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TOPOGEAR NEWS V o l um e 2 01 1, Is s u e 0 5 -06

M a y - Ju ne 20 11
Supai, AZ Havasu Falls area: Photo Courtesy of Rick Beach


By David Perez BACKPACK TRIP 2011
Part 3 of a Multi-issue Article
By the Rick Beach
Bye-bye bush babies and off we went to Photos by Rick Beach, Dustin Beach,
one of the natural wonders of the world, Brian (Gator) Johnson & Josh Houle
Ngorongoro Crater.
Our small group piled into a van in Las
This is a difficult location to describe but if
Vegas, early in the morning on May 16th.
you can imagine a 100 square miles of flat
All of us were excited about the upcoming
plains, located in the bottom of a stadium-like To reserve your vendor booth or receive
trip. We had 5 hours of driving ahead of us
ring. A ring created by the surrounding moun- more info contact Carrie at 702-346-7091
tains, forming in effect, stadium’s walls. The or email
Gator (one of the team) had worked the
peaks of those walls reaching up to 6,200 feet
night shift all night and was just getting off
above sea level with a small air strip located
work. We had the van gassed up, our gear
near one of the summits… well, if you can
stashed, and sandwiches made up for the
visualize that, you have a good idea of what
road trip. Gator showed up at the antici-
Ngoro looks like.
pated time. We threw his gear in, said our
Now fill that stadium with savanna, desert,
goodbyes, and started the drive.
shallow lakes, wet lands and streams to sup-
Bullhead City We were a team of 4. Gator of Las Ve-
port a multitude of African big game, from
gas in his early 50’s, Rick of Las Vegas in
Babu a 50ish solitary bull elephant that is be- River Regatta
his late 50’s, Dustin of Ohio who flew in
lieved to display the largest living tusks in August 2011 to Las Vegas for the trip, and Josh of Las
Tanzania, possibly all of Africa. To various
Vegas. Dustin and Josh both in their 30’s.
species of mongoose and wacky types of birds.
Folks, it is that time of year again. Start We headed east into Arizona. Crossing
You really have to see this place to grasp its
making your plans, and secure your reser- the Colorado River at Hoover Dam. Cross-
vastness and uniqueness. There truly is no
vations. Bullhead City is expecting the ing via the newly constructed bridge.
place else like this on Earth.
biggest and best year ever. Don’t miss out! The Hoover Dam bypass bridge was the
first concrete-steel composite arch bridge
built in the United States. It is also the
longest concrete arch in the Western Hemi-
sphere. The bridge at 840 feet above the
Colorado River, makes it the second highest
in the US.

(Continued on Page 2, Column 2)

Continued Page 2, Column 1 (Continued on Page 2 Column 3)

Material, articles and images contained within this Newsletter publication including subsequent pages may not be copied, reproduced, or otherwise used
for other purposes without written consent of TOPOGEAR. All images are considered Copyright by TOPOGEAR or the images owner.

