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Fish Creek Lower Canyon
24 Photosets

2022-05-21  
2022-03-15  
2018-11-23  
2015-12-27  
2015-11-06  
2014-11-28  
2014-02-01  
2013-12-17  
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2013-03-20  
2012-12-29  
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2010-04-08  
2009-05-19  
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2009-04-18  
2009-04-18  
2009-04-11  
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mini location map2022-05-21
15 by photographer avatarddgrunning
photographer avatar
 
Fish Creek Lower CanyonPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Canyoneering13.01 Miles 1,721 AEG
Canyoneering13.01 Miles   5 Hrs   34 Mns   2.42 mph
1,721 ft AEG      12 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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Hadn't ever ventured downstream from the Fish Creek bridge and decided today was the day.

Arrived at the overlook by 6 am. One other car was in the parking lot, and I met its occupant 10 minutes into my hike down Fish Creek Hill. He was on his way up, and I suspect he had ventured down in search of a nice sunrise photoshoot.

From there, I didn't encounter a soul for the next 10 miles or so.

What I did encounter was:

--Fish Creek Hill still eroding and blocked by the boulder slide.

--Intermittent water in the creekbed that became surprisingly consistent for late May. Nothing to splash around in, but plenty to filter from, if needed.

--A nice diamondback rattlesnake. Probably the closest I've been to an unpleasant encounter. He was lying across a dry section of the creekbed, somewhat obscured from view by surrounding vegetation, and I didn't see him until I was about one more footfall from stepping on him. I must have startled him as well, as he didn't rattle and immediately began scurrying for cover in the nearby undergrowth. He cooperated with a few photos and then I was on my way.

--Three cardinals. Love seeing these guys. There red hue stands out in stark contrast to the surroundings. They do seem particularly flightly, making it tough to get a decent photo/video.

--An owl! there is a cool narrow spot in the drainage that goes on for a several hundred feet. As I was walking through and admiring, the owl popped off the cliffside and flew down stream out of sight. Kind of unusual during the day.

--On the way back upstream, I once again came across my diamondback friend--now warmed up and ready to rattle. He was about 150 feet from our last encounter and out in the open with plenty of warning for both of us. He shook his rattle; I took some pictures, then he slithered off into the nearest crack in the rock, all the time rattling away like he was ready to fight, but clearly communicating that he'd rather just get out of the way.

--On the return, I headed up the unnamed canyon west of the Fish Creek overlook. Near the mouth I encountered my only other humans--a couple that was descending. The climb up included some decent bouldering (especially in the bottom section), with a couple of class 4 moves here and there, but nothing technical. There are a couple of dryfalls that would be fun to see when water is running. Both are fairly easily bypassed.

--At the lower end of the canyon ascent, I heard a helicopter and turned to see a low-flying craft headed up Fish Creek. It looked more commercial than SAR, but not sure. I hope all was okay ....

A quick road walk once emerging from the canyon brought me back to my car.

I had flirted with making my way all the way down to Canyon Lake, but given my water levels, the increasing heat of the day, and the unknown nature of my ascent up the side canyon on my return--and my hiking solo--I decided to turn around early. One of these days, I'd like to finish off that last mile or so of the drainage. Another time ....
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