It rained last night like a motherfucker. Boy did it rain. The drops were hitting my tent with such vigor that moisture collected on the underside would spray my face with water. It was so loud I had to put my earplugs in to sleep. When I woke up this morning everything was muddy from dirt spraying upwards because the force of the water was so robust.
So everything I had was wet. I packed up and got going, walking along the top of Deer Creek narrows looking down into the creek where it flowed between walls of Tapeats. It reminded me so much of Buckskin Gulch that I suspect the walls there were Tapeats as well. The Grand Canyon has taught me so much.
After descending the rest of the way back down to the Colorado River and quickly visiting Deer Creek falls where the creek bursts free of the narrows to join the river, I headed downstream along the bank of the river. I needed to get to Kanab Creek, around 8 miles down the river, but other than game trails there is essentially no path from Deer Creek to Kanab Creek. It was a messy, jumbled up rock pile most of that way, though there were moments of sandy beach to walk along as well. I was surprised at how often I ended up finding game trails, probably 60% of the time, and they greatly facilitated what was otherwise a slow and somewhat acrobatic teetering through a rock pile. I stopped half way to take advantage of the sun shining between white puffy clouds to dry out my things, a blessing really because everything was so wet. But I could see the clouds thickening, turning gray, so I tried to keep up a good pace. I wanted to finish the boulder hop before it rained on the rocks and they became slippery. A little ways in some rafters passed by who I had met two days ago at Bass Camp on the river before I climbed up the North Bass trail. The pulled over to chat, gave me an apple and took my trash, and gave me some Gorilla Tape to try to retape my pants which are worse than ever and have become the first item of commentary any time I meet someone new. The rafters asked if I needed anything else. Well, I said, this might sound strange, but something for atthletes foot? Recently my feet have started to smell terrible, feel itchy and burn, and peel something awful. I have a few days yet to Colorado City which may not even have a store, and I was lamenting having to wait so long to take care of my feet. But the rafters had magic bags aboard their boats and could produce anything. Out came a bottle of Lamisil. I felt great about that bit of trail magic all day.
By 1:30 I was at the mouth of Kanab Creek, which runs through a massive canyon that stretches for some 20 miles. It is a beautiful canyon, with flowing water and giant limestone walls. Travel is slow though, because there is no trail and the creek tracked among and between huge boulders, garage sized rocks, that cluster together and choke up the canyon bed. Navigating these chokes takes a long time, and some climbing up rock and down rock and crossing the water over and over. The crossings are complicated by the fact that the water is running almost red–it reminds me of the elevator scene from The Shining–I think because all the rain washed a lot of sediment into the creek. It means drinking the creek water will be hard without settling it first, but I should be passing a spring tomorrow early. Kanab Canyon is supposed to have high flash flood danger so with steady rain of the last few days, I was a bit worried to be in the canyon. Once I arrived and started to walk through it I felt better, partly because it never really rained today and partly because there are ample places to escape a flash flood if one happened (very rare in spring in any case). I’m now camped in the canyon, up high on a grassy bench out of the path of the water, in one of the sweetest sites of the trip. There is no particular reason the site speaks to me–it’s simple, my tent next to a large rock and tucked under a tree, but it feels just right.