My friend Steve and I went out to the San Carlos Indian Reservation this weekend.
We began the arrow straight hike out into the middle of nowhere towards the San Carlos River. This time of year it was pretty dead and ugly on the flats. The ground was also soft and it made the mileage seem longer.
I'd like to reiterate that the way down into the canyon is pretty sketch at first. Many times the best place to put your feet is already taken by a cactus. Steve had developed a fear of heights after a cave fall and this steep drop in frazzled him- So much so, that he unfortunately had to turn back. Even with the sky looking stormy I decided to continue figuring out a path down. I made it without too much trouble but this is not a place to bring a group, or anyone you may be unsure of, or those that think hiking is on a trail only, etc, etc.
I played around a good bit down there but I could have stayed the whole day. I felt a little bad about being the only one enjoying it and was a little worried about rain coming out of the dark egg-crate shaped clouds above so after some tripod time and a swim I trekked back up. I was able to bypass most of the brushy edge loop by doing some climbing near the cliff top.
As we got back to the vehicle we saw the only other person we saw all weekend. A SC Ranger was pulling up to my vehicle and he waited for us to approach. We got out our permits and then an almost comical exchange of cultural differences occurred.
"What were you doing out there?"
"We were hiking a bit."
"Is that like a hobby or something."
"You could call it that. We brought our cameras too."
"Yes sir, we went towards the river."
"All the way out there?"
"What's that in your pack?"
"Which one sir?"
"Is that a tennis racket?"
At this point Steve and I were completely lost and asked what he meant. The Ranger got a little frustrated and said, "No the racquet sticking out of your bag.
"Ohhhh!! That's a hiking stick."
He remained unsure about us until he wrote in all our information and left.
We just knew someone that night at dinner was going to here a, "You'll never believe what I saw white people doing today with a tennis racquet," story.
Back at the vehicle we drove on and found a camp spot in a large shady area and set up for the night. We made a lean-to with the tarp just in case it rained overnight. We did hear a short but fierce downpour for a little bit but that was the only real rain that fell on us all weekend.
Fun camp story time:
Due to the bear poop and tracks near camp, Steve was on edge about them getting us while we were sleeping. He wanted to sleep outside so we made a tarp lean-to off the Xterra rack. He then set up the chairs and table and stuff to block off the triangle openings, theorizing that if we heard something we could jump up and into the X before the bear got us...
We joked as we went to sleep about which one of us would get eaten first. I maintained it was him because while he wasn't looking, I painted his sleeping bag to look like a tortilla and said the last thing he ever heard was going to be the bear saying, "Mmmm this burrito is delicious, but it is filling!"
Well anyway, at some point late in the night I ended up on my back and completely lost my bearings and awoke to a loud rustling on what I believed to be the open side of the shelter just inches from my head, so I yelled as loudly as I could, "HEY!!!!!!!"
Turns out it was just Steve rolling around in his sleeping bag I was yelling face first at, I just got mentally turned around on my North and South. He awoke with a start and did a, "Mike, Mike, it's okay, you're okay!" dad-thing and immediately started snoring again.
Of course it took me a little longer to go back to sleep.
I had told Steve about the bear prints I saw 100yds from camp that evening. In the morning he walked out and came back and told me he saw the three I was talking about. "Three?" I said. "There were only two last night." I checked and sure enough the middle print was new.
We packed up and headed out to another area. The brush was exceptionally thick and we got pretty scratched up but the payoff was great again. Another waterfall stood before us and we found our way down and swam.
T'was a good weekend.