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Saturday, September 20, 2014

#36 - Stone Creek Falls & Deer Creek Patio - GCNP

"On the first part of the journey
I was looking at all the life
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings..."
                                                                                           ~ America (1971)

  A Mirage

With a water temperature of 46-50 degrees, the Colorado river is perfect for keeping beer chilled; less than perfect for bathing. Yes, the daytime is hot and dry, and a dunk in the river will cool you off quickly - but bathing is a whole nother animal.

Enter the side creeks and streams! While environmentally friendly soaps and shampoos are o.k. for the "frozen" Colorado, these items are prohibited in the side streams where the water temperatures are much warmer. No matter, as the warm waters provided a wonderful reprieve from the heat and dirt and sweat of the day.

Water! Wonderful, clean water!
Stone Creek Falls was a stop for lunch. "Go up and see the falls", said our river boat Captain. "Get wet, you'll enjoy it." A short hike it was, but what a great destination after 4 days of cold river water!

Stone Creek Falls
Later that day, we landed our raft at Deer Creek Falls, with a hike up to Deer Creek Patio. It was hot, and dry, and dusty climb - but the scenery, views, and clear, clean water made for an excellent hike.

Deer Creek Falls
The hike up and into the canyon - with cactus and canyon the predominate views.


We moved into the slot canyon, with elaborate rock formations, the stream cutting its way through, and narrow paths with deadly drops below for those without sure footing.

We reached the "patio", with its cool stream and a great place to play and cool off!

Deer Creek Patio

Deer Creek Patio

Deer Creek fun - at the Patio
After some time to enjoy the area, we worked our way back to the base of the falls. At the bottom, one stays cool any and every way that you can - as Steve can attest. After swimming in the pool at the base of the falls, he found the perfect cooling off place!

It was a great day. We made camp later that day at Poncho's Kitchen. RM 137. The first big-horned sheep showed up across the river as we recalled the day. We were under the stars again that night. What would tomorrow bring...

Our camp site - Poncho's Kitchen

Poncho's Kitchen
Across the river - big horned sheep

Keep hiking, friends!

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