Sunday, February 22, 2009

Agua Fria River Canyon - Canyoneering North of Phoenix

So we went down the Agua Fria River Canyon today. Overall a fun canyon for a February where the goal was to do no swimming. A little wading would be find and just wanted to get outside and enjoy a nice Arizona canyon.

One thing to keep in mind is that I thought this canyon would take 4.5-5.5 hrs to complete. Nine hours later we got back to the truck. A slight miss understanding to the time it takes to get through the canyon. This is the most off by time to complete I have been in a canyon. I will tell you later what took so long.

The canyoning trip starts with an easy hike down the Badger Spring Wash which leads to the Agua Fria River. The river had good water flow though the canyon was wide and made for scrambling and bouldering to stay out of the water. Though the temperature eventually hit 75 degrees outside the water was still freezing and swimming or constant wading through the water would have been hypothermia.

The Agua Fria River Canyon is full of boulder mazes which you can find your way through. There are plenty of small water falls which keeps the scenery going. The canyon changes quite a few times from different types of rock. I enjoyed scrambling over some cool blue boulders for a good stretch of the canyon.

There were a few instances where we did get wet up to our waist though most of the canyon was scrambling and just some ankle deep wading. Though with any good canyon trip we did find a way to make one short freezing swim. This could have been avoided though the path we took through a water fall left us no other choice. The hot sun made it easy to warm back up.

So what took so long? The Agua Fria River Canyon itself took a little longer than I anticipated though nothing much. Most of the extra was spent find routes to stay out of the freezing water which would be faster in the summer when we would have gone right down the middle of the canyon. The extra time was spent in a side canyon we were taking out. The canyon takes you close to interstate 17 at mile marker 252 which we were going to take a cow trail back to the truck. The side canyon was a mile and I didn't think it would take very long. Over 3 hours later I was mistaken.

The side canyon was overgrown with vegetation which made travel almost impossible at times. The scrambling around these areas was full of cacti which wasn't much of a better idea. After two hours of going no where I decided we could climb out and just find the trail we wanted. As we got higher we saw there was a primitive trail on the other side of the canyon. After finding the climb more of a problem then we thought we had to find our way back down and to the trail.

Standing in our way of the trail was 10ft high stalk plants of some kind that we as thick as naturally possible. We had to fight our way which was one of the most ere experiences stuck in the middle of these plants and using all my might just to move an inch.

We did make it through and found the trail which made for a tired though fairly easy walk out of the canyon where we found our trail and back to the truck. It never sises to amaze me how exiting a canyon can be more of any adventure than the canyon itself.
blog comments powered by Disqus