LOCATION: Christopher Creek Canyon, Payson, Arizona
My trip with Becky to Puerto Rico was supposed to check off a waterfall rappel, however, due to extreme flooding, Puerto Rico was not the place for us to experience this activity. Luckily, our climbing friend in Arizona promised us a nice waterfall rappel while we go canyoneering. I’ve been canyoneering before while out in Utah. You can read about that experience HERE. Canyoneering is the act of hiking through a canyon that involves rock scrambling, sliding, crawling, stemming and rappel through rock walls, crevices, and pools of water. Basically it’s hiking on steroids and I absolutely love it. Our destination was Christopher Creek Canyon outside of Payson, Arizona. Most of the canyon was in water about 45-50 degrees so we wore a 3mm wetsuit while hiking, which was definitely a strange experience to say the least since it was so restricting.
Our trek in the canyon was a cold one for sure but I got used to it pretty quickly. Maneuvering over all the rocks proved to be a task in itself since we couldn’t see where we were walking in the water. Climbing out of the water onto rocks was hard as well since our packs would fill up with water weight. The best parts were small rock slides.
Algae would stick to the rocks and would create a slippery slide where we could water shoot down them. I honestly think I could have done that all day and been content. It was the best. We had a set of two dry rappels before our waterfall one. The first was somewhat difficult for footing and even caused little Andrea to flip upside down and the second was about 60 feet and would eventually drop into the water. Both were a blast. Finally our last and most important rappel was here. The waterfall!! While it was pretty small compared to the 80 foot one we would have had in Puerto Rico, this still looked like a lot of fun. A little slippery due to algae, the rappel was overall easy and I enjoyed being stuck under the water while I finished the last bit of it. Waterfall rappel complete! The last bit of the day was spent on a 2 mile hike out of the canyon and back to the car. I think the hike out may have been more difficult than the hike through since the trail was overgrown and hard to find leaving us a little lost and scrambling rocks along with cactus on the face of a large drop off. Overall, the experience for the waterfall rappel may have been better in Puerto Rico, but nothing beats a day of canyoneering.
*Thanks Becky, Andrea, Sha and Ryan for accompanying me on this awesome adventure.
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN? Yes!!! Canyoneering is amazing