(Continued from Page 1, Column 1) (Continued from Page 1, Column 2) (Continued from Page 1 Column 3)
Besides Babu (grandfather in Swahili) we also Bullhead City River Regatta August 2011 Havasu Backpack Trip
got to see spotted hyenas very close, and in the day
light (they are normally nocturnal) . We observed The Bullhead City River Regatta will be bigger this For some of us this was the first time trav-
the relationship between a jackal (small coyote year than ever before! This year’s theme is Pirates eling over the bridge. The distance seems
looking animal) and a male cheetah. The jackal of the Colorado. Not only do we anticipate the larg- like it is covered in the blink of an eye, when
est number of participants, but the Regatta has been travelling at highway speeds. It was disap-
actually snuck up and woke the cheetah up so that it
stretched out to three days! Events include: Wake the pointing not being able to see anything be-
would go hunt. The jackal would then eat from the
Plank wake boarding competition beginning Thurs- low. The sides are too high to view over.
scraps of its kill! day, Aug 11th. Kayak and Canoe racing on Friday, Some of us have Kayaked/Canoed the
Aug. 12th, the Ya Gotta Regatta Party Friday night Colorado River just below the Bridge. It is
Aug. 12th, the Bullhead City River Regatta on Satur- an impressive sight. Even more impressive
day, Aug. 13th… and, the Hafta Afta Party at Rotary was to see it during its construction. Search
Park! on-line for the many sites with photos and
info about the Hoover Dam Bypass.
Wake the Plank
Wakeboarding at its most exciting! All ages, novices
and experts, battling for two days at Community
Park! Not a bad seat in the park! The event will be a
Jackal waking ―Duma‖ (Cheetah) Pro and AMA wakeboard and wakeskate contest
along with a Pro wakeskate Pool Jam on Friday
night. Prize money is up for grabs for the Pros and
product for all the AMA Classes. Thursday: Qualify-
ing 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday: Championships 9a.m.
to 3 p.m. Pro Pool Jam: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Kayak, Canoe and Standup Paddleboad Race and Photo Courtesy: Rick Beach
An exciting 11-mile race on the Colorado River from
Davis Dam to the Non-Motorized Boat Launch at We soon left the Colorado River area
Don Sullivan Memorial Park, just down river from and Headed for Kingman Arizona. The
Rotary Park. Past winners finished in just over an road had been recently widened to 4 lanes
hour, final contestants crossed in 2 hours 45 minutes. with the new construction. We traveled
Racers start setting up at 5 a.m. at Davis Camp then through the desert for about 2 hours.
and drive their vehicles to Rotary Park. A shuttle van There is little development through this
will bring contestants back to Davis Camp. Awards area. A couple small communities only.
will be handed out at Rotary Park. In Kingman we topped off the gas and
jumped on an old section of Route 66.
Standup Paddleboard Sprint Race Heading somewhat
Catch David’s final chapter in the Next TO- North-easterly toward
A 4-mile sprint Davis Camp to the south side of the
POGEAR Newsletter. He leaves Ngoro and flies the small town of Peach
Bullhead City Chamber of Commerce building at
on to Zanzibar. Don’t miss it. Springs.
Community Park. Racing starts at 7.30 A.M. Ex-
You may contact David through our email
pect the lead competitors to cross the finish line in Along the way we or
about 20 minutes. Staging begins at Davis Camp at 5 passed by an old filling station that must
We certainly don’t do David’s photos justice,
a.m. Shuttles will carry contestants and their boards have been at an important location in
having to reduce image quality to meet publica-
back to Davis Camp. Awards ceremony at Rotary days gone by. Now called ―Hackberry
tion memory issues. David’s phenomenal
Park. General Store‖ A great place to browse
photo’s are available, reproduced in art quality,
and purchase memorabilia. A red and
on canvas. Available framed or on canvas only.
Ya Gotta Regatta Party white corvette parked under the canopy
Email TOPOGEAR and we will put you into
When thousands of people meet in one place there’s shading the gas pump area, caught our
direct contact with David.
gotta be a party! So, while participants assemble eye. All kinds of old iron, cars and parts
The images in this publication are low quality to
their floats for the big Regatta, there will be music, placed around the property. A must see
keep file size and downloading time to a minimum.
food, beverages and fun! Come and watch as some o n t he wa y ho m e … .b ut fo r
of the most imaginative… and outrageous!… float- now….onward to the trip at hand.
TOPOGEAR is always looking for reader ing vessels ever conceived take shape on the Com-
interest stories. Please submit your story, trip munity Park and Davis Camp shoreline.
log, photos, recipes and humor. Subjects on
Climbing, Paddling, Cycling, Backpacking,
(Continued on Page 3, Column1)
Horses, Search and Rescue, travel destinations
and more! Send material to: (Continued on Page 3, Column 2)
(Continued from Page 2, Column 2) (Continued from Page 2, Column 3) Home Depot. It is light enough to cut with scis-
Bullhead City River Regatta August 2011 Havasu Falls Backpack Trip 2011 sors. We experimented with several designs.
Normal hole punches work good for creating
5th Annual Bullhead City River Regatta We arrived at the Hualapai Hill top Trailhead vent holes. Simple or more complex they work
Started in 2006, the Bullhead City River Regatta
has grown from under 1,000 participants to an esti- early afternoon. Monday May 16th. The park- about the same. They need some air holes and a
mated 15,000 to 20,000 this year! ing lot was packed. Not an area to sleep over if simple half slit on both ends will allow you to
you would happen to arrive late in the day. If connect them to create a ring. The ring should be
But Wait! There’s More!! you could sleep in your car that might be OK. slightly wider, diameter wise, than your pot.
Another recent and popular addition to the Bullhead I wouldn’t sack out on the ground next to Don’t make it too large though. A 1/4-1/2 gap
City River Regatta is the River Home Awards! your vehicle as some suggest. If parking along all around is best. The ring when on the ground,
