The Planned Hike
Since bailing out on our
at Lower West Clear Creek, Mike and I had been planning on going back
to finish this hike. This time we made sure we had three days to hike it in,
and took bigger pack floats. However, true to form, this hike quickly
wreaked havoc on our plans.
We learned from our mistakes on our first attempt, and took
a full day of vacation so we had 3 full days plus a bit to do
this hike. We also got much larger floats for our packs.
Mike got a larger innertube, I packed 2 pool floats.
--one as a backup. We headed out early Thursday afternoon,
intending to leave Mike's car at Bull Pen Ranch Campground
and take my truck upstream and drop into the canyon that evening.
This would leave us Friday, Saturday and Sunday to do the hike.
Reality strikes again
We made it to Bull Pen Ranch without incident, then while Mike
was moving gear from his vehicle to mine, he realized the
person who had borrowed his tent had not put the poles back in.
This wasn't a major problem as the weather was forecast to be
clear all weekend -- despite the beginning of monsoon season in AZ.
A more serious problem arrived when my truck's battery fell victim
to two summers in AZ and died. We were forced to head back to
Camp Verde and eventually Cottonwood to get a new battery. This
quickly took over 3 hours of our schedule. We got a new batter,
stopped for dinner, took Mike's SUV back to Bull Pen Ranch,
and tried to find the top of our hike in the dark. The plan for
being 1+ hour down the canyon that night was toast. We found the
turnoff from 260 to FR144 in the dark, but as the roads got
rougher we decided to wait until morning when we could see. We crashed
by the truck around 9:30.
I'm typing this in October, four months after the hike, so some things
have gotten fuzzy. Between my notes I took during the hike, the GPS
log and Mike checking me, things should be pretty accurrate. However,
there are likely to be a few errors, especially on the later sections.
I've tried to put in as many details, landmarks, etc as possible along with
when we passed them. There are a
lot of easily identifiable features on this hike, and why nobody else seems
to have bothered to note them puzzles me. Hopefully, including them
will not only help others know where they are in the canyon, but how they
are doing on time.
When I talk about wading through a pool, I'm not talking about getting
your feet wet. I'm talking about places where you're at least
picking your pack up (and often holding it on top of your head)
to keep it from getting wet. Swims are just that-- you've got your
pack on a float and your feet can't touch the bottom. A Teabag is
where your pack might get wet if you make a bad step
or don't hold it up, probably waist deep water.
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