapolis and Charles was conducting mysterious experiments in Las Vegas.

The End.

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