Homeowners along the Regatta route are encour- the rising rock wall of the parking lot, beware of stove inside and on the ground, should extend
aged to decorate their yards, shorefronts and docks,
falling rocks on both your vehicle and your head. above the stove base, about 1 to 2 inches higher
hold parties and cheer on the Regatta floaters!
Prizes will be award to the best decorated Regatta If you have 1 1/2 to 2 hours of light left, we than the base of the pot.
home on the river! suggest making it down the switchbacks and Experiment at home before you leave. We
camping out ,up off the trail in the rock ledges of made ours so we could roll them slightly smaller
Hafta Afta Party the wash. than the pot when not in use. My shield, beer
Saturday morning and into the afternoon, regatta In fact we planned our trip with this in mind. can stove and titanium spoon fits nicely inside
floaters will land at Rotary Park’s North Beach First we scheduled on a full moon week. Sec- my pot. The shields proved their worth during
where they will step ashore and into one, big, all-
ondly we planned to trail camp on a high ledge our trip. Several days were very windy.
day beach party! Food, beverages (of the soft and
beer kind) music and vendors of all sorts will greet at the base of the switchbacks. Both decisions Once your last meal is cooked, you can burn
floaters and landlubbers alike. Party all afternoon, worked out. Unfortunately there was cloud any excess fuel. This eliminates nearly all the
then, the awards ceremony will announce the win- cover that prevented us having the surreal moon weight associated with stove, fuel and fuel stor-
ners in the different categories: TEAMS (2-10) view we had the previous year. But there was age container. You now have the weight of an
MEGA TEAMS (11-20), SUPER TEAMS (21 ample light to move around without a flashlight aluminum can and the empty platypus bladder.
plus), BEST OVERALL DECORATED FLOAT, once your night vision adjusted. Others might have a heaver stove, and metal
We were at our spot about 2 miles down from canisters to pack out. (Don’t leave them behind
the Trailhead by late afternoon. We set up easily to lower weight—PACK IT OUT)
Come, celebrate the Colorado River at the 2011 before dusk, had our meal and laid around talk- Most of us didn't carry matches. 2 of us car-
Bullhead City River Regatta, August 11 -13th. ing about the trip. We were outside our tents ried “Light My Fire” Magnesium Fire starting
laying on the warm sandstone watching the sun tools. For around $13 including tax you can get
I n fo r m a t i o n i s a v a i l a b l e online at go down. Sometime later we woke up…..great the one that includes an emergency signal whis-, or call: nap! :-) tle. Even lights in the rain. Lightweight and you
With the sun dropping behind the distant can hang it on a dog tag chain, a lanyard, your
Ya Gotta Regatta!! higher canyon wall to our west, a slight chill in zipper pull, or carry in your pocket. They lit our
the air started settling in. Time for that warm stoves up perfectly.
sleeping bag already laid out in the tent and Two of us had GossamerGear Backpacks.
waiting. I think all of us were dozing in a few An older Mariposa, and a new one. I would like
minutes. I know I slept straight through and to thank Grant from GossamerGear for the per-
woke up to the early morning light starting to sonal attention provided in fixing me up with the
illuminate the tent. It was tough getting out of correct pack. The Mariposa has 3 torso sizes and
A TOPOGEAR SPECIAL that nice warm bag, and slipping on my shorts, a variety of waist belt lengths. It is important to
Compass w/ Light & Whistle Combo in the cool of the morning. A turtle fur shell get them right.
jacket provided comforting warmth. On the first stint of the trip (down the
We opted to go light as possible. Our target switchbacks) I wasn’t really convinced. I had
pack weight was 30 lbs including water and any folded my Mattress Pad several times and
belt accessory and pocket item weight. I was slipped it in the pocket that seemed to be made
slightly over but carrying 4 liters of water since for that purpose. (Probably had instructions I
Email us for a special bulk rate to supply your we were doing an over-nighter on the trail. I never read)...anyway that proved to be a prob-
scout troop or organization at little over cost + probably could have made it with 2 liters and lem. It pushed the pack away from my back
shipping. Buy on an order over $75 and receive saved about 3 lbs. moving the center of gravity too far back. I felt
free shipping. We all carried the beer/soda can type home- like I had twice the weight, and the pull on my
made alcohol stoves. In hindsight these proved shoulder from the straps was very uncomfortable.
to be a great choice. Plans are on the internet. (Normally I test gear before a trip but did not test
You can also find construction methods in one the pack in this case).
TOPOGEAR is always looking for reader in- of our previous TOPOGEAR Newsletter issues. With only 2 miles to do, I grinned and bared
terest stories. Please submit your story, trip Platypus makes a 0.6L/17 oz bladder. We it not wanting to slow anyone going down the
log, photos, recipes and humor. Subjects on filled them with 16 oz (each person) of dena- switchbacks. Tomorrow I would
Climbing, Paddling, Cycling, Backpacking, tured alcohol for our heating needs. 1 oz will
Horses, Search and Rescue, travel destinations normally boil about 2 cups of water. We used (Continued on Page 4, Column 1)
and more! Send material to: folded aluminum foil last year for wind shields. This year we made more durable ones from Alu-
minum Flashing found at…………………….
(Continued from Page 3, Column 3) More and more evidence of water is seen.
Havasu Falls Backpack Trip 2011 We drop down a steep part of the trail and
make a long sweeping turn to our left. About
experiment and repack my gear.
a mile out of the village now, we come up on
I repacked heavy items in the bottom and kept
the pack as thin as possible between my back and the only sign marking the trail. Large green
the far rear vertical outside of my pack. I com- trees appear down the trail toward the village.
pressed everything as much as I could using the We can hear the gurgle of rushing water.
