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mini location map2014-08-23
30 by photographer avataroutdoor_lover
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Sundance CanyonPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Aug 23 2014
outdoor_lover
Canyoneering1.50 Miles 850 AEG
Canyoneering1.50 Miles
850 ft AEG
 no routes
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desert_boonie
A little over a Year Ago, Ken was generous and patient enough to offer to take me down Bear Canyon, a Technical Canyon, even though I had never done anything like that before in my Life...If that wasn't enough to get me hooked (and it was), we then bypassed the Exit and Scott, Mike and himself took me over to a Natural Amphitheatre, where the bottom of the last 180 Foot Rappel of Sundance Canyon is located...Looking up at that Rappel, a Sheer Cliff, where the last 100 Feet is Free Hanging, was an incredible Sight. I knew that someday, I was going to find a way, with a little more experience under my Belt, to see this Place from the Top and experience it fully...We tried several times this Summer to plan this Canyon but some obstacle or snafu always got in the way...Looking back now, I think Fate and Mother Nature teamed up on this one and wanted us to wait until the Canyon was at it's finest, so she could show us everything she had....

It was finally time and we were going to do this...Ken kept saying it's a short Canyon and there will be no Rush and we can take our Time to get through this one...It was Music to my Ears... :y: I was able to fully relax and not have to worry about keeping up and this Canyon was begging to be Photographed too, so it was Perfect...As we descended down towards the Canyon, we came to an Overhang where you could look down...There was Water there and it was Flowing...Ken has done this Canyon several times already and it was enough to make him Comment and get Excited...When Ken gets visibly excited about a Canyon that he's already done, you know it's going to be even more Special than normal... :DANCE:

Down at the Bottom, we bypassed a couple of spots initially before committing fully to the Water...The Water was flowing at a nice Rate and was mostly Clear although it was a Rust Color probably from the Mineral Content...Some of the Pools were still Silty, but the Water was Clean, Clear, and Fresh...It was slightly Cold, but not bad at all...I had brought my Wetsuit, but opted not to use it although in hindsight that was a Mistake, because even though the Water itself wasn't bad, being Wet in the Air Temperature sent you to shivering soon enough if you weren't moving... :sweat:

There was "Green" as far as the Eye could see and Waterfalls around every Corner...As the Walls tightened up, the Lichen and Ferns that covered the Rocks, Soils and Crannies were joined by the Moss...The Walls and Rocks were covered in Vibrant Green Moss so thick and swollen with Water that it felt like an Expensive Carpet with a Memory Foam Backing...We were literally descending into the Garden of Eden...There was so much Water in the Canyon, there were still small Falls coming down the Walls from the Top and the Rocks were literally oozing Water...The Place was completely saturated and the Plants and Moss above you were shedding Water, making you feel like you were being Rained on, even though the Skies were Blue above...It was nothing short of Magical... 8)

We hiked, scrambled, downclimbed, waded, swam, rappelled, and even jumped down this Canyon...Some of the Downclimbs were more interesting as they were now Waterfalls with Slick Rock and Moss and we opted to Rappel or Handline a couple of them for that reason...All of the Potholes were overflowing with Water and were deeper than Normal and because of the Waterfalls going into them, Downclimbing would have been more difficult, so we just jumped in... :GB: I never touched bottom on either Jump and the Potholes were easy to exit with the "Beached Whale" technique... :lol:

And then, we were there...The Top of the Big Rappel...And it was a Sight to behold...I should've taken a Photo there, but everyone was cold, including me, so it was time to go...There were only 3 of us and I had volunteered to go first so we could do this one Right and leave Ken to be last...There was Water going over the Edge so it made it even more interesting, knowing that you were actually going to be doing this with a light Waterfall pounding you a little from the Top...I added extra Friction and it was a Physical Fight to even move down the first 80 feet of Wall, but then...I was over the last Edge and hanging...I have done a few Free Hangs before, but never this long and it was much more Physically demanding than I thought it would be...I had thought about trying to tie off and get some Photos but when it actually came down to it, there was no way I was going to do that on this one... :sweat: And then, after a Serious Adrenalin Rush, I was down and into the shallow Pool at the bottom...What an Amazing Feeling.... :y:

Melanie came down next with me belaying her at the bottom and then she belayed Ken...Ken got down and we pulled the Rope...Melanie took off to find some Sun, but Ken and I hung back as the Party of Two behind us was having some Trouble...They had thrown their Rope, but it didn't make the bottom, instead, it was a wadded mess about halfway down...We tried to signal them not to come down and to pull it back up, but with the Water, they couldn't hear us and one of them started down...He finally could hear us and realized the problem and stopped to fix it, but he ended up having to stop 3 times to finally get the Rope fixed and to the bottom...It was interesting and a little harrowing to watch...I actually Videotaped it and will be sending it to him so he can see how it looked to us.... :sweat: They both made it down and we all headed for some much needed Sun...

West Clear Creek was flowing like I've never seen before...It wasn't Clear, it was a silty brown, and moving pretty high and fast...most of the Trail along the Creek to the Exit was completely underwater....We got to the Trail going up and started the Hike out...Ken and Melanie could smell the Beer of course, so they went ahead and I got there when I got there... :sweat: And then, it was done...We hung around for a bit, socializing with the other Canyoneers that had finished, including the two behind us, and then we were on our way home...

I could take a Thousand Photos of this Canyon and write a Book about what I saw, but it still wouldn't do it Justice...I have descended a few Canyons now and they were all Beautiful in their own Way and I Loved them all, but this one, on this Day, was my Favorite Descent, Hands Down...I will do this Canyon again, but the chances of seeing it like this are probably slim unless Fate decides to Smile on me once again...To do this Canyon the way we did it, with the way it was, was absolutely Priceless...I will remember them all, but this one will always be Centerstage for me...

Ken, you've Rocked my World and you have opened it up in a way that I thought I would only Dream about, and for that, you will always have my deepest Thanks and Gratitude...Thank you for being such a good Friend and I look forward to many more Descents with you.... : app :
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Horse Tank 76-100% full 76-100% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Point Tank 76-100% full 76-100% full
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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming, "Wow What a Ride!"
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