Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Eagle Canyon and beyond

So, Friday was another day for a hike. Mamma Gravy and I have decided that each Friday we are available, we're going to try for a tough cache to get into shape. Course, I've been walking all week and she claims she hasn't.
The goal was Eagle's Nest, an Abe cache that rests in a canyon quite visible throughout Reno. There's a bunch of other caches up there, so it was going to be a good day for hiking and caching.
The drive over was an interesting start, there was now a gate across the access road, and when I attempted to continue on the road I was on, I was flagged by a construction worker in time to stop me from driving into freshly laid asphalt. When I told him what I wanted, he asked a simple question back - "Was it locked?"
Up at the foot of the canyon, we loaded up on our caching gear, food, and water and struck out. The first cache was Damonte's Mustangs, and sure enough, there was a herd of them hanging out nearby. Then, up, up into the canyon towards our next goal of Come to Jesus - a cache near a plastic Jesus statue of unknown origins. By now, it was beginning to get hot and I found my UNR hat was too heavy and too hot. Good thing I had the Camelback on.
Higher we climbed, sometimes quickly, sometimes very slowly. We took a lot of breaks because it was so hot and scrambling over boulders isn't the easiest thing in the world. At one point, I scaled a large boulder to try to find the best route for Mamma Gravy - since the way I'd gone was difficult even for this mountain goat/gazelle. Once on top, I was able to spot the figure and then directed her around through a rock field that was only slightly less difficult than my route. In the end, I came from behind the statue and she worked her way to the front. Her's was the right way as I had to drop down the 4 foot wall. Score 2 for us.
The next was the goal of Eagle's Nest. The boulders were now getting larger and, though more difficult, we found that following the old creek bed was the way to go to avoid the steep canyon walls. I made my way ahead of Mamma Gravy, looking for the path. More rest, more water, our sandwiches eaten at the last cache, we battled our way up. Finally, we spotted the tree and I took th foolish way straight up to the underbelly, while she circled around and got it from above. 3 down!
However, at this point, Mamma Gravy declared her legs were done climbing and she was going to start back. However, she encouraged me to continue on. I tried my water and found my bag was bone dry (2 liters worth) - but before I could back out, she gave me her last bottle of water. We parted after deciding an hour and a half was enough time to finish the final two caches up the canyon.
More rock hopping and now outright climbing as the canyon turned sharply upward. I even scaled an old dry waterfall. After 20 minutes, I'd found the cache Diehard's Diversion - so named in honor of those who climb the Virginia Range from the west. Only then did I realize that I'd climbed from the valley floor to the top of that ridge. WHOO!! Another 40 minutes got me over to American Dipper and a great view straight down the canyon I'd just climbed.
And also a view that gave me no sight of Mamma Gravy. Half hour to check in time.
I was stupid in my decision to hurry down the wall of the canyon, but I eventually made it back to the creek and quickly made my way back the way I'd come. Each corner I turned without sight of her made me worried about the time, the distance, and my own condition to get out. 500ml of water isn't much and it was baking that day.
Finally, with 5 minutes left on the clock, I spot her further down the way and call out! We met up in the shade of a huge boulder, and I just collapsed in exhaustion. After about ten minutes, I was feeling well enough to get back up and together we made our way back to the truck.
Once we got back, we headed out to finish the B52 series, since I now had the key to the locked ammo can. Skipping around Reno and Verdi bagged us the final caches in time for Mamma Gravy to head home and me to head over to LostInReno's house to hang out with her and GreenGecko for awhile. Then I too headed home and waited for my calves to remind me that they do exist.

No comments: