Day 3

April 12, 2015

Sanup Plateau to Top of Redwall


Click on photos to see larger image.

Now that we had lost 1600 feet, it was considerably warmer at night.  Besides that, according to the weather forecast, we should be experiencing a warming trend for the next few days.

We were packed up and off by 7 AM.  We had virtually no water left.  We were expecting to get down into the Redwall gorge where we would begin the two or three short rappels.  We had been hiking close to the Sanup rim, looking for a way down.  We continued along the rim this morning, but couldn't find anything obvious.  After about 90 minutes, we finally spotted a possible convoluted route through the upper cliff bands, but couldn't be certain that it would actually go all the way.  But we gave it a go.

Early Morning Light on the Sanup Plateau. Inner Redwall Gorge From the Sanup. Looking For Breaks in the Cliff Bands.

We definitely did not find the easy route down.  We spent hours picking our way through the Supai cliff bands.  It was around 11:00 AM before we were finally below all the cliffs.  We had dropped about 500 feet, but still had another 500 feet to go.  We reached the top of the Redwall rim around noon.  We still needed to hike quite a ways up-canyon before we could find a way into the incredibly deep gorge.   It was getting really hot, and I was getting very dehydrated. 

We soon crossed a shallow drainage and spotted damp soil at the bottom of a pothole, but no water.  There were also frogs hopping around.  I dug down into the mud, but hit solid rock only a couple of inches down.  But since there were frogs, we figured there must be water somewhere not too far away.  Ben hiked up canyon for 20 minutes or so and found nothing.  He then started down the ravine.  He returned in about half an hour  wearing a big grin.  He had found a large pothole that was a couple of feet deep.  Yes!  We were actually considering calling for a rescue (using my SPOT) if we didn't find water.  We were getting seriously dehydrated and we had no idea how far we would have to go to find water.  So we were feeling pretty lucky to have found the pothole, but also pretty stupid for getting ourselves into this situation.  We both knew better, but underestimated the difficulty and distances, and overestimated our ability.  Actually, I was the one who overestimated my ability -- Ben was doing much better than me. 

Just Beautiful. Ben Using UV Light to Disinfect Water. The Drainage Where We Found Pothole.


I drank about 3 liters in quick succession.  In about 30 minutes I was feeling much better.  We ate lunch and hung around a little while before continuing on.  We were tanked-up on water, and each carrying about 2-1/2 liters.  We left the pothole around 1:30 PM.

I was amazed at the difference between Ben and me regarding water consumption.  Thirty minutes after starting out on a warm morning, I might be sweating profusely, while Ben is dry and still wearing a long-sleeve fleece top.  Ben has a tough time in cold weather, whereas I am just the opposite. 


Deep and Narrow Redwall Gorge. Lots of Blooms, Including Ocotillo. Our Campsite.


The contouring along the top of the Redwall was slower than expected.  It was not difficult, just tedious.  The Redwall gorge was impressive, deep, and narrow.  About 4:30 PM we could tell we were not too far from being able to get down into the canyon.  When we happened upon a nice campsite, we decided to stop for the night.  We were tired.   And because we had seen some potholes down in the canyon, we thought we would find water fairly early tomorrow.

But because we were again at an unanticipated dry camp, with only enough water to last into the morning the next day, and without knowing exactly what to expect the next day, a cloud of worry and fear hung over us. 

I had finished E. O. Wilson's book last night, so tonight I started on Wild:  From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed. 


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