Pictures from Day 9
(Down Havasu Creek to the Colorado River and back)

We left the campground about 8 in the morning, and got back at about 4:30 in the afternoon; we left the Colorado to start back up at 1:30. At this time of year, 4:30 is late enough to be getting quite dark in the canyons, and we were a bit concerned that we might be climbing up beside Mooney falls in the dark (we had our lights, but didn't really want to be doing that...

The distance is hard to pin down, even ignoring the extra when we had to do some route finding and made mistakes, but the consensus seems to be that it's about 8 miles from the campground to the river. Elevation drop is about 800 feet to the river, but effectively it's probably double that (and of course, ditto for the hike back up) because the trail is well above the creek at various points, and because of that, one is often climbing upwards, while supposedly descending to the river.

All in all, a good day's hike, not at our limits, but not far from it.

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Our campsite, about 1/4 way down the campground, on the edge of the creek. Not far from the spring that provides the water for the campground Mooney falls, just after we started down the canyon, about 8 in the morning
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The canyon below Mooney has huge areas completely covered with what we think is wild grape, lush, and dense, along the creek banks, and even well up the walls in places. Not exactly what I expected in the desert, even along a perennial creek! Just about the center of this picture is a small toad, almost a shiny gold in color. Found at the first point where we really lost the trail, and spent almost 45 minutes trying to find it (a good part of it trying to find a reasonable way across the creek, at a point with fast running and moderately deep water)
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A much better view of the frog. We eventually saw 3 or 4 of them Looking down at the ladder that we missed, and that caused us to spend 45 minutes looking for the way downstream. Another case of our trip motto "Turn around, stupid!" It is right at an out of place palm tree, and we were looking along the base of the cliff, and failed to turn and see a rope hanging there, to assist in scrambling up to this somewhat rickety wooden ladder.
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Looking up the creek from the bench we reached after climbing up the ladder Looking across the creek at one of many crossings; we had just descended from the bench above the river
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This was the group of mountain sheep that we saw in Havasu Canyon. When we spotted them they were right above us, perhaps 15 yards away. The youngsters immediately took off higher up the canyon wall without waiting to find out if we were dangerous or not (good survival instincts, I guess), while the adults seemed to look us over. Here they've all moved up the canyon somewhat. When we returned up the canyon several hours later, they had moved only slightly upstream. The next pair of pictures is cropped and processed to make it easier to see the mountain sheep. They are primarily brownish-gray, and can be hard to see if they stop moving, even if you know right where they are. Some of the sheep from the previous picture have now moved out of the field of view.
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This is the image above (Img08), cropped and processed a bit for color and contrast to make the sheep more obvious This is from the image above (Img09), cropped and processed a bit for color and contrast to make the sheep more obvious
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In places it's almost lush and green Casey in the creek, at another of the many creek crossings
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A set of 3 arches in the cliff above the creek Our first view of the far side of the Colorado river. You can't yet see the river, but you can see where Havasu creek reaches the level of the Colorado.
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We had met people hiking up from the river; they were in the last days of an 18 day raft trip down the Colorado. A private group, they had waited 7 years for a permit! These were their rafts. The mixing of the green-blue water of Havasu creek with the gray-brown waters of the Colorado River. The colors of these pictures isn't right, the water damage to the film makes it look more magenta than it is.
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Across the Colorado was a small beach. I noticed 5 mountain sheep here, but they don't really show up in the photos. We also saw a group further up Havasu Canyon. Both groups seemed to have a couple of youngsters. Looking down the Colorado towards Beaver Rapids. We ate lunch here, and I waded a bit in the river; not much, as the current was quite strong...
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Looking across the Colorado. If you look very carefully on the rocks above the river, just in the center of the photograph, you can see the shapes of two of the mountain sheep. They were very easy to lose sight of when they stopped moving Another view across the Colorado at the cliffs on the far side.
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Looking down at the creek as we headed back upstream The rocks really are quite amazing in their variety and texture
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Havasu creek near Beaver canyon as we headed back to the campground. More water damage, unfortunately

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