pack’s over the top strap, and the supplied light
weight shock cord. Oh what a difference! There
had to be instructions I never read.
I felt as if 20 lbs had been removed from my
pack. I still had 3 of the 4 liters of water so I know
that didn’t make the difference. This packing
Miles of trekking through an ever deepening dry
method proved to be ideal for me. It only got better
because much of the weight was being consumed wash that heads gradually toward the Village of
over the next 5 days. The switchbacks on the last Supai. 8 miles Trail head to Village, with a 3000
day were bad as expected but the pack weight by ft descent. Add 2 more miles to the Campgrounds
then seemed minimal…...what a Great Ultra-Light
pack. I can’t say enough about it I eliminated 5lbs Day 2, now Tuesday we left our temporary
over my last years weight with just the pack campsite high in the rocks, behind us. We have 1 Mile to the Village of Supai
about 6 miles (8 miles total Trail head to Village)
The GossamerGear Mariposa will easily carry The last mile to the village is spent following
your gear, extra clothes, and food. We went for 5 of fast paced walking to reach the Village of
a fast flowing steam of clear cold water. The
days and had enough food for six. The outside of Supai. Another 2 miles beyond that to the desig-
trail is canopied with large trees. Irrigation
the pack is lined with 3 deep web pouches. Great nated Campground just below Havasu Falls. The
for your trail snacks, Water Filter, snake bite kit, ditches split off from the stream in several direc-
Village leg of this trip would take us about 3
and any necessities you might want quickly without tions, apparently skirting both sides of the village
hours from our overnight spot.
digging through your pack. Both of us that used on its travel downhill.
We walk a dry wash for 4 miles of this before
GossamerGear Mariposa packs, purchased the We drop down once again and enter a large
we start seeing evidence of water and more green
items. They were not a sponsored product. This is open valley. Vertical walls of red sandstone
a trip report recommendation from 2 of us that used plants. We meet on-coming, or are passed, by an
towering above, in all directions. The main path
them. occasionally horse/mule train, and fellow back-
through the village is dusty and lined with fences
Another great comfort and weight reducer was a packers.
inflatable pillow by EXPED. The EXPED Airpil- on either side. Homes and fenced in small pas-
low. I had the Ruby Red. This item is 85 g/3 oz tures carve out section after section. Horses in
and smaller than a fist when packed. They even some, and steers in others. Small homes, some
attach to the EXPED mattresses if you have one. nice and fairly well kept, others not so well kept,
Alas I had another brand. These are comfortable horses staked out just an arms length from the
and don’t seem to move out from under your head door. Dogs everywhere,. The dogs all seemed
even when not attached EXPED did not sponsor us friendly and willing to take a free hand-out.
either. This is a trip report recommendation from 2
of us that used them. Feed them and they trot along side you on the
A couple of us carried Therm-a-rest sleeping trail for miles.
mats, another carried an EXPED. While I was com-
fortable on my Therm-a-rest I was jealous of the
EXPED that seemed to be 2 to 2 1/2 inches thick.
It also had an internal pump/valve. I have to check
Horse/Mule Train on the trail
these out further before my next trip.
These trains of pack animals are carrying
gear, mail, and goods between the Trail head and
the Village. There are no roads in or out. While
hiking you have to stay vigilant and make sure
you get out of the way. Often the animals are un
-tethered, and running full speed. Many times,
there are hard sided coolers lashed to their backs.
An unsuspecting person walking along listening The Main path through the Village
to an MP3 player could easily be cold cocked in
the back of the head and knocked to the The trail winds through the different plots of
ground…..or worse. land and homes. Eventually we come to the
camp registration office in the village. Here
This is a view of our trail camp with the first morn- TOPOGEAR is always looking for reader registrations are checked. We are signed in and
ing light. About 2 miles in from the trail head. interest stories. Please submit your story, each given a tag to get us access to the camp-
trip log, photos, recipes and humor. Sub- ground 2 miles away.
We broke camp early, after firing up the stoves and jects on Climbing, Paddling, Cycling, Back-
brewing some hot coffee and instant oatmeal. The packing, Horses, Search and Rescue, travel
destinations and more! Send material to: (Continued on Page 5, Column 1)
air was cool, the packs felt good. Supai village was
6 miles to go, all downhill!
(Continued from Page 4, Column 3) From the last home on the edge of the village
Havasu Falls Backpack Trip 2011 the trail meanders through large tree cover. The
rushing river leaving the village comes close to
the left side of the trail. Large bundles of chain
link fencing material and bound up rocks are
placed along the bank. Floods are common in
this canyon. We soon see evidence of last years
flood. It occurred after our 2010 trip. We would
soon learn the terrain had changed in many
The trail from this point starts descending,
and at several points rather steeply. We soon
reach the first waterfalls. At one time called
Navajo Falls, I believe. A previous flood had
changed it before we first saw it in 2010. Now in
Main Part of Village –Facing Store and Post Office 2011 it again changed from what we had seen.
We believe this is now called Spring Falls? Still
In the village we visited the store, replenished
stunning with the reds of the rocks, and the aqua-
our water, had a banana, and downed an ice cold
blue color of the clear water.
Gatorade. Attached to the same building is a small
US Post Office. We all sent out postcards. We
understand this is one of two places in the US, that
the mail is still carried via mule/pack train. The
postmark on the mail says it all. We had to have it.
Havasu Falls May 17th, 2011
It made it home before we did!
Click image to view video from 2010 trip

