The Gulch 2010 – Day 3

Synopsis: Dayhike up unnamed side canyon. September 12, 2010.

Today we would walk a short ways down The Gulch from camp and then turn left to go up a side canyon with no name, to see what we could see.


This pleasant meadow several hundred yards downstream would have made a nicer campsite, but water was a problem.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (192k), full size (803k)


Shortly after entering the side canyon, we took a short detour to encounter this rather nice dryfall.

Photo by Pete Wiringa.
medium (80k), full size (219k)


Kurt walking along.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (153k), full size (653k)


Setting up a group photo. This was one of only a handful of times I used the tripod stick.

Photo by Ben Miller.
medium (144k), full size (431k)


At the dryfall. Left to right: Reid, Sara, Kurt, Kelly, Erin, Pete, Russ, Ben (note ridiculous hat).

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (196k), full size (856k)


We found this disgusting coyote skull. Note that all the junk hanging out of it is roots, not rotting gore.

Photo by Pete Wiringa.
medium (99k), full size (276k)


Travel up the side canyon sometimes involved obstacles.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (245k), full size (1111k)


Travel also sometimes involved some of us (e.g., Kurt) taking a wrong turn and then being talked into a ridiculous and embarrassing log crossing.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (255k), full size (1030k)


Of course, travel also sometimes involved spectacular scenery like this.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (152k), full size (574k)


Continuing onwards.

Photo by Pete Wiringa.
medium (149k), full size (439k)

After a while we encountered a pool with a small dryfall and slot beyond, which we were able to bypass on the left. Soon after that the canyon pinched into a very nice slot. We continued despite a growing amount of stinky mud, and very shortly the way was blocked by a pool of water. Time for a little backtracking and lunch.


We stopped for lunch in this shady spot.

Photo by Kelly Caine.
medium (123k), full size (326k)


Apparently, people find this photo of me humorous.

Photo by Kelly Caine.
medium (99k), full size (257k)


Russ hanging out with his book.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (281k), full size (1191k)


Kelly conversing with Kurt.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (141k), full size (606k)


Stinky, injured feet. I think they are Kurt’s in the foreground. In the background, I’m not sure. Ben says “they look like girl feet to me”.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (115k), full size (474k)


Pete has a habit of sleeping with his hands elegantly folded like this.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
medium (113k), full size (527k)

After lunch, I scouted for a way around the slot on canyon left. This failed (though when I later looked back at the way back down I had elected not to do, it looked like it could in fact be possible).

Thus, the only way forward was through the mud. Some folks elected to hang out at the lunch spot while the rest of us pressed on.


Entrance to the muddy slot.

Photo by Pete Wiringa.
medium (102k), full size (285k)


The way was blocked by water and seriously foul-smelling mud.

Photo by Ben Miller.
medium (76k), full size (207k)

Some more detailed observation at the blocking pool made it clear that there was no way around without getting in the water. Time to remove shoes and leave them behind.


Onward. This was necessary several times.

Photo by Ben Miller.
medium (64k), full size (164k)

Kurt adds: The choice between “follow the group into the mud” and “stay behind” was an easy one but I wish I didn’t have to make it quite so often.

After sloshing through the mud and water, there were a few chockstones to climb over, and then we were out of the slot and standing in the floor of a normally wide canyon.

Ben adds: There was a spot we had to climb over and Erin missed a perfect opportunity to place a muddy hand print on Kelly’s bottom while helping to push her over it.

We went on (gingerly, as we were all barefoot and the gravel was sharp) a few hundred yards to the next bend, where the canyon narrowed again to another slot. This one was filled with dry mud cookies.


Region of mud cookies, which were sharp and painful to walk on. We discovered it was easiest to shove the cookies out of the way with our feet, creating a well-defined path.

Photo by Ben Miller.
medium (153k), full size (430k)


As we were beginning to run low on time, we came across an extremely slippery mud slope and decided it was time to turn around. But, one at a time we carefully made our way down to peek around the corner.

Photo by Ben Miller.
medium (77k), full size (209k)


What lay beyond was more slot canyon, this time filled with heaps of pine needles. Not so pleasant for bare feet.

Photo by Ben Miller.
medium (74k), full size (201k)


Punching a big mud cookie. This one bloodied my knuckles.

Photo by Ben Miller.
medium (122k), full size (335k)

A trip report first: video! Kelly punches a mud cookie to the extreme amusement of everyone.

Video by Ben Miller


Keep in mind this mud smelled really gross.

Photo by Pete Wiringa.
medium (180k), full size (512k)

We returned through the slots to rejoin the rest of the party at our lunch spot. They could hear our laughing and shouting throughout. Then, it was a short and easy walk back to camp.

Kelly adds: I loved the sense of adventure on this day. It was great to take of our shoes, get our feet dirty, slush around in the mud, climb up over high walls and make it to the end of the canyon. Punching the mud was also really fun.

There was a little time after the dayhike, so Ben and I climbed up the far side of the canyon to explore a little. We found three interesting things. First, there was a dripping seep; after supper we returned and set up some pots to catch the drips. Second, there was a deep alcove in the rock with a sandy bottom and a big pile of firewood someone had left.

Finally, we found a complete, partially rotted coyote skeleton. We brought the skull, complete with matted fur and a nose, back and set it up across the stream from camp to scare people. Unfortunately, no one noticed it. On the last morning, we brought it into camp to push the issue.

For supper, I cooked my famous enchiladas while the rest of the party went up the far side of the canyon to watch the sunset.

Pete adds: Enchiladas for supper were fantastic. I now get the craze.


Ben and Russ admiring the sunset.

Photo by Erin Tatge.
medium (93k), full size (251k)


The sun slipping below the butte which formed the western horizon.

Photo by Pete Wiringa.
medium (60k), full size (172k)

Please continue reading on Day 4.

Copyright © 1999-2013 Reid Priedhorsky. Last modified: 2011-06-04 16:38 EDT. Disclaimer.