Noonday Canyon

September 15, 2023

After an extraordinarily hot, dry Summer, we got a week of intermittent rain courtesy of tropical storms pounding the Gulf of Mexico. Then the morning of Wednesday, September 13 — exactly 10 years after the storm that nearly stranded us in Eagle Creek and then washed us out of Pueblo Park — we awoke very early to a violent thunder and lightning storm.

lightning map

Around 5 am I checked out the action at Holy moly!

This was Silver City's Big Ditch around 8:30 am. By day's end, we'd log 1.8" of rain!

stream in Noonday Canyon

A few days later, we decided it might be a good time to check out a possible alternate access to Noonday Canyon. An old topo map showed an abandoned forest road that dropped into the canyon just inside the Gila National Forest boundary. Unfortunately, the road was badly chewed up by off-road vehicles. And the canyon bottom was flattened by overgrazing. I grumbled all the way down about ATVs and feral cattle.

entering the slot

Three braided streams come together here, so we decided to wander a bit farther down canyon.

slot canyon

Just below the confluence was a thrilling slot canyon.

This double waterfall reminded us of Sabino Canyon. Except there wasn't a soul in sight.

into the water

Who knows? It might be the last dip of the season!

Marion dipping

We couldn't pass it up.

Dennis dipping

The water was reasonably warm and the color of strong tea.

Lambert's Locowood

We sat in the shade and ate our lunch, remarking, as we often do that we live in f@cking Paradise! Lambert's Locoweed.

Noonday Canyon

September 19, 2023

We returned to the canyon a few days later with the Gila Hikers and proper water shoes, to see if we could make our way through the narrows.

start of the narrows

Ken, Marilyn and Janett entering the narrows.

view of the canyon from above

Bird's eye view.

large cave

Dennis checking out one of several sizable caves along the creek.

looking back at the narrows

Janett, Kim and Dennis looking back at the narrows.

small cave

Marilyn poses in a cave that shows clear signs of human habitation.

the canyon widens

Below the narrows the canyon widened into a lush meadow.

hiking along the stream

Some sections reminded us of Aravaipa Canyon.

red sandstone canyone walls

The canyon narrowed again, and squeezing between uplifted layers of red sandstone.

into the water

The farther we went, the prettier it got!

into the water

Near our lunch spot was a chest-deep pool with a sandy bottom

into the water

Everyone took a dip! So proud of our gang!

into the water

Le serpent du jour. This one was a Banded Rock Rattlesnake — one of four species of rattlesnakes that hold special protection in the state of Arizona.

into the water

Mushrooms glowing with good health on a pile of cow plop.

into the water

It was time to go home, but it was so hard not to continue down the canyon, discovering what was around the next bend.