Havasu Falls and the pool below have

changed once again. The pool area is much
smaller. It is natural for mother nature to make
changes. The water temperature here remains
fairly constant throughout the year at around 70
Old Navajo Falls area, now Spring Falls? The high mineral content and carbonate pre-
Last years Supai Village Postmark
We soon pass this falls and drop down to cipitate account for the formation of natural
After a brief rest, we threw the packs back on and stream level, crossing the stream on a foot dams. Up stream the water percolates through a
headed through the village toward the waterfalls and bridge. As we climb up the small rise on the limestone layer and picks up a high concentration
campground area. The building next to the store was other side of the stream we pass a cemetery. No of carbon dioxide. This in turn can dissolve
the clinic, then the school. At another turn, a small monuments sticking up as you might expect. A calcium rock in the ground water. Then the wa-
church. We were passing several homes and the sign says “No Photograph’s Please”. We hon- ter flows out of the ground the carbon dioxide is
irrigation ditch came to intersect the right side of the ored that and moved along the trail. released into the atmosphere. This allows the
trail near the last few homes. Up high, several hun- The canyon narrowed and you could soon dissolved calcium carbonate to precipitate and
dred feet on the right, we also see a couple of large hear the next waterfalls. The trail is at the height form travertine dams and terraces, creating beau-
water tanks. We assume these supply the village. of Havasu Falls. Then the trail suddenly drops at tiful pools.
Also seen are various kinds of antennas. about a 45 degree angle. The overlook to the Most of the terraces below Havasu Falls were
We had met a teacher in the village. He comes a falls is at the edge of a sheer drop of around destroyed during last years flood. But as with
week each month. He hails from Colorado. He had 100ft. You are looking at the tops of larger cot- nature, it is ever changing. It also makes trips in
answered an ad and applied for the job. Months later tonwood trees, the aqua-blue pool of water be- subsequent years a new experience each time.
he was contacted. A likable guy who even offered low. Standing there with a deafening roar of the The Canyon shown off the left in the photo
us access to his home should we need water, bath- Falls. What a trip! What a view! The mist of above of Havasu Falls, is Carbonate Canyon.
room, etc. We asked about cell phone service. (We the falls blowing in our face. We will touch on that later in the article as part
had all left ours in the vehicle) He said it was spotty of a day trip/hike. Throughout the area there are
and depended on the cell carrier whether your phone TOPOGEAR is always looking for reader old mine tunnels. Some are small and more than
would even work. He had retired as a teacher and interest stories. Please submit your story, likely did not produce anything. There is one up
stated to us, when asked why he took the job…:”I trip log, photos, recipes and humor. Sub- Carbonate Canyon, with what looks like some
felt like I still had one adventure left in me”. We jects on Climbing, Paddling, Cycling, Back- major excavation. Long tunnels, side tunnels and
said goodbye and wished him well. Now in reflec- packing, Horses, Search and Rescue, travel iron rails that are still on the floor of the main
tion I wished we had traded contact information. He destinations and more! Send material to: tunnel.
could probably pass on some really good life stories. (Continued on page 6, Column 1)

Material, articles and images contained within this Newsletter publication including previous & subsequent pages may not be copied, reproduced, or other-
wise used for other purposes without written consent of TOPOGEAR. All images are considered Copyright by TOPOGEAR or the images owner.

