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mini location map2008-03-22
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Peter's CavePhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Mar 22 2008
Canyoneering10.00 Miles 1,500 AEG
Canyoneering10.00 Miles   8 Hrs   30 Mns   1.18 mph
1,500 ft AEG
Basic Canyoneering - Scrambling; easy climbing/downclimbing; frequent hand use; rope recommended; easy exit
A - Dry or little water; shallow or avoidable water; no wet/dry suit
III - Normally requires most of a day
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
As I sit here writing this triplog, every joint and muscle I have is sore, I have catclaw gashes on my arms and legs that will take two weeks to heal, and I have a pretty good sunburn.

It feels good to be hiking again!

After a two month hiatus, I attempted to follow in the legendary steps of Dr. Fritzki Jones, Vaporman, and Kara F Yllaw to take Peter's Canyon past the waterfall. I intended at minimum to link up with my Upper Canyon Loop, then hopefully I could proceed to get to Pistol Canyon where I would find Squaw Trail and take it home on the Cavalry and Upper LaBarge Box.

Did I succeed?
No, I didn't even come close.

Starting off on a cool, refreshing morning, I parked at the new overflow lot at the Flats for hikers (thanks!) and proceeded to follow the well-travelled trail into tortilla creek. I entered Peter's Canyon and took the initial bypass trail. Then, I boulder hopped my way up to Peter's Cave, the tunnel-cave, Peter's Waterfall, did some dicey scrambling to get by the waterfall (the portion on the left is definitely a gut-check moment), checked out a side canyon, and proceeded about 1.5-2.5 miles further upstream battling boulders, slippery rocks, obstacle courses, the gradual temperature increase into the upper 80s, and an unpleasantly large amount of catclaw whereever you needed to leave the creek to pass an obstacle. I ended at a 30 year old campsite with an impressive lookout above a pristine natural swimming pool before I finally threw in the towel.

Along the way the cool creek babbled, canyon tree frogs chirped and did some acrobatic leaps to hide as I approached, and lizards eyed me with a suspicious look.

2 hours in I had made it 3 miles and was 1.6 miles from my goal as the crow flies, an hour later, 1.4, and an hour after that 1.2. I've been there before (Mazatzal Divide) and was having flashbacks. Realizing that I hadn't eaten dinner the night before, that the heat was really getting to me (I kept dunking into the cool creek to try to help that) and that my stamina has not fully recovered since I haven't been doing weekly training, I ran out of willpower and energy and let common sense prevail as I turned around for the car.

On the way back I frightened the heck out of a hiker sitting in a secluded spot when I appeared out of nowhere. His group seemed amused at that. I'm just glad he didn't do a 25 foot header off of the ledge he was resting on. One more group was seen on the way out when I was most of the way through Tortilla Creek. Other than that, deer tracks, coyote poop, and two sets of footprints leading out, one leading in (I think Kurt may have gone in past that as for awhile there were more) were the only other signs of activity.

I'm surprised noone has mentioned this before. Last time and on the way in this time, I stayed in the creek bed the entire time, bouldering my way upstream and downstream. However, there are numerous trails that link together I found on the way out between the cave and tortilla creek, allowing one to go at about 4 times the speed with none of the pain. These trails do take the magic out of the trip since they keep you away from the creek, but on a longer hike I really wish I had known about them before.

Unfortunately past the waterfall you have to grind the thing out and there is virtually no relief at any point, it is just boulder after boulder after creekbed which you have to backtrack because you need to get to the other side to get past the next obstacle it throws at you. Rugged and gorgeous Supes hiking at its best.

I took it easy on the way out, resting and listening to the creek several times and just marveling at the impressive geology.

I also found the HAZ marking with the Joel name written there (or should I say JO... and half an E), the wind had kinda wiped them away.

All I kept thinking the whole time was how much wally was a machine for making it to Pistol Canyon (if he did made it, since he doesn't seem sure). I think an entire attempt will have to be done downstream, which you can do at twice the speed of upstream, ala Vaporman.
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