Checking out the heavy flow
A few weeks back I took Machelle out for her first canyoneering adventure. susan joined us for one of our favorite little canyons, Vivian Creek. This canyon drops from the main trail leading to the top of Mt San Gorgonio. Hiking from the upper end of Forest Falls, you rise 1000 feet in about a mile, then almost immediately its time to put on the wetsuit.
Hiking up we could hear the falls, and they sounded louder then usual. This is normally a fairly mellow creek, flow wise, but it was sounding less mellow then usual. Topping out on the trail we made our way to where the creek seems to drop off the edge of the world and found a whole lot of white water. Since I am very familiar with this canyon, I was sure we could make it down safely, if not as easily as usual. We decided to suit up and give it a try since almost all the falls are down climbable if we didn’t like the look of them. After Machelle donned her brand new wetsuit, and Susan and I wriggled into our somewhat older ones we were ready to go. The anchor at the top was missing some I spent a little time resetting it, then I dropped in to scout our rappel. The first part was much easier then it looked, and the right side of the fall was still fairly dry so we were a go for the drop in.
Machelle navigated her first wet rappel with aplomb, and when Susan made it down the pull went without a hitch. We stacked the rope in the rope bucket and headed down stream. Each waterfall was far more impressive then we had seen it before, but we were able to avoid the main flow, but the cold water was still affecting Susan, and by halfway down she was getting a little hypothermic. We found a rock where she could lizard for a while (thats a verb isn’t it?) and then decided to downclimb the last 2 falls since she was likely to get too cold again.
The last waterfall, with its 30 feet of free hanging rappel, looked very impressive, but we will have to come back to do it another time. Machelle had a great time and we’re looking forward to getting out for more canyons sometime soon.