(Continued from Page 5, Column 3) Mooney Falls is approximately 200 feet high. way slowly down. Maintaining a 3 point contact
Havasu Falls Backpack Trip 2011 The river makes a huge single drop, off a giant at all times. Meaning you never let go with both
step in the canyon. It falls to a huge pool below hands at the same time...even for an instant.
We turned away from the beauty of Havasu with a roar that is difficult to talk over. There is I have technical rock climbed before, and
Falls and headed down a steep drop in the trail evidence of water flow at many locations, over have done 200 foot repels. The rush of climbing
leveling off with the river below. Walking through eons of time. Erratic veils of deposited carbonate down this wall ranks right up there with those
ancient travertine dams (the deposited Carbonate), hang from the half moon shaped cliff. Testament past experiences. Add to the fact that once you
long ago breached by floods from perhaps millions to the fact the water flow is ever changing. drop out of the 2nd tunnel and you are on the
of years ago? Now appearing as odd shaped The path from the top of the falls to the base cliff face, everything is wet and slick from the
brown stone. But you could visualize how some of is a rather scary connection of narrow ledges, mist blowing off the falls.
the terraces must have looked. Mostly cactus cov- chiseled tunnels, and chiseled steps in the nearly Taking it slow and being safe you proceed
ered now, with a lizard scurrying for cover, and vertical face of the cliff. You pass through 2 down. Some of the anchor bolts are half way
some type of ground squirrel popping it’s head up. tunnels (Chiseled through the hanging curtains of worn through. If you pause to think about it you
The cactus in bloom with yellow and red flowers. carbonate). Between the tunnels you are on a will really make your mind start playing with
We trekked the dry sand path. The smell of balcony, natural or perhaps chiseled into one of you. I am 6 foot tall and a few of the foot hold
years of horse dung inter-mixed with the sand. It the hanging curtains of carbonate. From below are nearly out of reach. The crazy thing is, you
was hot now, out of the trees and in full sun. The you realize the balcony juts out with only air see people from all age groups making the trip.
sand deep and churned up from thousands of hoof beneath it. The trip down is not for the weak of It really is a must do...just so you can brag about
and foot print traffic. At least this leg of the trip heart, or those with a fear of heights. it.
was still down hill. When you think it can’t get any worse you
Soon we arrived at the campground check point encounter a short wood ladder pitched at a weird
and back into the shade of the trees. Our tags were angle...but you still have chains to hold on to.
checked and we proceeded into the campground. We made a joke that the ladder “looks like a
The campgrounds being very primitive. Nothing bunch of termites holding hands”. A line
formal in anyway. The only convenience was the plucked out of some old movie. It seemed funny
picnic tables scattered throughout the area. The at the time...well sort of! Off that ladder you
Canyon walls here vaulting vertically hundreds if then hit the top of a longer aluminum ladder
not thousands of feet. The river splitting into multi- standing nearly vertical. All wet and algae cov-
ple flows through the trees. This narrow canyon ered...but it touches the bottom...almost there.
campground area was maybe 300-400 yards wide This looks like a ladder that came from Home
and half a mile long.. Depot and maybe came over the falls...joking.
Near the entrance we passed the only drinkable Yah joking.. until you get down about 5 rungs of
water source in the area…”Fern Spring” Many the 15 rungs?. Opps...didn’t see that rung since I
campers were set up in close walking distance to was still looking at the white knuckles of my
the spring Mooney Falls is about a half mile down hand still gripping the chain above me.
stream. We opted to walk in further and carry our That rung, yes the broken in half rung. A
water. rung that someone repaired with a short section
There was a wooden plank here and there...or a of tree branch and some bailing wire wrapped
log, across the rushing water. The only form of a around it. I did a double step to keep my weight
bridge to be found. We crossed over and found our off that one. After that it was simply a short trip
camping spot, furnished with a couple vacant picnic to the bottom rung of the ladder. Going up
tables. Tents were pitched, sleeping pads and bags seems easier. You can at least see where your
rolled out, and a meal prepared. Mooney Falls
feet are going without looking through your
We all sat there enjoying the rest our bodies crotch!
After passing through the 2nd tunnel on the
needed, and the peace and beauty of the canyon
way down, you are greeted with a nearly vertical
area. The only sounds were the birds, and the water
drop. Foot holds chiseled into the face at irregu-
rushing by on its way to fall over Mooney Falls, See blowup
lar intervals. Chains anchored on either side,
about a quarter mile downstream. You could im- image on the
handing downward. You have to back out of the
age how people over the millennium were doing next page with
tunnel while literally hanging on for dear life.
just the same thing. Not with the high tech gear, notes of points
You feel around for a foot hold and start your
shelters and sleeping material we had. They only mentioned.
had what the earth and the animals would provide.
Years ago a way of life….now an experience to be TOPOGEAR is always looking for reader
enjoyed by a group of friends. interest stories. Please submit your story,
We had a couple side trips planned for this years trip log, photos, recipes and humor. Sub-
trip. Mooney Falls and Cataract Canyon. We jects on Climbing, Paddling, Cycling, Back-
walked down to Mooney Falls and took some pho- packing, Horses, Search and Rescue, travel
tos. Our plan to descend to the base. destinations and more! Send material to: (Continued on page 6,)

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(Continued from Page 6)
Havasu Falls Backpack Trip 2011
Mooney Falls trail to base of Falls

Upper Trail that drops down some switchbacks

on the face and backside of the cliff.

Tunnel access hole: The top of the upper tunnel.

Un-seen here. Behind a ledge.

Tunnel access hole: The bottom, of the upper


Tunnel access hole: The top of the lower Tun-

nel. Unseen. Hidden behind overhang

Tunnel access hole: The bottom of the lower


The balcony : A 3 fool ledge about 15 to 20

feet long that connect the bottom of the upper
tunnel to the upper end (not seen here) of the
lower tunnel.

Chiseled foot holds and hand chains area.

Those are people in blue, on the way up!

Wooden Ladder

Aluminum ladder

Images below Mooney Falls

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(Continued on page 8)

