Sometimes imagination fails, even in the face of skepticism. One can for instance, almost imagine the canyon above as a tasty series of drops provided the water volume was increased 10 times over. Imagining when and how often that might actually occur, in the face of an open drainage basin of modest size, is more difficult. Every 3 years? Every 5 years? For a two weeks stretch, or two days? The creek, bank to bank, and the limited extent of the past 50 million years of erosion, does not provide the wilderness boater much optimism.
The sat photos were not exactly encouraging, when one used tree footprints to extrapolate the creek span. But last year I was surprised, massively and consistently, with what was floatable. So I gathered an excessive amount of gear for a day outing and got going.
Most of that stuff got nothing but a ride there and back; drysuit, boat, paddle, PFD, various bags of various dimensions and properties. My shoes got used well, pushing my bike up eroded ATV grades, sticking to the pedals over last hunting seasons horse pocks, sticking to wet limestone as I traversed along each chute and drop, keeping going until the very end of the canyon, for the sake of completeness and in the hope of seeing something that would justify inflating the boat. A few places came close, but for all the aesthetic appeal and promise of fun, no stretch promised both 50 continuous yards of boating and rock well padded enough I wouldn’t be begging for a cut. There was the spring, most of the way to the head of the canyon, gushing through the moss growing out a seam in the limestone, equaling half the volume coming down the main stream. There was also that final half mile, back down the hill I had pushed up first thing, hopping rocks and dodging rut to rut, hanging my nose ahead of the stem to keep the front tire stuck to the steepest of the dusty descents. In the end, it was not nuthin.