Day 36, 14? miles yellow creek cutoff
It’s frosty again this morning and my aqua socks are frozen. I thought about putting them in a plastic bag to keep them from freezing last night but realized I wouldn’t want to put them on this morning even if they were just wet. It took my feet hours to warm up last night, I did not want cold feet again in the morning. So I came up with the idea of putting my regular socks in gallon size ziploc bags and put my sandals on over that. It looked funny but worked great. Just a little slippery.
Bull valley gorge starts out pretty mellow and open, a bouldery wash with some pine trees. Very pretty. I read about this alternate in Wired’s journal and it sounded fun.
When the narrow section started I had already taken the ziploc baggies off my feet because it was warming up nicely out. I soon regretted this decision as I had to wade through the narrows. It wasn’t deep but the water was icy cold. I had to keep stopping because my feet were getting numb. To make matters worse there were some deeper sections up to my knees and there were some challenging scrambles. I bet when everything is nice and dry these scrambles would be fun. Or when you’re out for the day with a small pack and a friend.
(In the above picture the rope was not actually attached to the top of the tree FYI).
For me however they were quite challenging. Several times I would look at what I had to do and wonder how the hell I was going to pull it off. I would take my pack off, hoist it up to a rock or ledge and hope I wouldn’t drop it in the water on the other side. I had to use all my scrambling and some recently acquired canyoneering skills to make it through. Sure I can wedge myself between a boulder and a wall and somehow move up. No problem! I must say that I surprised myself by some of the moves I was able to make. It was almost fun when I succeeded. And I finally got to use that rope I’ve been carrying to haul up my pack! The exit was a scramble which I felt safer doing without my pack so out came the p-cord. Huzzah!
I was so relieved when I finally got out in the sun safely away from those scary narrows. I laid down soaking up the warmth and relaxed. Now I only needed to find the road that would lead me to my cache. As I start to figure out if there is a trail to the road I hear two women’s voices. They are on the trail and it is pretty obvious. They are headed down, I ask them if they are ready to get wet.
At the road their husbands and kids are waiting for them and I chat for a bit. Apparently there is an escape in the narrows at some point closer. I wish I had known that! Oh well. They offer me some Oreo cookies and I get their last two haha.
The dirt road has completely dried up and it’s easy walking yay!!! At my cache I drink a liter of water and eat lots of potato chips. My last two caches didn’t have any (those were the bags mistakingly left in the Needles box) and I’ve been craving some. I leave my trusty old shoes which have served me well and pack up the new ones that don’t fit me. I’ll send those home when I pick up my good new ones at the post office. I’m glad I asked Greenleaf to send those because these guys wouldn’t have worked and my old one were blown out on the sides. Grip was still excellent thank goodness.
Now it’s several more easy road miles to Cannonville and Tropic but I don’t have enough day light left to make it to Tropic and don’t want to spend money on a night in Cannonville when there are no restaurants. So now I’m hobo’ing just a couple miles before town. The local dog isn’t happy with me being here and started barking an hour after I got here. I hope he stops soon.
PPS I just reread Wired’s journal on Bull Valley gorge and her pictures show a dry gorge! And apparently I forgot to read the part about the many obstacles. Duh!