I didn't get many photos this time. I thought I had two fully charged camera batteries, but when I took the first photo, the battery display showed only two out of three bars. Well, OK... that should still be enough. After just a few shots, two bars quickly became one. Hmmm... Well, I still have another battery so I'll be fine as long as I don't go into 'tibber mode'
. A bit later after switching batteries, this one shows only one bar. So... I guess I forgot to charge them after my last hike? Crap! Way to be prepared. Fine. It was overcast most of the day so I wasn't really inspired, anyway.
The plan was to keep my feet dry, since it was a bit chilly without sunshine. There was plenty of water in the creek, but navigation wasn't too difficult... although, once I got into the canyon, I seized every opportunity to use the side trails for travel. Compared to last year, the catclaw there seems to have multiplied dramatically. I was glad to be wearing jeans, but my arms took a beating.
When I reached the cave, I climbed up and took a few of my rationed photos. It's a steep slope and it was still muddy from the rain. I slipped on the way back down and fell backward (better than forward!).
It knocked the wind out of me, scared the crap out of me and left me with cuts, rock rash and bruises. I was using my poles, which kept me from falling all the way down. That's the second time they've saved me from worse injury. Definitely, one of my better gear investments. Sitting there waiting for my vital signs to stabilize after the massive adrenaline rush, it occurred to me that my back pocket probably isn't the best place to carry my new camera. Fortunately, it survived the episode, too.
I was hoping to make it to the waterfall before turning back. The last time I got that far, it was pouring rain and I couldn't take any pictures. That half mile past the cave is pretty rugged and, with this much water, it was taking forever. I was almost there when I came to a thigh deep pool with no way around. I remembered wading it last time, but that was in May. Unwilling to hike all the way back in heavy, wet jeans and already well past my turn around time, I reluctantly headed back.
Not ten minutes later, I stepped on a rolling rock and totally soaked my shoe. So much for dry feet. Moving on, I passed the cave and was doing some kind of body contortions trying to get around some boulders without getting my other foot wet when my GPS broke away from the belt clip. It was like slow motion watching it spin through the air and splash down into the moving water. I hesitated just long enough to recall it's price tag, then jumped in after it. So much for dry jeans. The display was still showing, but I popped out the batteries and stuck it in my pack anyway. This concludes the navigational portion of our program.
Bruised, wet and technologically depleted, it seemed like a long hike out. At least it was uneventful. A couple kids playing around by the dam were the first people I saw all day. For the entire drive home on the Apache Trail, I was just one car in a long, slow train behind some guy towing a boat. Like I wasn't late enough already. When I finally crawled through my front door, it smelled like something burning. I had forgotten to turn off the coffee pot before I left.
*Note to self: Update all insurance policies.