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South Canyon Route
26 Photosets

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mini location map2006-03-04
9 by photographer avatarHoffmaster
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South Canyon RouteNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Mar 04 2006
Backpack13.00 Miles 2,588 AEG
Backpack13.00 Miles1 Day   7 Hrs   10 Mns   
2,588 ft AEG
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Linked none no linked trail guides
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James, Mike and I arrived at the South Canyon trailhead Friday night admist hurricane strength winds. James and I settled in for a restless night in the bed of his truck listening to the wind howl and each other snoring. Mike braved the elements, sleeping on the ground next to the truck, the hood of his sleeping bag cinched up leaving a hole about the size of a dime.

The next morning we were glad to see that Mike hadn't blown away during the night. We ate breakfast and started down the trail. And down we went; cascading to the canyon floor in about a mile. Once on the canyon floor, we boulder hopped our way down the dry stream bed. The going was slow for me; I injured my right ankle the weekend before in a bouldering fall at Joshua Tree NP. Nevertheless, the scenery was enough to keep me distracted from the dull throb in my ankle.

We arrived at the narrows in the early afternoon. This is where Mike decided to get personal with the canyon. Videotaping while walking, Mike tripped and smashed his knee on a toaster-oven sized rock. It was hard to watch him roll on the ground, clutching his knee in agony, but it made for some great video. :wink: James used this impromptu break to explore the condition of the narrows. He didn't get very far before discovering an impassable pool. After Mike recovered, we set off on a trail that skirts the north side of the canyon above the narrows. As we neared the river, we saw Vasey's Paradise. The intense teal blue of the river was amazing. We couldn't get down to the beach fast enough.

Once on the beach, we found a sweet campsite in a small alcove against the cliffs. We stashed our packs, hung our food, and set off to explore Vasey's Paradise and Stanton's Cave. The cave was not impressive; there is a gate that prevents you from going more than 30 yards or so into it. Vasey's Paradise was pretty cool. The springs were flowing out of the cliffs at a good rate. We explored a small cave, but we couldn't squeeze through a slot a few feet into it. We hung out and took pictures and generally admired the area.

Back at camp a private raft trip pulled into the beach to camp for the night. They were pretty cool people. James discovered the benefits of hanging all of the food and not leaving some in his pack. While we were out exploring, a ringtail got into James's pack and ate half his food and scattered the contents of his pack about the beach. I thought this was amusing, and I thought the little paw prints in the sand were kinda cute. That night, the ringtail came back, but he didn't get anything. There were paw prints on Mike's backpack in the morning. He was sleeping right next to it!

Sunday moring, during a lapse in judgement, we decided to hike up the narrows. After some difficult climbs up a few dryfalls and wading through waist-deep frigid pools, we arrived a pool/dryfall combo that we knew we couldn't bypass. We turned around and repeated the previous misery in reverse. We stopped at the river to wash the mud from our feet. We then proceeded to get lost finding the trail above the narrows. We did find some great Anasazi ruins and some petroglyphs however. Once we were back on track, we cruised up the canyon, stopping in the shade for lunch and periodic rests. It seemed really hot! :twisted: Finally, at the end of the canyon, we stopped and stared at the final climb from the canyon floor to the rim. Pure Evil! I didn't remember it being so steep on the descent; I had to use my hands a lot on this climb.

Once back at the truck, we talked for an hour about how awesome this hike was. We stopped at Cliff Dwellers Lodge for dinner. Awesome barbeque and a pint of Bass! I can't wait to come back here; this is a top 3 for me!
"I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals; I'm a vegetarian because I hate plants." A. Whitney Brown
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54 Photosets

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