Another trip to the Mazatzal's House of Pain!
Today I set out to descend ravine #4 via the ridgeline. This was actually first time along the ridgeline and as others have mentioned that ridgeline now has a fairly well established route so I followed it to the southside of 6910 to get a good look at ravine #4. The logic behind todays trip was that if Joe had bailed down ravine #7, maybe he got to the far side of 6910 and needed/decided to bail down this ravine #4. Though if it only took me two hours to get here from the Peely TH it actually make more sense to just turnaround and hike the same route back out. So I thought of it like a canyoneering trip and today was about descending this canyon.
Hmm, the bushwhacking didn't look too bad from above and I thought it'd be nice to zigzag the upper section a few times before descending the canyon. Yea, so that'd didn't exactly go as planned...
I dropped in and the bush was about waist height to begin with and I found a recently used trail with footprints heading down the drainage so I decided to follow it. As the bushes got slowly bigger, I came to the conclusion that this is a bear trail due to large square paw prints and low clearance tunnels that required me to crawl in order to keep going... I got about halfway across the drainage and a few hundred feet down canyon via these bear trails when they dead ended into bedding spots. Hmm, it would have been nice to push across to the 3-4 ridge but the brush was thick & way over my head with a vis of 10ft max. So I figured it was a waste of time to try searching thru this junk and started heading down the drainage. The rocky wash a definitely easier going that the sides of the canyon, but it was no walk in the park with plenty of heavy bushwhacking, crawling, down climbing, & rock hopping though nowhere near as bad as what I encountered last time on the side of the drainage. I even lost my oldskool eTrex GPS unit somehwere in there.
Hit a long stretch of untouched territory with not a broken branch anywhere to be seen. When the brush would open up a bit on the sides, I'd take a break and find a perch to glass the cliffs on the sides. Kept pushing down canyon and eventually hit Fern Gully, a spring in that clump of tree surrounded by ferns, with loads of game trails & bedding spots so I wandered around a bit to look for any human activity. Having learned my lesson last time, this time I stuck to the drainage and followed it all the way to the Thicket trail and it was MUCH easier than bushwhacking thru Hell.
The main obstacle was all the pools of water to maneuver around... Eventually hit the thicket springs trail and started hiking the few miles back to the Peely TH and caught another amazing sunset just before finishing the hike.