Day 7

March 20, 2008

Long Hike Back to Havasu Campground

This morning we were up at first light and on the move by 7:15.  We were hoping we could make it back to the campground in Havasu before dark, even though it took us almost two days to do this section in the other direction.  But our packs were lighter, we knew the route, and we figured that dropping down Carbonate would be much easier than climbing up.  However, my maximum hiking speed is now limited by my knee replacement.  It doesn't have quite the same motion as before, and I can't stride out with long steps like I used to. 

Mount Sinyella.

Dropping Down Into Carbonate.

We got to the top of Carbonate around 4:00, with only 3 hours of light left.  George was determined to make it all the way down to the campground without stopping for the night, and he was looking forward to the meal we cached at the campground for our last night.  I remembered a flat area with water nearby about half way down, just in case.  Anyway, down we went, as fast as we could.  Of course we were very tired by then, and had to be extra cautious to avoid injury.  The drop-offs were easier going down, but not by that much.  Lowering packs is time-consuming.  The whole way we were thinking about how to do the difficult down-climb that caused us so much trouble on the way up. 

We got to the down-climb a little before sundown.  I attached a loop of webbing, with a small rap ring, around a solid anchor, and then attached a handline.  It was an easy climb down without packs.  George lowered our packs, then used the rap ring to loop the webbing through so I could belay him from the bottom.  We barely had enough webbing.  We were able to pull the webbing down, but unfortunately we had to leave the small loop of webbing and the ring. 

We soon reached the flat area where we could have camped, but George was insistent on getting to the campground.  I went along, against my better judgment.  We soon had to get out our headlamps.  We still had one or two easy bypasses to do, but otherwise it was just a matter of negotiating the jumble of rocks and boulders in the canyon bottom (not to mention the Catclaw).  The farther down we went, the easier it got.  But still we didn't get to our campsite until 10:15.  Then a mile round trip to retrieve our dinner.  By the time we set up camp and cooked and ate dinner, it was close to midnight.


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