Had an opportunity with Brian's day off to finally get the 1st Water TH to Canyon Lake trip done. But since I had done Battleship and had seen down into the Box, I knew that I wanted to make that a destination. I had seen Photosets that had picqued my interest, but seeing it from above sealed it. I figured why not throw this in to the trip as a destination? We had just gotten some rain, so I knew there would be water in case it was warm. Brian was all for it, so we cemented the plans and with the added mileage, decided to do a Shuttle.
Got the Shuttle set up and took off. Made really good time down Second Water and Boulder Canyon Trails to where a small Trail takes off and goes over to the Box. Decision time. We considered going all the way to Cavalry Trail and dropping down into the Canyon from there, but we knew it would add several miles to the Hike. We decided that if we did that, then we probably wouldn't have much time in the Box other than to actually hike it, and we both wanted to spend some time in there and play in the water. So we decided on the shorter route, but I did convince Brian to take a small detour and I took him up to the Alcove at the base of Battleship. The shady, cool cave with the killer views was perfect for a break and we spent a little time just soaking it all in.
We bushwacked back down to the small Trail and arrived down at the opening of the Box. There was nice flowing water and several pools that were looking mighty inviting for a swim. Walked up the Box for awhile, immensely enjoying the views, the water, and the magnificence of the walls towering over our heads. There had to be some serious, violent, earth movements to launch these walls of rock so vertically and so high.
Came to a pool that was going to be difficult to get around without going in the water, but we made the decision that we wanted to check out the Canyon just a little bit further up. Brian decided to try to wade the edge of the pool, but I was doubtful that it could be done without slipping and falling, as I found out earlier how slick the moss covered rock was. I had slipped and just gotten water over my boot, but had not fallen. I warned Brian, but he decided to chance it. Too bad I didn't have my camera on movie mode, the gyrations before he finally fell and half submerged were priceless!
Now, since I'm the type that likes to actually choose when
I get wet, I opted to try and climb around it and managed to succeed after sliding on my pumpkin down what would be a great water slide if it had been wet.
I did managed to stop before the water however....
We both get around the pool and Brian does an inventory to see what all got wet and we take a quick break while he empties water out of his shoes.
I actually felt kinda bad because it took me a full 5 minutes to quit laughing before I asked him if he was ok....
We decided since there was no one else around and we weren't going too much further, to shed the packs before we continued. There were a few small pools and alot of huge boulders further up, but the water appeared to be basically underground from that third large pool, on up, so we turned around after about another 500 feet. Got back to the packs and saw a couple of backpackers coming in. It was the only other people we saw all day. Now Brian and I had an audience trying to traverse around the pool again. Brian tried to go up where I came down and resigned himself to wading the pool again. Somehow I managed to get up the slide and up around and still stayed dry...
The second of the three large pools was by far the deepest and cleanest so we chose that as our swimming hole. Just around the corner from there, right on the Water Flow, was a nice shady area where we sat and ate lunch and relaxed before the swim.
Time to go swimming!
I slid in on my pumpkin due to the slippery moss on the rocks and the water was a little cold. Steeled myself against the cold and went in and it wasn't bad. Swam out to the deep part and I immediately thought I had fallen into the Arctic Ocean!
The water in the deep part of the pool had to be 20 degrees colder than the water at the edge. I didn't even submerge, I immediately swam back to the edge, gasping...
Brian took one look at my face and decided against swimming out to the middle and was happy just sitting in the water at the edge.
There must have been a thousand minnows swimming around in this particular pool and they were not bothered by us at all and were actually swimming over our legs.
We finally reluctantly pack up, head out of the Box and begin our Boulder Hopping journey down the Canyon to pick up the Boulder Canyon Trail. The scenery and clouds were really breathtaking the whole way. The Creek had some pools and a little flowing water for quite awhile down the Canyon before finally drying up or going underground for good. Got to the Boulder Canyon Trail and we are soon climbing up out of the Canyon. We left the shade of Battleship behind and it got pretty warm on the ascent. We finally stopped for a bit, in the little shade we could find, about 3/4 of the way up. Perfect timing for a break too, as we got to watch a Red-Tailed Hawk eating dinner on top of a Saguaro. Don't know what he had, it was very small, probably a rodent. Tried to get pics, but he was a little too far for my camera, but we did get a good look at him through my binoculars.
Finished the ascent, enjoyed some awesome 360 degree views and started the descent to Canyon Lake. We are within 1/8 of a mile from the parking lot and I start seeing Male Cardinals. So I stop and try for a few pictures. I could not believe how many there were. I counted at least 4. Brian continued on to the car and after I finally gave up trying to get a decent shot, I continued on down where he was waiting.
We are driving out of the Canyon Lake area when the Moon starts to rise. It's not dark out yet, but the image of the Moon over the Lake was too much for me and I asked Brian to pull over. He is such a Trooper!
He pulled over and I snapped a couple and away we went again. It was a beautiful drive with the sun starting to set over the Goldfields. Got back to my car at First Water and parted ways. Changed shoes, decided to try a few Sunset shots and Moon shots from the Parking Lot and was done.
I have checked the Wildflower Observation as "Moderate". Although there weren't many Poppies and the Paintbrush is almost done, there was alot of different blooms to be seen. I could have added another hour to this Hike if I had really tried to capture alot of the different blooms that were out there....Saw several Red-Tailed Hawks today, a ton of Vultures, and amazingly, at least 6 Cardinals, 5 of them Males. I had several photo opportunities for the Hawks and Cardinals, but really need a stronger zoom for that awesome shot. This was an awesome Hike, with alot of fun, and great company to go with it. Thanks for going on this one Brian, you added alot to an already great trip.