Sunday, June 7, 2015

Salome Solo

A short entry today.  My wife and I made an offer on a house, and so I had to cancel out of a planned weekend trip to the Grand Canyon.  I had come up with the idea for this trip, to connect Badger Canyon to Soap Creek via packraft.  It looked to be a dynamite trip on paper – the opportunity to packraft in the Grand Canyon without having to hike 3-5K in elevation change to get there, and to cross a couple canyons off the list to boot.  We had secured permits during the Garden Creek trip.  So I was bummed to cancel, but really needed to be home to coordinate things during the home inspection period.

By Sunday morning though, it was looking like no major issue were going to come up, so I was off the hook for a few hours.  As so often happens, it needed to be something I could handle solo so I could throw the trip together at the last minute without hassle. Salome Jug seemed like a winner to me.  April and May had been much rainer than usual this year, and the flow at the Cherry Creek gauge was 5.8, which is more typical of March when most canyoneers go through.


Salome was just as fun as the last time I went through.  There were a ton more cars parked at the trailhead than the last time I visited.  Despite the cooler than usual weather for May in Arizona, lots of people were out in the canyon.

I didn’t start down the trail until after 12, so I was fortunate to be behind most of the groups and have the canyon to myself.  Nothing quite like solitude in a stunning wilderness setting to set your mind right.

Close to the rappel, I ran into a couple groups.  Despite the cool weather, none of them were in wetsuits, and none had technical equipment.  I saw a group of two that had made it to the rappel, and were now backtracking.  And then when I got to the rappel, I ran into a group of four jumping the 25-foot drop.

I had my technical equipment with me, so I set up to rappel the drop just for fun and practice. In a “duh” moment, however, I set my pack on the edge of the pool above the waterfall as I removed my technical equipment from the pack.  I set the rope down and was putting on the harness as my pack was washed over the falls. 

Fortunately the group of cliff jumpers was at the bottom of the drop, so I hollered down to them to pick my pack up out of the pool.  I rigged and rappelled, and then retrieved my pack.  No harm done, but I sure felt like a dumbass :)

I took the normal route out of the canyon rather than the sneak route (which I think is kind of silly for this one).  I enjoyed the on-trail hiking and cool spring weather on the way up.

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