Party: Jimmy, Julie, Nish and Felix
I had a scrambled start to the morning, tired after a late night caving. We left a car down the dirt road for the car shuttle, then continued on. We turned at the pub in Mountain Springs and followed a rough road to the end.
Jimmy knew the area like the back of his hand and to be honest I didn’t pay too much attention to where I was going. We set a good pace and dropped into the top of the canyon about an hour later.
At the start of the canyon was a cool piece of sandstone, jutting out like a diving board. The others were ahead of me, but I couldn’t help but spend some time photo pfaffing.
I was happy to be back canyoning in sandstone, it reminded me a little of home in the Blue Mountains in Australia, but it was certainly quite different. The sandstone seemed lighter, perhaps due to the lack of moss, and all the plants were unfamiliar to me
We followed the drainage for about half a kilomete, enjoying some scrambling and a few easy downclimbs. We the reached the first rap – the view down the canyon from here was pretty impressive! The day was shaping up to be amazing – not too hot, not too cold.
The next rap went down some very nicely sculptured sandstone. A few small pot holes on the way down could be easily avoided. The pool at the bottom was a little trickier to avoid but could be bridged, and everyone made it across without getting wet feet.
Whilst positioning myself to take some photos, I felt a sharp pain in my arm pit. Rubbing it, I felt a small lump which prompted a visual inspection… it was a tick! I pulled it off! I’m pretty sure that is the first tick I have ever had.
The next few pools could be avoided by walking around on the left. I down-climbed over the first one, but I couldn’t see a way safely down the next drop so climbed out the side to bypass it. One of the next abseils had a small overhang that almost caught me by surprise.
The canyon then got a little scrubby, but it was quite pleasant as one of the trees had started flowering.
Further down canyon we reached a large drop with a chockstone at the top, offering a choice of descent options. At the bottom was another pool – this was perhaps the trickiest water to avoid but was traversible on canyon right where there were numerous pockets in the rock.
We soon arrived at a water slide. I had been told to go for it, and with the sun shining, that was all that was needed! I stripped down to keep my clothes dry and building up some courage, pushed off! I crossed my hands across my chest before reaching the narrower section near the bottom. The water was pretty cold and I didn’t waste time getting out… and then jumped into the next pool. (Thanks to Jimmy for recording).
There were a few more raps before the canyon ended. Above one of them, I sat watching some strange water critters. They had long ungainly limbs, but they seemed to work just fine and proved to be quite agile.
The exit involved some boulder hopping and creek walking. We soon exited the water course following a trail marked with cairns. The trail was lined with so many wild flowers it was a little hard to avoid trampling them. The Red Rock cliffs looked pretty amazing with the storm clouds starting to blow in. The rain started to fall as we were completing the car shuttle.
It had been a really fun day and it was nice to have a change of scenery after spending a week canyoning around Black Canyon.