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Canyoneering Parker Creek

posted Apr 26, 2019, 4:43 PM by Justin P   [ updated Jun 25, 2019, 2:29 PM ]
Friday morning, we checked out of Roosevelt Resort Park.  Since they don't serve breakfast on weekdays, we headed to Ma's Kitchen for a hearty breakfast.  Then we made a short drive to the diversion dam and met our canyoneering guide, David from Phoenix Wilderness Adventures.  From here, we followed David into Tonto National Forest on AZ-288. It was a beautiful drive and we could see the ecosystem change from desert to forest.

Along the way, David pointed out a rare crested saguaro cactus right alongside the road.

In the Sierra Ancha Experimental Forest, we parked at a pull off across from Forest Road 488 and got our stuff together.  When ready, we started hiking along FR-488 towards Parker Creek Canyon.  At Sand Tank Canyon, we we put on our wet suits and descended to Parker Creek.

The first part was just creek walking and pretty easy.  The first real obstacle and waterfall was a water slide.  We could have gone around but it was a lot more fun sliding down.

We were pretty deep in the canyon now with the walls towering high above.  And soon the rappelling began.  The first rappel was adjacent to a smaller waterfall just downstream of the slide.

There was a rock stuck at the top of the waterfall, so I called it Stuck Rock Falls.

Shortly past this, we rappelled down another 20-foot waterfall that I'm calling Upper Parker Creek Falls.

It wasn't huge bug very scenic.

After this point, we creek walked a ways further through the beautiful canyon with the sheer walls towering above.  The next waterfall was probably 25 feet and I'm calling this one Middle Parker Creek Falls.

Not long after was the big one - an 80-foot waterfall.  I called this one Lower Parker Creek Falls.

As David was setting up the ropes, I noticed that there were a lot cacti growing in the basalt cliffs.  They were really beautiful and looked like manicured cactus gardens.  But not too much time for photos as we had a big one to head down.  It was really fun.

At the base, we got out of our wetsuits and started making the climb out of the canyon through a very steep draw.

It reminded me of the Devil's Slide in Black Canyon of the Gunnison.  There were lots of wildflowers blooming in here.

Soon, we made it to the top. I was shocked looking at my phone that we had been in for over 6 hours - I guess time flies when you're canyoneering.  Hiking back, we got some awesome views of the canyon from above.

Lots of cacti and wildflowers blooming along the way.

And the views of the surrounding mountains were great.

Back at the cars, we said good-bye to David and started making our way back towards Phoenix.  We stopped for Mexican for dinner at De La Cruz right at sunset.

There was an awesome sunset view from the parking lot.

I just love all the saguaros.  After some pictures, we had fajitas for dinner and and then drove to Phoenix and checked into the Embassy Suites.  It was a very nice room, but we were tired and went to bed soon.