Friday, June 13, 2014

Beaver Falls, Arizona 4/28/2014

We have a relatively late start, crawling from out tents around 8:00 a.m., but with less than 6 miles to cover today, that is not an issue.

Mile one is the most adventurous one. We leave camp and tread the now familiar path to Mooney Fall. From there we are on a new turf. The exploration begins as we lower ourselves into a narrow cave and descent some 20 meters enclosed by its wall. It leads us to an opening from which we can see the canyon ahead of us. It’s feels like a piece of Amazon was dropped in between the barren canyon walls, a thriving forest of jungle like trees and plants.

The next stage of our descent is aided by chains. Downclimbing is the easiest way down. The cliff is steep, vertical, but foot placements are surprisingly good and we progress much faster than expected.

When we reach the last 15 meters, the chains are replaced by ladders. The waterfall touches the bottom just few feet away, sending a large cloud of misty sprays in our direction. Its powerful roar is overwhelming.

It’s easy to follow the well trodden trail at the bottom of the canyon. It’s equally easy to get distracted by the multiple side trails leading to variety of viewpoints. The canyon is just as breathtaking as it appeared from above. The greenery is met with the saphyre flow of the river. Unique plants line the trail, many of them showcasing their blooms. There are hundreds of lizards running for their life as soon as they feel the soft vibration of our steps. Luckily we don’t come across any snakes.

2.5 miles, 3 river crossings, and several shorter scrambles later the view of Beaver Falls opens in front of us. The waterfall consists of several terraces. The pools in between them are small but deep enough for a swim. Like many others we wade through the bottom pool and scramble the canyon wall up to the higher ones. From this vantage point we see the water topple over the ledges until it becomes a river again, smoother and calmer.

Worthwhile side trip if you have the time to take it. And if you do, come early. Once the sun sets behind the canyon wall, the temperature drops significantly. It’s great for photography as then the reds really stand out but no so much for swimming.