Woke up with the sun, and walked down the road about half a mile to trailhead. There was a dodge truck parked down there, guess I wasn’t as alone as I thought that night, no sign of the people through. There was a trail register which was surprisingly full, I was only the third person to hike it this year, but there was a lot of traffic last summer, looks like the trail got written up in a magazine called Arizona High.
Headed down trail, it was a pleasant walk in the woods going down into canyon, passed Kelsey spring, Babes spring and Geronimo spring on the way to the base of the canyon. When the trail got to the creek, it seemed to work its way around in a direction that I would not assume, but it was the only place that the trail could go. I followed it back for about a mile and a half until the trail disappeared into the bush and I could no longer see it.
In the other direction however there were some really interesting rock formations that you could see from higher up, but were tucked into the trees from down below. Walking in that direction and crossing over the creek again the canyon narrowed into what seemed to be a really neat slot canyon. I debated for several minutes if i wanted to get my shoes wet, especially since I had to climb out of there. I put my hand in the water, it was ice cold. I figured I would probably never be down here again and I might as well see what was back there. So I took off my socks and the insoles out of my shoes, and put the shoes back on my feet and waded into the water. The water ended up being much deeper than it appeared, going all the way up to waist in some places and it was freezing cold, but those areas were short and soon I was back on dry rock. I followed the canyon back as far as I could get until the walls got to steep and smooth to climb or the water was almost over my head. The canyon made me think a lot about Taliesin west, and the creation of compressive spaces, how they create movement and move you along into other spaces.
The hike out was nice as my feet and legs warmed up as I climbed out of the canyon. I was sweating by the time I got back to the truck, so I took my shirt off, and of course was in my short shorts and as it always seems to happen when you feel like you are the only person for 100 miles a couple in a green ford exploder drove by, clearly having problems on the rough road.
I drove out forest road 538 the way I came into the trail head and turned north on forest road 231 towards Flagstaff. It took about another 1.5 hours to get to town. Turns out road was technically closed but thank goodness they didn’t use a real barrier, they just put a sign in the middle of the road, I saw 3 subarus drive right around it. I got groceries at Safeway gas and Chick-Fil-A in Flagstaff and started my drive north out past Mt. Humphry and on to the Grand Canyon.
Heavy winds on the road and a lot of traffic streaming south. At the backcountry office in the park I quickly realized that either camping was not going to happen or they were not going to let me go a distance I wanted to go. I took my waitlist #18 for the next morning at 8AM, with no intention of using it. I found a great campsite in the forest service, maybe only 2 miles from the south entry gate to the park, it really could not of been easier (or more free).