The Sonoran Advance, Day Four

Telegraph Canyon Descent

We don’t have to get out of the tent to know it’s bad. Like real bad. The wind howls. It hasn’t stopped raining since we bedded down last night. Well, technically this morning- the point is we didn’t sleep a lot. I didn’t ask, but let’s assume for the story that the other guys spent all night constantly worried the wind was gonna tear everything apart and leave us trapped in the dark during a downpour. I burry my head back in my sleeping bag, hoping the rain will chill out in an hour.

"Did it let up at all?"

[No response]

Thanks Kody

Thanks Kody

That’s the problem with wishful thinking. When the wish doesn’t come true, you don’t know what to think. That’s the situation. We’re waiting for the rain to calm down before we head out, but the rain isn’t calming down. The tent has become our little club. Each of us takes turns peeping out, but only darker clouds lie on the horizon. Breakfast is made. We’re still in the tent. We pack everything, so the second the rain chills we can head out. We’re still in the tent. Noon comes. Tent. Noon goes. Tent.

“If we don’t leave now, there’s no chance of making it out before dark.”

It’s miserable. The camera only comes out when we stop to let each other catch up. The single track descent to the jeep road is flooded out, of course. It most likely wouldn’t be this flooded ifwe had left in the morning. We know this. But we’re here now and some of the crossings involve bucket line bike portaging technique with a person on either end and a person standing in the rushing water. It works. We’re not exactly carrying on conversation, as you might imagine. Talking is purely utilitarian, with each of us trying to find our own way of processing just how raw the deal we took was after all.

I don’t remember what Vince is doing here. I was delusional at this point. I think he’s picking up a rock. Maybe he’s delusional too. I think he threw the rock? I wanted to throw a rock too. It’s still raining, by the way.

The Jeep Road
to Superior, Arizona

In general we’re feeling a lot better about things now that we’re on a road instead of a trail. The word “road” sounds fantastic right now compared to “trail.” But the road’s surface is hunks of broken rock just big enough to be annoying to navigate, and just round enough to make you spin out while going up hill. These rocks are sitting in a moving stream of water, usually an inch or two deep. Current temperature: 40º. Nothing on any of us is dry, therefore nothing on any of us is warm. I should mention the road is also slowly becoming a river, with long, wide crossings occurring every 400ft or so.

Negotiation Of The Jeep Road
In Flood Conditions

[To Be Done Every Four Hundred Feet
Until Parties Involved Are Exhausted]


"Oh, it’s not that much further."

Of course this happens. This water, which is bending and breaking trees, sits between us and Superior. It’s deep. I know it’s deep because I spend the next twenty minutes trying to find a shallow spot to cross. I don’t mind doing this at first because everything is wet anyway, and crossing the river has to be done if I want to get potato chips and beer. It’s good to be motivated in this kind of situation. The road itself dives straight in, and a few steps in shows this route is immediately a bad idea. So we walk. We walk along the river, dipping sticks in and then watching the current rip those sticks out our hands. I jump in, because I’m stupid I suppose, but with each attempt I only make it a few feet before the water is up to my belly button. Once again, we’re stuck. The rain grows heavy again, and the tent comes back out. Some suggestions are made (I.E. spoken slightly incoherently between jumping jacks to stay warm) to get across the river, and we review their flaws:

Suggestion: Flag down the camo-painted, lifted truck driving in the distance.
Flaw: The driver is playing Lynard Skynard too loud to hear us yelling.

Suggestion: Call local park rangers, give them our approximate location, and see if they have any ideas.
Flaw: They don’t really know where we are, and suggest backtracking thirty miles.

Suggestion: Call the police, and ask for a Rescue 9-1-1 type of raft/rope situation to get us across.
Flaw: The cops will make fun of us.

Suggestion: Helicopter rescue maybe?
Flaw: Way too ostentatious, expensive, and ridiculous. At that point let’s just head back to yonder trail and I’ll just have to add an extra page to this online journal.

Suggestion: Hang out and wait for the water to go down.
Flaw: …actually, yeah, let’s just try that. Anyone have any food left?


But it ain’t exactly a quick splash. A few feet in and the water is still below my knees- a major improvement. Halfway across, water’s only mid-thigh. It’s full committal here. We’re all in, leaning against our bikes to brace ourselves. A few potholes underwater trip us up. I find out those wider tires are a little buoyant and the dry-sac my camera is in actually works. But we’re through. The other side is covered with a thin layer of mud, with scattered trees and branches all over the road. None of us could care less, so ecstatic are we that we actually made it out.

Our tires hit pavement, and suddenly we’re around houses. There’s yards, dogs, cars, fruit trees.

We find the motel, next to a fully-stocked gas station and pizza restaurant.

We made it.

Thank You For Reading

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Route Map

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