Blue Springs Little Colorado River Gorge

"That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger." "Pain is just fear leaving the body."

Taking it to the limit one more time.

 Saturday was a very taxing and long day, starting with navigating the maze of Navajo back roads at 5:30 A.M, hiking at 7, getting out of the gorge after dark at 6:45 and back to Tuba City at 7:30 and then on to our hotel at the Cameron Trading Post. Oh yes, Navajo tacos and a bed at the end of the line!
It was a hard day’s night and a good body of work….about 16 miles in total hiking, 3600' of elevation gain and loss, 6 miles on the Horse Route, and 10 miles of  slogging thru mud for 10 miles in the Little Colorado River Gorge to Blue Springs and return.
I live for these types of adventures. They are bountiful in the beautiful state of Arizona.

The Canyoneer amigos
Bill Orman, Dingo, ELG. and Charlie Pongo. 

I was engulfed with pain and fear after exiting the Little Colorado River Gorge and standing on the rim in pitch dark with a small headlamp. It appeared that the three amigos were screwed!

 Our truck was not there! Stolen? Probably not. But where was it?  In the dark we had missed our target. It had to be close!

 Our options:
A. Spend the night utilizing the clothes we had in our packs and emergency blankets. At 5,000’ temperatures would be in the mid 20s .Survival?
B. Head East on a backroad to the main highway -15 miles away. Although totally exhausted, this would be the better option.
C. Find the GD Truck!! Best option!

We chose option C. After locating a backroad and walking about 1/2 mile, the treasure hunt was over. However Bill introduced more fear when he had a little trouble finding his keys in his pack.

The objective of the trip was to get to the incredible Blue Springs. It was a chilly start. The expectations were to travel on dry ground but a storm a couple of weeks ago made the going particularly difficult, having to deal with intermittent deep mud. After Charlie got “stuck” up to his knees and soaked trying to get out he elected to head back. He had brought his own truck and camped at the trailhead the night before in the bitter cold. Charlie is a seasoned Canyon guy. He has worked at Phantom Ranch and hiked with the legendary Harvey Butchart.
The three of us forged on. There were a lot of debris from flash floods  and many critter tracks in the mud. We thought that they were ringtail tracks but a couple of raccoons popped out. I have never seen raccoons in this canyon.
 We all had been to Blue Springs before on the Blue Springs route that involves walking and climbing ledge to ledge with significant exposure. This route was safer but long and slow going. Our turnaround time was noon but at mid day we were close and decided to continue. We arrived at 12:30, had lunch, enjoyed the beauty of the springs and headed back at 1:00.  
After finally reaching the Horse Route, we needed to climb 2 1/2 miles and 1800’. Dingo and Bill  moved well but I was  feeling exhausted and  a bit slower.
The sun set was projected to be at 6:30. It set at 6. Headlamps on! We were close but so far away. 
When we did find the truck, the boys cracked a beer but I was too tired to have one. A first!
The drive out seemed to take forever. When Bill dropped us off at Dingo’s car at the Quality Inn in Tuba City, Dingo made things even more fun by not being able to find his keys. 
I could not take the drama, so I went to use the rest room and when I returned he was in the car, now to Cameron for dinner and bed.
The bed never felt so good but we didn’t go right to sleep, but opted to watch The Outlaw Josie Wales on TV. 
Boys will be boys when they are let out!

It was a fun trip and we nailed it. Thanks to Bill for facilitating.

Men Behaving badly

Dingo and Bill, for bad key management and not having backup.
Bill,  for insisting that sunset was at 6:30? Hey, he lives in Tuba City, he should know.
Dingo and Lobo, for sneaking tequila into the restaurant at the Cameron trading Post.
Bill and Dingo, for laughing at Lobo when he got stuck in the mud.
Lobo, on Friday night in Flagstaff for telling the cute waitress in the Brew Pub that he really liked the colors on her shirt, in the Eddie Haskell manner.

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