This morning we took a very short boat ride across the river to the Deer Creek Falls. Most of us took the relatively easy trail to the slot canyon at the top of the falls. It was quite beautiful (and I’m pretty sure you can hike down from the rim – something to look into). Rob had mentioned the possibility of climbing down into the slot to explore a little but it didn’t seem like the weather was going to cooperate. A flash flood in this canyon would almost certainly mean death.
|Deer Creek Narrows||Deer Creek Patio|
|Deer Creek Patio||Deer Creek Patio|
After a while we got a break in the weather and Rob decided the slot canyon exploration was a ‘go’. I followed him over to the tie in point to see how he was going to do it. The rope wasn’t completely necessary because the route could easily be climbed, but it was there as an extra thing to hold on to and a safety precaution. Rob gave a brief orientation on how to get down and how to (and how not to) use the rope. Even though I was excited to get down there I decided to let someone else give it a shot first so people wouldn’t get annoyed at me always being in front. Big Mistake!
The clod that went first did exactly what Rob said not to do and ended up peeling off the rock, saved only by the rope that he had wrapped around his wrist before grabbing on. Lucky for him there was a big ledge right were he swung to and he was able to stand on it while we figured out what to do. Rob had climbed down into the slot, so he climbed up and started the rescue effort by tieing a series of loops in the rope that could be used has hand or foot holds. That didn’t work very well, so Rob grabbed onto the rope and swung over to the ledge. He tied a rope around the clod in a makeshift harness fashion and then climbed up to help belay from above.
After all the drama Rob decided (understandably) ditch the slot canyon idea and we headed back to the boat. To say I’m pissed and disappointed would be the understatement of the trip. Dropping down into this beautiful canyon would have been awesome. Maybe I’ll have to hike down someday and do it. Rob gave me the go-ahead to make my way back to the boat without waiting for the rest of the group. I think he could see that I was frustrated and the trail was really well defined. I literally ran down the trail and hopped in the river before the rest of the group made it down a half hour later. No more Mr. Nice. I’m staying in front for the Havasu hike.
A brief note about last night: In the evening it looked like it may rain so we set up our tent as a backup plan. The original clouds cleared up, but it eventually rained at 4:30AM. I was well prepared though. All my bags were closed up and all I needed to do was get dressed, toss my pillow into my sleeping bag carry it over to the tent. The rain didn’t last very long though and I probably should have stayed outside. I never ended up getting back to sleep so I just got up early.
During lunch we could see that it was raining pretty well up on Powell Plateau and the wind in the canyon picked up dramatically. Gusts of wind were blowing sand everywhere and it was quite annoying.
We motored on for the rest of the afternoon, hoping to score one of the coveted camp sites (hopefully the Ledges site) upriver from Havasu Creek. Rob has done a great job throughout the trip of keeping track of the other trips on the river and guess where they’d be camping, but the big unknown was any trips that were ahead of us that we had not yet seen. We passed a private trip at Matkatimba Canyon, so that was good news (one less group to take Ledges). More good luck was on our side as we rounded the last corner before ledges and could see that it was vacant. Score!
|Ledges Campground||Ledges Campground|
So here we are at the most choice setup camp for Havasu when the wind really picks up. It was blowing tents around like crazy and it didn’t seem to want to let up. Super annoying, but at least there’s not as much sand at this site to stir up. Instead of writing in my journal I decided to help out with dinner preparations. It was nice to help out because it just doesn’t feel right to let the crew do everything by themselves. Almost everyone on the trip has tried to help out when they could. I chopped and shredded tomatoes and cheese for tonight’s dinner as well tomorrow’s lunch (we’re brown baggin’ it).
I actually did some cooking
After everyone put together their lunches, Rob gave a briefing on tomorrow’s hike. I’m pumped, it sounds amazing. The only problem is that we can’t go if the weather looks bad due to flash flooding. I’ve got my fingers crossed for clear skies. Just as Rob was finishing his briefing a huge gust of wind came along and blew over the table containing our ready to eat dinner food. What a drag. We salvaged plenty to eat, but it was a little gritty. I guess it wouldn’t be camping without dirt in the food.
Time for bed now so we can get an early start at Havasu. I really hope the weather cooperates.