Today’s plan involved a long stretch of walking across the open desert, so we woke up early and were on the trail by 7:30. We were only yards away from the end of the canyon, which ended with a section of genuine narrows.
After that, we entered the broad Halls Creek valley and continued downstream. Our first stop of the day were the Muley Tanks. The Muley Tanks are a series of potholes in the sandstone that retain rain water. The rangers had told us they might be dry, but there was plenty of typical “desert water” remaining. We declined to fill up, as we had pools waiting for us in Brimhall canyon, closer to our camp.
Next up were the Hamburger Rocks, a strange rock formation along the side of the valley.
The hike down Halls Creek was hot, but better than expected. The early start helped some. There were a few sections where the trail was indistinct, but the terrain was completely open and it wasn’t possible to get lost.
We turned up Brimhall canyon, our goal for the day. The canyon was fairly overgrown, and we soon dropped our backpacks, right before a moderate scramble up a steep sandstone slope. Beyond that was the pool of swimming water. Ice-cold and over six feet deep, this was a big factor in our trip. We carried dry bags in our packs to help ferry boots and cameras across the pool.
It was bone dry.
The crux move on the other side, advertised as class 4, met expectations. I got my left foot really high up and managed to stand up on it while leveraging with my hands. It would have been very hard to do with six feet of water.
After that, there was boulder scrambling and a steep sandy rocky slope or two. We did find one small pool of water, but nothing like what we expected. Climbing the last slope, we reached an overlook where we could see Brimhall Bridge, a double arch.
It was early afternoon, and we had accomplished our goals for the day. We had one pool of water to work with. While we could have handed packs up past the obstacle to fill up, we weren’t sure if we should bother. Should we camp out the night and climb back to Doug’s truck, parked at the top of the nearby ridge, in the morning. Should we just wait a few hours in the shade of cottonwoods for temperatures to drop and then do the climb? The cottonwoods were just not inviting, so we just went for it.
It was a long hot steep 1.3 miles, with the sun beating down and cooking us. A near infinite supply of water at the top and a light breeze kept us moving. After the exhausting climb, we both slumped down into the shade of the truck, guzzling water bottles.
We drove back up to Burr Trail road, enjoying the views and the air conditioning. The outside thermometer read 88. After collecting my car, we headed west out of the park. We found our first dirt road, and very quickly found a roadside camping spot. We cleaned up, reorganized, and had a relaxing evening, ready for another trip the next day.
About 8 miles (No Strava)