Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bushwhacking at Midgely Bridge

One day Kaleigh and I decided to investigage the creek that runs near our house to see if it could be crossed below the Midgely Bridge. There is a trail across the creek that can only be reached if one hops on boulders or jumps over logs and branches to get to the other side. As the weather had really warmed up, I wore shorts for the first time hiking (why do I mention that, you ask. You'll see.). We quickly determined that the creek was a bit too high to try to ford it. At least I did, Kaleigh was game to give it a try.

The view of the bridge above was really interesting and so we set out to do a little exploring without crossing the creek.

There was no real trail on this side of the creek so we made our way over some slick rock and rubble from flooding. There was a shallow, man-made aquaduct that carried water somewhere that was partway up the cliff towards the road. Things seemed pretty serene there and we enjoyed a couple of photo ops before deciding what to do next.

At this point we had hacked our way about 1/4 mile from the bridge downstream towards our house. I foolishly mentioned to Kaleigh that we could try to work our way along the creek to the house. She jumped all over that idea. Judy and I had worked our way partway toward the bridge from our place so, even though there was no trail, I felt we could find our way. Big mistake.
We immediately hit thick brambles and thorny bushes. We thought about balancing on the edge of the aquaduct but it was too narrow and we would have either fallen into the water or down into the brush. (the water in the aquaduct was only 1/2 foot deep at the most).
So we struggled on finding lots of rubble that washed down the creek from the camp grounds in Oak Creek Canyon. We even came across parts of cars that either came over the cliff or washed down stream.

As we struggled through the thorns we heard someone calling to us from the other side of the creek. The rushing water made a lot of noise so it was difficult to hear what he was saying. I finally figured he was asking us if were were lost. I just yelled back that we were not lost, just stupid. He shrugged his shoulders and went on his way.
We had no choice but to keep going as we were closer to where I thought our house was than to the bridge. At one point, we could see what looked like beaten down brush that lead back up to the aquaduct. I asked Kaleigh to climb up to see if there was a way out. I didn't want to have to climb up and then come back down. She got to the edge of the aquaduct and stepped into it (remember it was not too deep). I yelled, "how deep is the water?" and she yelled back, "it's dry!". It had dried up a little bit upstream. All along we could have been walking in a little water then a dried up aquaduct instead of bushwhacking our way through the briars and the brambles.
Can you see the scratches on Kaleigh's legs from our hike?

As I was not quite as light on my feet as Kaleigh, I got a few scratches myself. Can you see them?

We made it to the house without further damage but I snuck by Judy to take a quick shower to wash away some of the evidence of our hike before she had a chance to comment on our stupidity.

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