Harris Wash/Silver Falls/Choprock/Fence Canyon Loop MLK weekend 2022


May 7, 2018
Hmmm....I wasn't sure if this belongs in the canyoneering or backpacking trip report section. But I just wanted to say thanks to all who helped with the trip planning on the trip planning forum. I completed the circuit this weekend entering Harris wash and going through silver fork canyon and back through Choprock and then out through Fence canyon and overland back to my car. It was a tough mile-packed hike. The Google earth said 38 miles when I drew the lines but I think I drew it in a rush and missed all the twists and turns of the canyons so the mileage was severely understated. My fitbit said I did 16 miles on day 1, 25 miles on day 2, and 25 miles on day 3 = 66 miles total but that might be overstated with some route finding errors. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle of 38 and 66. The full trip report with pictures is on my blog here

Thanks again to @John Morrow @LarryBoy @regehr @Jackson (who has the same name as the dog I brought) and others who assisted in this planning. What an awesome trek!
Nice blog--you're braver than me going out there in January temps. I wish I'd seen your original trip-planning posts. I entered Silver Falls and came out Choprock with a side-trip to Golden Cathedral in October and found the alternate NorthEast-side access preferable to the SouthWest-side via Hole-In-The-Rock road. I just drove a city SUV and there was no concern about water carries using that route.
Did you sleep under any alcoves? On that trip it barely got below freezing overnight, but I found both an expansive undercut as well as a tight cave-like alcove both kept the nighttime temps a good 20 degrees warmer than when I slept out in the open. There was also zero condensation whereas I woke up soaked when out in the open.
Another interesting bit from that trip was a ton of bighorn scat next to intentionally-placed hay in Silver Falls just up from Hobbs. I called the Interagency Visitor Center to make sure it was a conservation effort and not poaching, and they said they'd look into it.
Just read your report - I can't believe you did so many miles, especially at this time of year with such short days and frigid temps (nighttime and water). Wow!
Looks like a lot of Type 2 fun, i.e. a hard, but good trip

"homemade vegetarian tortilla soup again…my favorite" I'm always looking for a new/different meal, got a recipe for your soup?
Definitely type 2 fun...

Here's my recipe for the soup....
Vegetarian Tortilla Soup:

Step 1. soup base
Cooked and dehydrated beans (whatever you have...I used lentils on this trip)
Vegetables (see amazon link)
Dehydrated soy protein nuggets (I find these at a local asian market)

I soak a mixture of the above in a ziploc for about an hour in my backpack before camp. This helps speed up cook time when I get to camp. The exact water amount doesn't really matter since you are making soup, extra water is fine. The soy nuggets should soak up a lot of water. Experiment with ratios till you find something that works. I just stick the ziploc in a side pocket in my pack.

At camp, boil the mixture adding a little water if you need to. Bring the mixture to a boil. Turn your stove off and let the mixture sit in the hot water for 10 minutes or so. You can sample it now and see how the texture is. If the veggies, beans, or soy nuggets are still chewy...let it soak a little longer. The amount of time that you cold soaked and how reconstituted the mixture has become may impact this soak time. If you're in a hurry to eat, a little bit of chewiness is fine because you will bring it back to a boil one more time in the next step.

Step 2. Noodles
1/2 pack of chili ramen noodles
1 pack of chili ramen seasoning

Now bring the mixture back to a boil...add a little more cold water first if you need to. Also add half a pack of noodles from a chili ramen pack and an entire seasoning packet from the chili ramen pack. I find an entire pack of noodles makes it too noodly. So one ramen pack will serve you two nights, but you will need to rob the ramen seasoning packs at home and just toss the noodles when you are packing. Bring this to a boil and whenever the noodles reach the right texture, turn the heat off.

Step 3. Garnish
Fresh Jalapeno (or serrano)
Hard cheese
Hot sauce

Now add a tortilla ripped into bite size scraps. Also add fresh diced jalapeno and some hard cheese that you packed in. Top it off with some hot sauce packets (I used tabasco packets on this trip). Stir and enjoy

This is my go-to meal because I like the spice and it has a good mixture of protein and plenty of carbs (also the sodium in the ramen seasoning restores some electrolytes)...the cheese adds a little fat and you could even add a little vegetable oil too.
Did you sleep under any alcoves?
That's a good call for future trips to keep in mind. I didn't have a chance on this trip....but I also wasn't exactly putting a lot of planning into my camps on this trip just posting up where ever I happened to be when the sun was going down. I do think soil moisture impacts temperature....setting up camp on damp sand can make it cold....setting up a tent on top of a bed of dry leaves can make it a little warmer with the added insulation.
Thanks @Kerrie at Thru We Go ! Nights don't generally bother me much but that's because I hike to the point of exhaustion, eat my dinner, crash, and wake up early....but you're right that winters pose an additional challenge with the reduced daylight hours. I guess I did end up spending a few hours in my tent (not sleeping). Someone brought up something similar on the trip planning forum and it led me to come prepared. I passed the time with a crossword puzzle and listening to podcasts :) Luckily I had enough battery in my phone. It was really just filling those hours 7-9 pm .
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