"Swimmer". What? In Arizona?
One way to keep your gear dry.
The Salome Jug, and Crystal Canyon, both in the vicinity of
Globe Arizona, are real interesting water canyons smack in the Sonoran desert. Water
flows through The Jug mostly due to winter run off from the mountains, and
intermittently because of local thunderstorms in the summer monsoon season. Crystal Canyon (or Warm
Springs Canyon) has more significant throughput and a couple of large
narrow-throated waterfalls. Rich Carlson of the American
Canyoneering Association used to run canyoneering courses in the area, so
we headed down for a couple classes and some time in these marvelous anomalies
of the desert.
THE SALOME JUG
The Salome Jug is a short polished granite canyon with a lower
narrows about a kilometer long. The descent is relatively easy as water
canyons go. There are several swimming pools. These are appreciated
in the hot weather, but when we went in April is was still cool enough that we
were happy to have wetsuits. Between the various hanging pools there are a
series of small waterfalls. A couple are sliders, and the others (except
for one or two) can be down-climbing around.
Along with its great scenic attributes, The Jug is a good canyon
to play in. The flow rates are usually low and you can practice beached
whale pothole escapes, various climbing moves on baby bottom smooth rock, or
even set some ropes, as we did, for ascending out of deep potholes. Fun to
hook up a Croll or a pair of Triblocs while floating and go up a rope.
Well maybe not so fun.
The section of Crystal Canyon that we did was on the Apache
reservation NE of Globe. It had three nice waterfalls to negotiate.
Downclimbs, jumps, a short slide or two, and then you hit the throats of the two
big drops. ACA procedure has it that the first person down should be
lowered to set the rope length. Actually, I would do this only if there
was no other way of seeing the setup of the rope length. In this canyon
you could walk the rim to see the rope. But what the heck, Chris volunteered to
be lowered so go for it.
Into the froth. Koen, a visiting guide from the Pyrenees,
is very experienced in big water canyons and had fun in this one. He was
smiling when he hit the converging streams.
Anomalies of the Desert. Indeed. And great fun