Halls Creek Narrows - May 2013

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This is a TR from a jaunt taken last year. Thus, the descriptions of the trip will be brief because the details are no longer fresh in my mind. I attempted HCN twice, once on 5/7 then again on 5/21. The failed attempt on 5/7 was rained out. The weather was beautiful for the entire drive but it had rained earlier that morning. BTW, Bullfrog-Notom Road is quite a scare with just a bit of water on it. As I approached the trail head (regular one, not the shortcut) it was clear a storm was moving in and it was not a small one so I waited. It came in fast, dropped a lot of rain, and the temp. dropped to levels I was not prepared for especially with the possibility of wading in deep water in the narrows. Due to the amount of rain, I decided not to attempt Bullfrog-Notom road that night and just spend the night in my care, then leave the next morning. I'm glad I did because there was a brief break in the storm and I got a few cool photos:
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White lines are temporary flows from the heavy rains:
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Looking down on Brimhall Double Bridge:
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I drove back home the next morning and that was it for that attempt. Fortunately, I was able to get some time a few weeks later on 5/21 for another try. This one worked. The weather was beautiful on day 1 and day 2. Day 1 was the drive down and hike to my campsite. Day 2 was the walk through HCN and back to camp. Day 3 was a walk back to my car and the drive home. No photos from Day 1 because I got off to a late start and was in a hurry to reach my camp location near the opening of the narrows.

DAY 2:

Some flora:
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Entering the narrows:
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A very large alcove in B+W:
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Scenes in the narrows:
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Desert mushrooms (the first I've encountered):
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A cute little friend (it may be a one-sided friendship, he doesn't look happy to see me):
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More flowers:
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More narrows and me:
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Out in the open on Hall's Divide:
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A reflection in the stream near my campsite, sunset at camp and campsite:
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That wraps up day 2. The walk the HCN was seriously enjoyable. The water was mostly ankle-deep, but in 5-6 places was waist to chest deep. The water temperature was quite cold, I assume from all the recent rain. The sky was deep blue and nearly cloudless. I think the temps were in the mid 80's. Hot enough for the cold, deep spots to feel great.

DAY 3:

The last day was just a pack-up, walk back to the TH and drive home. It was a nice day but VERY windy! Here are a few shots from the last morning at camp:
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Pano sunrise across the Waterpocket Fold: P5230214.JPG P5230215.JPG

Tadpoles:
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Flowers again:
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Prickly Pear along the trail:
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A few at fountain tanks:
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A few small, short side slots off of Halls Creek:
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This may be the slot to Brimhall Double Bridge, I can't remember:
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Red Slide:
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I had a few problems on the hike out. First, I was planning to make the short side-trip to Brimhall Bridge and found the side canyon and even got mostly there. Near what I think is the end, there is a fairly deep pool that was 5-8 ft. deep and at the end of that there is a large boulder. For those that have been there, how is this boulder surpassed to continue on the bridge? Perhaps by a chimney above the whole pool and over the boulder? I'm not a climber and wasn't able to figure it out so disappointingly didn't make it to the bridge. The second problem I had was caused by several hours in the wind. I was plenty hydrated but the wind just made my mouth incredibly dry and I couldn't overcome the problem no matter how much I drank. By the time I reached my car my mouth was painfully dry and swallowing was marginally difficult. I drank a load of water and drove off.

I made a stop in Torrey for a burger; I can't remember where I ate but I think it was across the street from Slacker's. It was delicious:
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After some real food, drink, and time out of the wind I was still having some trouble swallowing and figured out what the problem was: Uvulitis. My uvula was huge and red. Large enough to rest on the back of my tongue. It was seriously annoying and took 3-4 days to completely clear. I should have photographed it, it was quite weird.

So, the trip was a success. I would like to return there for a longer trip and take some time to explore around Waterpocket Fold and follow Hall's Creek further down toward Lake Powell.

