Caving without roofs-Kelly & Pumphouse Wash Canyons-
I love wild canyons,--dry fragrant, stone walled, with their greenchoked-niches and gold tipped ramparts.Zane GreyUSA Weekend featured Sissy Sedona as their number one pick of our country'sten most beautiful spots. Although I am not in agreement with theirselection(s) I do think that the surrounding area's telegenic canyons arespecial. That is why we returned to the canyons of the Mogollon Rim forthe third time in the past month.Excursionistas DE canonDingo DanEl LoboZoWell fed, pampered "I can't go" guysJohn DA JackalJake DA snakeDingo Dan put together a plan to explore two of the three major headwatercanyons of Oak Creek--Kelly and Pumphouse. The third, James Canyon requiresrappelling and swimming. It is best suited for much warmer weather, as thedeep dark pools are icy cold.Our route involved shuttling two vehicles.Kelly Canyon was an easy walk along a game trail through most of thecanyon. Dingo and Dan practiced climbing on various limestone rock faces.It is a nice four mile walk, along old growth ponderosa pines, firs andaspens.(Embedded image moved to file: pic24010.jpg)Kelly Canyon-PIC by ZoPumphouse Wash offers a bit more of a challenge. Pumphouse is essentiallyupper Oak Creek Canyon. We had a boulder hop for about the first two milesbefore coming to a 15 foot waterfall and large pool below it. A dead Elkwas submerged in the pool. This is the second weekend in a row that we havecome upon a dead elk in water.(Embedded image moved to file: pic23325.jpg)One of many pools-PIC by ZoAbout 1/2 mile below the falls, James Canyon comes in from the West.Here the canyon deepens, with sheer rock faces of Coconino sandstone, firand maple trees covering the slopes. This contrast creates a scenic, lush,backdrop. A variety of colorful butterflies added to the splendor.We came across numerous pools, alive with frogs, and a water snake. We wereable to climb on the shelf around most of them, but a couple requiredwading. The water was so cold that it numbed my entire body. You would notlast long in these pools. We will bring wet suits when we do James.We came into a section of slot narrows and climbed along the top.(Embedded image moved to file: pic06754.jpg)Slot Narrows-PIC by ZoZo spotted a couple of owls on a dead tree branch. This was quite asurprise as these magnificent creatures are nocturnal.(Embedded image moved to file: pic19243.jpg)Hooters-PIC by ZOAfter five miles through Pumphouse, we came out on Highway 89A close to oneof our shuttled vehicles, and drove to the second vehicle parked nine milessouth of Flag. Here we set up our customary PUB with camp chairs andenjoyed a few Pacificos.We drove back to Phoenix and had dinner with Gerry and my good friend JohnKing at Carlsbad Tavern, a New Mexican restaurant.John was visiting from Walnut Creek and participating in a Masters swimmeet at ASU. The food and company were estupendo!Men Behaving Badly:El Lobo for trying to stiff the national government out of the Red Rockparking permit. ( because it's a Republican administration)Zo for whining, I can't do that, I might fall into the water and get mycamera wet.Dingo for thinking he is a world class climber but can only climb up threefeet and then fall to the ground with exhausted arms.Dingo for forgetting his socks in the shuttle vehicle, borrowing Lobosextra pair, wearing them all day and then throwing the sweaty, mud soaked,smelly gross items in Lobo's lap, saying "here, sniff these!"Dingo for being paranoid that "the mighty wind" might blow in his wife'scar. He repeated and whined several times, "Now don't do it in Jean's car,she warned me, and I don't want to get in trouble!"