Days 2 & 3
October 30 & 31, 2017
Jumpup Canyon, Jumpup-Nail Trail and Sowats Canyon Day-Hike
Click on photos to see larger image.
Today's route stats:Distance: 6.8 miles Elevation Gain: 1000 feet Elevation Loss: 1000 feet
I had a difficult time sleeping last night and I awoke with continuing back pain. I decided to spend a layover day at camp, but after breakfast I decided to do a day-hike up Jumpup to the Jumpup-Nail Trail, then down to Sowats and back to camp. I would do this loop clockwise. The rest of the group was going to do part of this loop by going counter-clockwise, and I would meet them at Lower Jumpup Spring. From there the group would climb through a side canyon to access the Ranger Trail and continue to a beautiful campsite that normally has pothole water, but now is probably dry. And I would continue the clockwise loop back to camp.
I took my time eating breakfast and drinking several cups of coffee. I expected to be at Lower Jumpup Spring to meet them in late morning. Their route would probably take at least 2 hours longer to get there than my route.
I started out with a quart of water, lunch, and some emergency items (flashlight, lighter, space-blanket, and small first aid kit). The hike up Jumpup Canyon was pretty, with intermittent water all the way. I got to the "Jump" (a 20-ft waterfall) around 9:30. There is a makeshift ladder which allows one to get up the Jump. The ladder is made from old driftwood tied together with cord, webbing, and rope. It is remarkably sturdy, although I am always concerned about how "rotten" the ropes have become. Others have had that concern as well, because additional rope has been tied on over the years. The climb is just technical enough that I wasn't very comfortable climbing with my day-pack, so I attached some cord to my pack, which I left at the bottom of the ladder, and climbed to the top carrying the other end of the cord. It was then easy to pull up my day-pack.
The rest of my group arrived around 10:30. They took a long break, collected water and took some photos, then headed up Jumpup Canyon, looking for a shortcut to the Ranger Trail. I continued up Jumpup to the Jumpup-Nail Trail. I had already climbed about 600 feet and had only another 400 to go before dropping down into Sowats Canyon. Gaining altitude at this slow rate is easy and almost not noticeable. I took my time, enjoying the solitude and scenery. But by the time I was dropping steeply down into Sowats, my back started aching again. And I still had about 2-1/2 miles yet to go. When I got down Sowats I realized that I needed to pick up the pace if I didn't want to be hiking in the dark. I stopped at Mountain Sheep Spring for more water, then hustled on, arriving back at camp at 5:45, about 15 minutes before total darkness. By then my back was excruciating. I quickly cooked dinner and got horizontal in my sleeping bag. And I listened to more of Tegmark's book.
Because my back was hurting so much, I decided, even before morning, that I was going to hang around camp for another day and forgo the hike over to Kanab Creek via the Redwall. So I slept in late, drank lots of coffee, and listened to more of Max Tegmark's book on artificial intelligence (AI). Although much of his book is speculation, it is sobering. If you have any interest in how AI will affect our lives, you should read this book.
In late afternoon, a group of students from Prescott college passed through camp. They said they were going to head up Indian Hollow in a few days. I told them about the easier way into Indian Hollow via the Redwall. They were first heading down to Kanab Creek. I gave them my map showing some of the water sources in the area.