Featured image for home page:
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slc_dan

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#2
Hall's seems to be a BCP favorite, and for good reason. When I go next I'll spend more time there as well. I'd really like to get up and over the fold, and explore the Steven's Canyon, and other area's up there. Check it out on google earth, loads to explore.

Great photo's, and kudo's on doing it solo. The solitude down there is great.
 
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I definitely only wet my appetite for HCN with this trip. I think my plans for spring won't allow a trip down there but maybe this Fall a longer trip with with some exploration.
 

Nick

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#5
Man, this trip report is so full of win. Awesome photos and TR. I especially love those shots from the first attempt with the flooding and dramatic skies. I really want to see more of that this year. And Halls Creek is amongst my favorite spots. I was there a month earlier last year. Thanks for posting!
 

Dave

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#6
I was there a month earlier last year. Thanks for posting!
How was the water in April? I don't have a whole lot of time to work with, but I'd love to get down there this spring.
 

Nick

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#7
How was the water in April? I don't have a whole lot of time to work with, but I'd love to get down there this spring.
It was brisk, but totally acceptable. When we hit the deepest pools (only two of them more than ~knee deep), it was overcast and windy which made it worse. Walking the rim in the late afternoon sun was delightful and it was quite hot on our last day out. Totally worth doing in April. My trip report here: http://backcountrypost.com/forum/threads/halls-creek-narrows.2091/

Also, if you're short on time, the air strip shortcut is a good way to cut off some distance.
 
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#8
Top-notch report, man! I love both the large and small details you captured in your photos. This is a trip I'd love to make, except I'm not sure how I feel about backpacking and swimming/wading. :lol:
 

pixie1339

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#9
Top-notch report, man! I love both the large and small details you captured in your photos. This is a trip I'd love to make, except I'm not sure how I feel about backpacking and swimming/wading. :lol:
The nice thing about Halls Creek is you don't have to do both at the same time. You'll want to set up camp either just before or just after you get to the narrows. Then load up a little day pack with your gear in a dry bag and hit the narrows. If you go the long way, instead of the airstrip route it's a little over 10 miles to the start of the narrows. Three days is perfect for this trip, so you have a day to hike in, a day to explore the narrows, and a day to hike back. If you're comfortable with a steep scramble with a backpack you can also do the airstrip route that Nick mentioned to shorten the hike in and out.
 
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Thanks for the feedback everybody. Udink, I did exactly what pixie recommended: set up a basecamp near the top end, walk through with a small daypack, and back to basecamp. One short stretch was chest-deep and cold but the air temp was warm enough in mid-May that dry time was quick. The narrows are well worth the swim. Plus, I felt a little adventurous wading through deep pools by myself in the middle-of-nowhere. :twothumbs:
 
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#11
Nice pics and TR. The rain shots are very moody. The second trip looked like a good adventure.
 
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Great TR!! I have a trip planned here this week. Never been to this area and was wondering.... Can I drive a subaru forester to the beginning of the trail at halls creek overlook? if beginning at this trailhead how obvious is the trail? Easy to follow? Also what is the availability of water mid may? Looking to make base camp before the narrows and explore with day packs.
Thanks in advance for any info!
 

Nick

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Haven't seen @Clint_N around for a while so I'll try to answer your questions, @mountainman.

Yes - trailhead is usually Subaru-friendly.

I've only gone in through the air strip shortcut, but I pulled into the overlook. Looked pretty obvious and it's the 'official' way in, so I doubt it's any trouble. Maybe someone else can confirm.

It's usually dry until maybe a mile or so before the narrows begin. You might have luck finding water in side canyons but it probably won't be flowing. I think there are some tinajas or 'tanks' up near Brimhall but that wouldn't help since it's near the start.
 

powderglut

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#14
You should be fine going to the overlook in your Suby. Obvious trail has switchbacks down to the dry wash. Follow the wash downstream to the narrows.
 

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