Although my good friend Kyle fell head first and deep in love for canyon country after moving here from Omaha a yearish ago, he hadn’t really done much in the way of multi-day adventures. He’s always up for anything so I let him borrow some gear and we headed out to a corner I hadn’t been to. photo Kyle
I’ve somehow managed to not own a shelter since last September. I’ve been out a lot of nights since then, and not always in good weather (alcoves and ledges have been sufficient so far). Hopefully I can remedy that before getting punished too badly.
How to not lower packs…
Onto the water. Pace on water is still a bit mysterious to me. I had based what I thought was possible mileage-wise on other trips so far, but it was soon apparent that the current was basically non-existant and that we had 32 miles of paddling on the menu for the day.
We considered climbing over Bowknot Bend, but didn’t. I’m all for enjoying the journey, but it was a little hard to stomach that it would take us almost three hours to travel a hundred meters or so as the raven flies…
I knew that the canyon supposedly had perennial water, but this is the dryest time of year–after the runoff and seasonal streams are gone and before the monsoons of later in July and August. We had tanked up at the river just in case and ended up finding a small pool after lunch. After another hour or so, we were stopped in our tracks by one of the craziest things I’ve seen. Out of seemingly nowhere, water just started flowing down the streambed like a crystal clear little flash flood. I’m open to explanations, although I’m happy without one. It was about 95 degrees with no precip anywhere near in weeks.
There was no water when we arrived at the spot the below photo was taken.
Travel got a tricker as we made our way up canyon. The willows got thicker and the boulders to climb around bigger and more frequent. This poor guy was having a hard time getting out of a pool. I gave him a little boost out and was thanked with bared teeth and a hostile screech.
Kyle hit a wall with about 4 miles left. We’d done about 16, most of which were pretty tedious, particularly with 90+ temps and a pack that was a less than ideal fit.
A now-dry canyon didn’t help with morale…
People react differently to facing their physical and mental limits. For some of us, it’s a reason we go (at least sometimes). For some it’s needless suffering. As we arrived back at the truck, I honestly had no idea if this might be Kyle’s last backpacking trip (or at least his last weekend adventure that most folks would spend 4 or 5 days on). He went home and immediately bought a pack, so I guess he’s in.