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(Continued from Page 7) side tunnels. Timbers, and old iron rails still on Our adventure over that last 4 days had been an
Havasu Falls Backpack Trip 2011 the floor. Not a place I feel comfortable enough awesome experience. We did have lots of wind
to proceed into. If something ever happened you and it rained off and on for 2 days of it. A couple
We messed around below Mooney Falls, hiking would never be found. But it was very interest- times during the night it was a fairly good down-
downstream a short distance. The terraced tra- ing. Upon coming home and researching a little pour. I laid there wondering I I could tell if a flash
vertine pools are beautiful. Having never been this it was found to be quite an extensive mine. flood might come down upon us? It might be
far in the past I couldn’t tell you if the 2010 flood The mine extends 3 levels. Lead (Galena) raining harder up the giant wash we had hiked
had damaged this area. A small falls coming off was mined here for the last time during World down. In fact on Wednesday we were at Havasu
the side into the main stream cascaded beautifully War II. It is amazing that anyone would attempt Falls and saw the water turn from the beautiful
into small terraced pools. The water color, that to mine here with no easy form of transportation. blue, to ugly brown. But it cleared up rather
stunning blue color. We are told this canyon con- There are many articles found on the internet quickly once the rain stopped.
tinues to the Colorado River, and continues to take outlining attempts from the 1800’s thru even Wednesday night we started preparing our
your breath away with its beauty found along the present day. The Havasupai people seem to packs to start our hike out. Our plan was to hike
way. We weren’t prepared with proper foot wear have constant conflict with others that wish to to the base of the switchbacks on Thursday. Make
for walking in the water. The river bottom equates take their lands or what lies beneath it. The cur- camp at the same place we did on they way down.
to crushed pieces of tile. Too sharp for bare feet. rent concern is Uranium. That concern might Then hit the switchbacks early on Friday morning,
Most people stop at this point so the path is less well be shared by many others outside their tribe back to our vehicle at the trailhead. One of our
defined and river crossings happen often. Maybe that fear contamination of the Colorado River. party was opting to hike back the 2 miles from the
another time, or another lifetime perhaps? After briefly checking out the mine, we left campground to the village. Then catch the Heli-
We made it back up the ladders, chains and tun- and headed further up Carbonate Canyon. It copter from the village to the trailhead. The trip
nels. Now standing at the top looking down the eventually branched in two. We could see the down had been hard. H had the heaviest pack
canyon it was difficult to turn and leave. Some- left branch ended a short distance in. We trav- weight. Pack weight takes its toll on the hip, knee
thing about it draws your senses to it. eled off into the right branch to see where it and ankle joints.
Hiking back to the campsite we discussed the would go. The rocks became larger and we had Thursday morning we were up as the sun came
climb, the waterfalls, and the fact that Mooney falls to rock scramble several times to continue on. up. It had rained in the night. Our friend that was
is named after a prospector that fell trying to make The rocks were interesting and the canyon walls catching the Helicopter was already gone. We
it to the bottom sometime back in the late 1800’s. had layers of different colors. met up with him in the village later in the morning
We couldn’t imagine how anyone could make it up This branch of the canyon eventually ended at and found out he had left hours ago, worried he
or down without the route provided today. That a dry slick rock waterfall. The steep narrow rock might miss the flight. That is another story….we
route is scary enough. The call of gold, silver or chute ground slick over eons of time. During hope he will write it in another issue.
other valuable minerals must be a powerful driving heavy rains the water fighting for its way down- We visited in the village for a half hour or so
force. hill would surely thunder down through this nar- before putting our packs on at 8:45am, and the 3
During our pre-trip research we found that there row passage. Near the bottom, in the solid sand- of heading up the trail leading out of the village.
are numerous old mines in the area. The largest stone, was a hollowed out pool or “tank”. This We certainly weren’t looking forward to the “all”
being one that is up Carbonate Canyon. Carbonate tank was about 10 feet in diameter, and perhaps 5 uphill trip. As we trudged up the canyon, through
Canyon is adjacent to Havasu Falls. Ironically we feet or more deep. It was full of brackish water the rocky trail, the helicopter passed over the first
found articles indicating the very campgrounds we so it was difficult to see the bottom if the time around 9:30am. I am sure all of us now
are in, used to be the site of an old mining camp. sunlight wasn’t just right. All kinds of critters wished we were flying out. We still had 7 or 8
We did find, and briefly explore, the entrance of were fighting to survive in this short term oasis. miles to the trail head.
several tunnels just above the campground. But A baby toad had made it through its cycle of We made very good time from the village. By
we wanted to hike Carbonate Canyon. being a tadpole. Its tail was gone and it was 11:45am we were near the base of the
traveling along the rocks. switchbacks, and at the location we had planned to
camp. We took a unanimous vote to scrap camp-
ing and continue on. We hiked the switchbacks in
another hour and 15 minutes arriving at the hilltop
at 1pm.
Looking back over the breathtaking canyon
below we wonder when we will be back again.

Rick can be reached at

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We hiked up Carbonate Canyon after we interest stories. Please submit your story, trip
forded the river just below Havasu Falls. We log, photos, recipes and humor. Subjects on
saw the mines tailing pile from a distance. It was Climbing, Paddling, Cycling, Backpacking,
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TOAD - Carbonate Canyon and more! Send material to:
was a large mine that had moved lots of material.
We poked our head in and saw tunnels and

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May—June 2011 Recipe

No entries this month for contest

This is a handed down recipe

Cedar Plank BBQd Salmon

Soak Cedar plank submerged in Water a minimum of 1 hour
Planks available in BBQ section of Home Depot and other stores.
Hold submerged in glass baking dish of water with cups full of
water for weights

1 Whole fillet of salmon (about 2-3 lbs)

6 Tbls of Olive Oil

3-4 Fresh Garlic cloves minced
1/4 Cup of minced Fresh Dill
2 tsp of ground sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp grated fresh Lemon peel
(Slice up the lemon and grill the last 5 minutes for garnish)

1/2 tsp Paprika

Mix oil and seasonings except the Paprika.

