After an extraordinarily hot, dry Summer, we got a week of intermittent rain courtesy of tropical storms pounding the Gulf of Mexico. Then the morning of Wednesday, September 13 — exactly 10 years after
the storm that nearly stranded us in Eagle Creek and then washed us out of Pueblo Park — we awoke very early to a violent
thunder and lightning storm.
This was Silver City's Big Ditch around 8:30 am. By day's end, we'd log 1.8" of rain!
A few days later, we decided it might be a good time to check out a possible alternate access to Noonday Canyon. An old topo map showed an abandoned forest road that dropped into the canyon
just inside the Gila National Forest boundary. Unfortunately, the road was badly chewed up by off-road vehicles. And the canyon bottom was flattened by overgrazing. I grumbled all the way down
about ATVs and feral cattle.
Three braided streams come together here, so we decided to wander a bit farther down canyon.
Just below the confluence was a thrilling slot canyon.
This double waterfall reminded us of Sabino Canyon. Except there wasn't a soul in sight.
Who knows? It might be the last dip of the season!
We couldn't pass it up.
The water was reasonably warm and the color of strong tea.
We sat in the shade and ate our lunch, remarking, as we often do that we live in f@cking Paradise! Lambert's Locoweed.
September 19, 2023
We returned to the canyon a few days later with the Gila Hikers and proper water shoes, to see if we could make our way through the narrows.
Ken, Marilyn and Janett entering the narrows.
Bird's eye view.
Dennis checking out one of several sizable caves along the creek.
Janett, Kim and Dennis looking back at the narrows.
Marilyn poses in a cave that shows clear signs of human habitation.
Below the narrows the canyon widened into a lush meadow.
Some sections reminded us of Aravaipa Canyon.
The canyon narrowed again, and squeezing between uplifted layers of red sandstone.
The farther we went, the prettier it got!
Near our lunch spot was a chest-deep pool with a sandy bottom
Everyone took a dip! So proud of our gang!
Le serpent du jour. This one was a Banded Rock Rattlesnake — one of four species of rattlesnakes that hold special protection in the state of Arizona.
Mushrooms glowing with good health on a pile of cow plop.
It was time to go home, but it was so hard not to continue down the canyon, discovering what was around the next bend.