This is an awesome canyon, even when simply viewed from the road. Getting in and out is challenging, yet rewarding.
I had seen the waterfall on my Silver City trip back in January, and had been wanting to check it and the canyon out before summer.
My plan was to leave my bike at the top of the canyon at Blackjack Campground, then hike up Black Jack Canyon to it.
After setting up my lonely man's shuttle, I started out at the forest boundary, and hauled butt cross-country to reach the creek bottom (time was short as usual -it was a spur of the moment hike idea). I passed Black Jack Cave, then entered the lower box canyon. I examined a large alcove, before continuing on. Saw quite a few old tires/wheels in the creek bed, that had rolled down from the highway 800 feet above. Also saw an ancient fuel tank from an 18-wheeler. Thankfully not the 18-wheeler itself, though. I was taken aback at the sight of "The Hand" (an isolated, 300 foot tall, sheer walled rock). That is one freakin' big rock! Some sort of large bird was screeching from atop The Hand.
Upon entering the upper box, I smelled something foul, and then a turkey vulture flew past my head. The hike came to a quick end when I reached an unpassable chockstone. It looked like I might be able to climb up it, but I was not too sure about coming down it, if I had to make a return hike. Sizing it up, I thought I might be able to get past it by climbing the steep slope to the south. Tried that, but cliffed out. Defeated, I hiked back down canyon to the Hand, and scaled the north wall of the canyon to get back to the highway. It was an hour long, 800 foot vertical climb up a 60 degree slope of very loose rock. I don't recommend it.
I eventually reached the highway, and followed it east to the campground.
I found my bike again, where I had locked it to a tree, off in the forest, just in time for sunset. About that time I realized I'd left the key to my u-lock in the truck 5 miles below. After a monologue of 4 letter words, I picked up a rock and tried breaking off the u-lock. No luck. Well, my cell phone is dead, and I don't want to be here until 10 o'clock tonight, I thought. Last resort: I took out my swiss army knife, opened the little saw blade, and began to cut down the little tree my bike was locked to. After getting my bike loose, I apologized to the tree, and rode down the highway back to my truck, exhausted.
Enough adventure for one day