22 October 2006

Another Canyoneering Trip - Maidenwater area, Poison Springs: Arsenic and Butler: WW Fork Oct '06

family trip: Yes
participants: Bob & Inga Wood, Chris Haalend & Sara Ballantyne, Mia & Steve Mestdagh and associated children.
Kid Sitting: Roselle

We woke to drizzle and threatening skies. We had been jacking around our plans after the forecast changed Thursday night. Now it was Saturday. We were all here and it was raining - as forecasted.

Mia suggested we do a loop down middle Maidenwater, below Rt 276, to Trachyte Creek and return to the road via Trail Canyon. This had a lower potential of flash flood danger, she said. We started here (topo map) It was an beautiful hike. Waterfalls sprouted from everywhere when the rain picked up. (as usual click on pic, for enlarged versions)

The next day dawned with fresh snow over the Henry Mtns (hybrid google map) and threatening clouds. Time to jack the plans around again. We needed a canyon with a lower flash flood potential than our planned canyon, the S. Fork of Maidenwater. Someone brought up the Poison Spring area - one of my old stomping grounds before others found it. We drove there and headed in to what is now called Arsenic (topo map). When Bill Daniels & I did it many years back we called it Tomb Raider. Names are names. The canyons are the same. I would be remiss, if I didn't tell the crew - once we're in, we're in. No escape routes. Not a hard canyon, except maybe the rap anchor setups, which in this case were washed away, but .. no escapes for a long ways. With the recent rains, the canyon had a lot of pools and a few swimmers if you weren't good enough at stemming. I've never seen it so wet. After the three raps, the sky turned to blue, leaving us to just have fun!! Water makes this canyon even more spectacular than normal. Lot's of good stemming action and a little swimming for most of us anyway. The stemming champioin, Chris Haalend kept his upper body dry throughout. He would meet his match the next day though .. :-) Pictured at left, above is Sara Ballantyne stemming through a tough section. Chris & I took the easier way, staying 15 foot higher. (A few words of warning on this canyon: the rap anchors may or may not be good for canyoneers of moderate experience. If you are not sure, please tie together 2-50m ropes and rap off from the tree at the top. Then you only need to carry a short rope for the rest of the canyon. Also there is FRESH and VERY DANGEROUS rockfall about midway through the canyon. Tread very carefully and quickly through this section. Keep your hands in your pockets. You'll see why.)

The next day we did Monkey Business (topo map) aka the West West fork of Butler Canyon. Another amazingly fun canyon with potholes. To the left is Mia climbing down to the keeper pothole, before the jump. Due to the rain, it wasn't a keeper this trip. This picture could also be labeled Mia climbing down to look for Steve. When I jumped in, I didn't have my pack on to slow me down. I kept going down - descending, through the water, expecting to hit bottom and kick back up towards the surface. I NEVER reached the bottom. Finally I was able to reverse direction and swam back up. I was under for at least 5 seconds with everyone wondering if I was coming back up. 5 seconds is a long time! This pothole is also the site where Chris met his match. He was doing well, then crashed and was a very wet Chris. After one more rap, we hit the open canyon. The canyon was lush & green. Beautiful. Good day!

Trip pics here!

No comments: