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Hell's Hip Pocket
5 Photosets

2016-10-30  
2014-02-22  
2014-02-22  
2011-10-05  
2011-02-06  
mini location map2016-10-30
17 by photographer avatardesert_boonie
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Hell's Hip PocketPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Oct 30 2016
desert_boonie
Canyoneering12.40 Miles 1,968 AEG
Canyoneering12.40 Miles   9 Hrs      1.38 mph
1,968 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
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I've had this adventure on my mind for awhile so it was finally time to get it done. Wanting to make it a full adventure and get myself back on the water, I decided to kayak to Blue Tank Canyon from the Acacia picnic area which put me 4 miles away. Nothing like a 2 hour kayak trip to start the day. The morning was perfect, only a few boats on the water to toss me around which is both fun and annoying at times. Upon my entrance into the snaking salt river portion of the lake I could see big horns up on the ridge above which is always sweet to see, my eyes and camera couldn't zoom any further to get a real good sight of them so on my way I went. About a mile from Blue Tank, I spotted four more sheep right near the waters edge which I couldn't believe. I made my way on over to them hoping they wouldn't run away too fast on me, but to my surprise I was able to get as close as you can to them and they didn't budge. The closest I've ever been to one that's for sure, and it was quite the sight to see.

After taking in the sheep sights I finally made my arrival to Blue Tank Canyon. It was nice to kayak right in the narrow portion of it and get as far in as it will let you before you hit ground again. My only concern for the day really was someone taking my kayak while I was out, I know it is a bad thing to think could happen but hey. I gathered my things and made my way up Blue Tank. You are challenged a few minutes in with a good 15ft climb up some boulders, the rock is solid and there are good holds so it was a fun start to the hike. The narrows you go through to start are amazing and then the canyon opens up to greet you with some brushy areas and today all I can say is the brush won. The area is not seen by many so there is no easy way around these brushy areas. In the middle of the canyon is the running spring and a lush area which seems surprising for the area. After I made my way up and past the spring I encountered some fresh scat which I was sure was kitty. I could see faint tracks which would indicate it to be a kitty and I went on full alert and was actually thinking of turning around at this point since there would be no way for me to spot it ahead of time with the brush and many boulders and alcoves in the rock all around for it to be lurking in.

It was a tough decision but I continued on since the confluence of Blue Tank and Hells Hip Pocket was just ahead of me and I thought once I got elevated I would be able to spot anything and be able to see anything moving around. So just after the confluence you can head up and the area opens up to amazing views. Four Peaks are close and you are offered a great view and angle you don't get anywhere else that i've seen. Looking back down on Blue Tank and the area is spectacular and then there it is, Hells Hip Pocket below. I make the traverse above it to get to a spot I can enter the canyon easily. I take a nice break in the shade to eat lunch and hydrate up.

After lunch the fun comes quickly as the technical section of the canyon comes with a downclimb and then the first rappel which is as scenic as they come. A nice sculpted chute right down into a pool you cannot see but know is there as the rope makes the splash after you throw it down. Off rope and into one of the best canyon room I've ever seen. I soak up the view and get my rope ready for the next rappel which is a few feet away. The amazing sculpted rappel into the pool you have to swim. I take a few pictures and enjoy the area before getting on rope again and making my way to the pool. Luckily the water level was just low enough for me to land on a ledge just out of the water which was perfect for me to retrieve the rope and put it away before swimming on down the hallway in some pretty water. Pretty murky that is, a nice aroma was lifted when I stirred the pot but hey it is what it is. With the temps still warm, the water actually felt pretty nice to be in and not chilling you to the bone it could be. Once out of the pool it is time to make my way back to Blue Tank and go back on kitty watch to get on out.

Going back down Blue Tank seemed to be pretty fast and I was back to my kayak in just under an hour, thinking there was a kitty around put a little extra pep in me and I just wanted to get out of there safely and fast. Luckily the only thing I encountered in there were all the lizards sunning up. Back to my kayak and out for the long haul out on the water. The afternoon was terrible as it was boat after boat going by which just made the haul out take forever. But all in all it was a great day and an amazing area to finally see.
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