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mini location map2013-03-30
50 by photographer avatarTough_Boots
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South Canyon RouteNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Mar 30 2013
Backpack13.62 Miles 3,500 AEG
Backpack13.62 Miles2 Days         
3,500 ft AEG
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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This was one heck of a backpacking trip. Thanks to 9L for setting this up and Chumley for driving!

We drove up on Friday and picked up Larry in Flagstaff. We finished the long drive and finally made it to the trailhead after dark. We sat around the fire, had a few beers with some nice butt coals, and went to bed.

Woke up early on Saturday in no rush and headed down South Canyon. As we descended that first loose, precarious, and insanely steep first half mile I tried not to think about climbing back up it with 30+ pounds on my back. I put it out of my mind as best I could and made it to the canyon floor.

South Canyon is not so impressive at first but as you move further and further down, it turns pretty spectacular. Some stretches are quick to move through and some are pretty slow going and you even get a few climbs not so easily done with a full pack on.

We eventually hit the Colorado which was cold and clear. I could actually treat the water with just my steripen with no sediment problem. That was unexpected.

We set up camp, had a couple beers, checked out out the river crew floating through. Chumley talked them out of a few more beers for us and they headed on their way.

Everyone else wanted to relax a little longer so Larry and I headed out downstream to see the sights. We checked out Stanton's Cave which wasn't anything too amazing and then headed to Vasey's Paradise. Vasey's is pretty spectacular but took some daring to get to. You have to slowly work across a slick sludge covered area that will send you sliding instantly into the Colorado River if you happen to slip.

We hung around at Vasey's for a bit and I purified some water. We started heading back and could see the other three on their way to Stanley's. We decided to wait for them so we could hear them sputter and possibly fall into the river. They finally made their way over and there were no casualties-- although a certain member of our crew really had to be talked into crossing the slick area :sl:

Larry and I headed back towards camp and hiked above the camping area to check out the ruins. There are multiple sets and some really cool petroglyphs to see. We lounged around for the rest of the day. I took a short nap on the beach which was pretty nice and then we sat around with the stars overhead. At some point, Larry realized the camp area was pretty much infested with black widows and much of the rest of the evening was spent watching 9L combing the rock walls for these beasts.

We woke up and broke camp the next day. There were some filter issues getting water that were overcome and then we headed out. The first part of the hike out was crazy steep and in full sun. Eventually we fell into the shade of the canyon and trudged along dreading that final climb out-- almost 1,100 ft. in about half a mile :scared: . We took our time and slogged, scrambled, and climbed our way out. That hike kicked my butt.

This was an awesome overnight and well worth the effort :)
Named place
Named place
Stantons Cave Vasey's Paradise
"there is no love where there is no bramble."
--bill callahan
HAZ Member
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