Despite lots of time around the rim and in neighboring canyons, I’d never been to the bottom of Knowles Canyon. I got in a quick trip Friday night before a weekend of roasting peppers and garden preservation in anticipation of a forecasted freeze on Saturday night. The main canyon isn’t visible until your at the rim. It’s out there somewhere…
It was quite the ‘shwhack in the bottom. Flash floods can make things easier or they can make a mess of any existing game trails and make upcanyon travel especially painful. Shorts and no gaitors was the wrong tool for the job.
I got up early Saturday morning and started hiking in the dark. There was one side canyon that had a trickle of running water coming from it and I wanted to see if there was any hanging gardens up in the alcove at the end of the canyon. I had to hike out enough to avoid the willow-choked bottom that I decided to see if I could get all the way out. The spot I thought would go ended up being a ~9′ overhanging drop with a big rounded edge and nothing to grab onto. Walking below the ledge for a half hour or so eventually led to an exit. Great sunrise views. Next was some easy routefinding following elk trails through the P-J back to the truck.