i had been to this area a couple of months previously, but the group i was with that time did not reach the cave house. this time, we parked our cars and the heavens parted and glory be - an angel, in the form of a well-cairned route/trail/super-highway. we followed the route and it took us straight down to a snake!
i backed up - up the canyon for a few feet and took out my camera. there's no way i could pass this by - for some reason, it isn't very often that i run across buzzworms while hiking. was it a warning? this one was guarding the opening to the canyon.
no reason to worry, for as soon as we skirted past the venomous beast, we went from desert to a lush, tropical canyon, filled with flowers! (oh yeah, and poison ivy) behold! what a fantastic day.
once we were in the canyon, there were no more cairns to speak of, and not much of a route, either. it was smooth going though, across the crystal clear stream a few dozen times. at one point, we did see a couple of cairns, which took us up a crazy scree slope - we went up about 100 feet or so before we figured out that this couldn't be the way (what were those cairns for? to mark redroxx's "hard way" route?
). we headed back down and continued on the easy course, and came to our destination: the cave house.
the only reason to leave this canyon is that i neglected to bring beers down with me. the vehicles and the ice cold beverages were up top, so we trudged back up, no rattlers in sight.