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West Clear Creek - White Box to BullPen, AZ
mini location map2018-06-07
18 by photographer avatarsurvivordude
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West Clear Creek - White Box to BullPen, AZ 
West Clear Creek - White Box to BullPen, AZ
 
Canyoneering avatar Jun 07 2018
survivordude
Canyoneering30.00 Miles
Canyoneering30.00 Miles3 Days         
Canyon Hiking - Non-technical; no rope; easy scrambling; occasional hand use
B - Up to light current; wading/swimming; possible wet/dry suit
 no routes
1st trip
Back to one of my favorite places in AZ for an adventure trip with my long lost brothers. Did this hike 10 years ago and it seemed so much tougher back then. What a difference training and experience make! We had initially planned to make it a 4 day trip to give ourselves plenty of time to soak it all in; we finished in only 3 days.
Day 1 we dropped a truck off at BullPen and started the hike on the 142J 'road' about 4 miles from the drop in point near Cash Tank. The White box and swims were great, as always. Staring up at the narrow canyon walls is still a cool experience. Every time I have been here I have brought one person who has not been before and it is so cool to see their first impressions of the canyon. This time it was little brother and he loved all of it. Made it through the 4 swims and to the Hanging Gardens in 1.5 hours. The spring was flowing nicely and we spent some time swimming and hanging out with 67 year old Ken who had hiked in by himself and was planning on climbing out via a game trail above the spring. No doubt he made it out, this guy was in super senior shape. We hiked about another mile or so and made camp for the night. Enjoyed Whiskey and Wu-Tang.
Day 2 we broke camp about 8 AM and started into very rarely traveled wilderness. Almost right away we noticed the canyon walls were changing from the Coconino white and orange (brown) to the Supai red. On some of the longer, straight stretches we could get out of the water, but most of the hiking here was in the creek as it was mostly narrow without much of any side to travel on. Also, most everywhere on the side of the creek there was Poison Ivy anyway, so as soon as you get a good pace going, its back in the water again. This section of the canyon is really special as it twists and turns its way down. Around every corner was a section that required swimming. Some 20 ft, some 200 ft, some even longer. We passed some nice small waterfalls and we saw a ton of animal signs. What took the longest was the transitioning from water to shore to water again. There were so many boulders hidden underwater that we were constantly running into and having to climb over. These boulders were huge and all covered in algae, so everything was extra slippery.
**We came up with a few songs for the trip during this time: 'Welcome to Shin-land', 'You Slippin', 'The Boulder Slide', and our most popular hit - 'Dont Trust that Rock!'**
There was a short section where the canyon really opens up and we were hiking across desert terrain for a while. After about 6 hours of hiking, we came to probably my favorite area in the canyon. The creek comes out of the canopy and the walls narrow again forming a series of waterfalls that are all lined up in a row. As I looked downstream, it was awesome to see the level of the creek dropping several feet at a time, eventually about 200 ft below the top of the first small falls where I was standing. Again, its either a swim or a climb over rocks on the side to negotiate. There was a long straightaway section of boulder hopping on creek right until we reached Maiden (Indian) (Supai) Falls. We didnt have much time to enjoy the falls area because we were looking for a campsite for the night and they are very few and far between during this entire hike. Another hour or so of the same old swimming, bouldering, and pushing through brush had us on a small sand bar just big enough to accommodate us. A further look around showed an old firepit and signs of a previous camp there. After a long 9 hour day of hiking, we crashed out right at sunset.
Day 3 was pretty easy going as we had planned a 4 day trip but realized we would be done in 3. We were surprised in the AM by a father daughter group of 4 passing through headed to the falls. Great to see the intrepid youngsters out there! Found the trail leading up to the ledge and that eventually goes up the hill to the end of #17 or forks down canyon back to BullPen. The rest of the way back to BullPen was pretty much up on the ledge, on lovely, wonderful, flat, soft dirt. Four Creek crossings later, we were back at BullPen and the end of the trip.
Was kind of disappointed we didnt do another day of this, only because this place NEVER disappoints. No idea on mileage due to no RS running, all the twisting and turning of the canyon, and the constant back and forth across the creek, it felt like 30 or more. Obviously no problem with water. There are about zero escape routes once you get in that Red box section. Campsites are few and far between and totally non existent in most areas. I would say this is my favorite hike in all of AZ! For the truly adventurous, the middle section of this canyon is totally worth exploring at least once in your life.
Flora
Flora
Poison Ivy
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