Coat salmon on all sides with mixed ingredients. Lay in glass bak-
ing dish and dump any remaining mixture on top. Cover with plas- The TOPOGEAR Outdoor Recipe Page
tic wrap or foil and marinate in the fridge for 1 hour. Outdoor Cooking Recipes
Cooking Tips & Tricks
Heat covered BBQ grill on high until very hot. Preferably you have
(Send them to us!)
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burners to medium. Send us your recipe and photo of your prepared item to
appear on this page. See rules off our Home page at
Place the salmon on the soaked plank. Sprinkle with paprika. Place
the board in the center of the grill and cover. Cook approximately Email to
18 to 20 minutes. The boards will blacken around the edges. The
technique cooking times may change based upon your grill.
Dutch Oven Heat “Three Up-Three Down Rule
This recipe can also be done in your kitchen oven set to broil. The
cedar taste comes out much better on the BBQ though. It is better to place more coals or briquettes on the lid of
the Dutch oven. Many Dutch oven cooks follow a simple
three up, three down rule. Measure the diameter of your
Dutch oven and add 3 to estimate how many briquettes to
place on the lid. Take 3 away from the diameter measure-
ment and this is the number you need to place under the
Dutch oven.

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submit your story, trip log, photos, recipes and humor. Subjects briquettes on the lid of your oven.
on Climbing, Paddling, Cycling, Backpacking, Horses, Search 12 - 3 = 9. Place 9 briquettes underneath your oven.
and Rescue, travel destinations and more! Send material to: This should give you an approximate oven temperature of 350° F. Each two additional coals will give you about 20° F more heat
Visit Hackberry General Store, just outside Kingman, AZ. A collection of roadside TOPOGEAR is carrying a new line of Fine
memorabilia relating to historic Route 66. Metal signs, Model T flatbed truck, and Jewelry.
many vintage cars. Featured in TV Commercials for Harley-Davidson, United Air-
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We wish to offer something affordable to
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We offer a selection that will be ever chang-

ing. We are able to buy direct from our
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These items will soon start showing up on
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Phone: 928-769-2605 Jewelry. This stock is also changing con-
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If you are looking for a specific item that
Manager: Thurston Pritchard
we do not show, please email us for a list of the latest inventory.


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We have a winner for our Monthly News-
letter RECIPE Contest. The Monthly winner
is sent a FREE Gift. Contest is extended to
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future issues. Have your entry submitted by
high-quality food storage, preparedness
the 15th of a month, for judging/publishing/
products and information that helps pre- G10 Tactical Folder (MATCMDH)
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join our FACEBOOK Dutch Oven group if
helping them identify their food supply
you aren’t already a member.
needs – whether that’s 72-hours, 3 months Prize size is 9 inch only
We are changing some of the contest rules
or even a year’s worth of food products.
starting with subsequent issues. The Contest is
now open to recipes for both Dutch Ovens and
BBQ/Outdoor Cooking.
There are now a choice of 2 prizes. A Mey-
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JUNE 2011
Month/Year June 2011
Event: Crossroads of the West Gun Shows

Costa Mesa, CA Jun 4th and 5th

Las Vegas, NV Jun 11th and 12th
Mesa, AZ Jun 25th and 36th

Trail Sherpa was created to

chronicle the hiking and back- Visit their website for details and directions
packing adventures that I have
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epic trails.

Visit our Website Month/Year: JUNE 2011

Event: South Dakota State Dutch Oven Gathering

Location: Fairgrounds in Huron South Dakota
Date: June 11-12, 2011

An action packed weekend of FREE fun at the South Dakota

Expo. Dutch Oven Cooking Contest Saturday, and a South
Click Here to Join on Facebook
Dakota Wild Game Cooking Contest during the weekend.
Expo is FREE. Camping is FREE.
AMIGO Metal and Iron Work
1233 Calle Cherokee
Rio Rico, AZ 85648
Cell (520) 440-2469
Fax (520) 761-1776
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JULY 2011
Event: Crossroads of the West Gun Shows

Paddling Festival
Visit their website for details and directions

Newport Dunes, California Visit

site for latest info
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1-800-768-8494 Dutch Oven Society

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Desert River Outfitters is located in

Bullhead City Arizona in Northwest-
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AUG 2011

Bullhead City River

August 11,12 &13

Folks, it is that time of year again. Start making your

plans, and secure your reservations. Bullhead City is
expecting the biggest and best year ever. Don’t miss
Creations by Artist Dave Bruce. Utilizing materials recycled from
abandoned buildings and alleyways. One-of-a-kind birdhouses and
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with love, from Dave’s heart to your home.


Cell: 602 576-7376

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Bullhead City River Regatta - Pirates Of The Colorado

Date: August 12 (Regatta Party Night)

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